How to recover and bounce back when your boss makes you cry at work

It can feel mortifying for one of your most vulnerable states – crying – to be witnesses by your boss and colleagues.

Austin Butler recently revealed he went home crying after being heckled on the Elvis set by director Baz Luhrmann.

Too often, workplaces do this to staff – sending them to the verge of tears when nothing is ever truly that important it should cost an employee’s inner peace.

Crying at work can feel hard to bounce back from – whether the employee is left in a defensive fight or flight state of mind, or simply feels embarrassed.

Laura Kingston, director of Leap Career Coaching says crying at work isn’t all bad – and there’s definitely a way to hold your head high after.

If you cried in front of people

This can feel extremely hard to recover from – especially if your relationships with your boss and staff aren’t personal and don’t go beyond being functional for working hours.

Laura tells ‘Recognise we all have feelings and emotions, it’s part of being human.

‘Also, crying releases stress and endorphins, it’s actually a great way to feel better.’

First, you need to accept that it happened, and allow yourself to feel the feelings such as embarrassment.

Notice them and let them go.

‘Crying in front of your boss highlights to them what they need to do differently to support you,’ Laura adds. The incident might even instigate change in how you’re treated at work.

‘Forgive yourself and be kind to yourself.’

If you went home crying alone

While you might have avoided some temporary discomfort in being seen, now no one knows at work how your boss or a colleague has made you feel.

Laura says: ‘Meditation, journaling and talking things through can be great tools for working alone with this.

‘You might also schedule time to share with your boss how they can get the best out of you, what you need to excel in the workplace.

‘Acknowledge what is triggering you, what could you do differently? What do you need? Where can you get support? What can work do to support you?

‘Talk to HR if your manager is the problem or feels inaccessible, and let them know what would help you.

‘Taking control of the situation is empowering and moves you from feeling in the “victim” position.

‘Move from “victim” to “vulnerable”, and use language such as “I feel this because X, Y, Z” rather than using “You” language which can sounds accusatory.’

Reframe the experience

It’s possible to feel empowered, or a cathartic release, after a crying episode at work.

Laura says: ‘People can feel that being sensitive is a weakness, but your biggest weakness can often be revealing of your biggest strength.

‘Sensitive people are often highly emotionally intelligent and are empathic and compassionate.’

Vulnerability takes courage, and Laura believes if you are vulnerable in the workplace you are ‘role modelling for others to speak up if they are struggling’.

Ask yourself what you need to change, what you need, what would make you happy and what steps you can take to get there.

Putting a plan in place and taking action moves you forward – even if the people at work don’t.

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