Is it okay to cry at work? That depends on so many things.

I have never cried at work, and I feel like the only one.

In my defense, if you work in a male-dominated industry crying is seen as weakness or evidence of lack-of-control. That’s probably why I have never cried at work (although I cry hysterically during certain movies).

I’ve always worked in male-dominated industries, mostly in radio. I’d go as far as to say that majority of radio stations I have worked at throughout my career aren’t just male-dominated, they are also completely sexist.

“Australian men are NOT sexist,” an angry, sexist man yelled at me at one particularly sexist radio station. Crying in front of him or anywhere near him was not an option.

Thankfully as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten much better at controlling where, when and in front of whom I cry.

Crying in the car on the way home though? Completely fine. Necessary, even. That’s where I have done most of my career crying actually.

41 percent of women surveyed admitted to crying at work, compared to nine percent of men.

Fast-forward to Mamamia Women’s Network and crying here, I think, would be a totally fine thing to do. Part of life.

“There’s no place for those tears in that moment,” CBS News correspondent Mika Brzezinski told Huffington Post after she burst into tears when she was fired.

“If anything, when you cry, you give power away.”

Does it though? Does the act of crying – something most people don’t have control over – give power away? Or is it something we should work to embrace. After all, it’s healthier to release emotions than let them all in.


There are lots of reasons someone might cry at work, from the heart-wrenching to the slightly ridiculous, at least that’s what I’ve gauged from this morning’s confessions by Mamamia staff.

Mamamia staff talk about reasons they’ve cried at work. At past jobs. Not their current job. Article continues after his video.

Anne Kreamer, author of It’s Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace, conducted a survey of 700 people she found that 41 per cent of women admitted to crying at work and only 9 per cent of men, but the reasons for this may be that men are too embarrassed to admit to it.

Also, let’s blame hormones. Men generate more testosterone which inhibits crying, according to Olga Khazan, health writer at The Atlantic.

Women produce more prolactin which promotes crying.

We can also blame anatomy. Men have larger tear ducts than women so more of their tears can well in their eyes before spilling out onto their cheeks.


Here are a few tips on crying at work, just in case you feel the urge.

The Rules for Crying at Work

Women are judged more harshly than men for crying at work, although it’s not a good idea for either gender;

People looked with contempt on colleagues driven to sobs over work stress or disagreements;

Crying over personal tragedies is more acceptable than crying over relationship issues;

Crying in an office is viewed better than crying in shared areas;

Crying for shorter periods of time is more acceptable than prolonged sobbing;

Crying is more acceptable in some professions than others, and in those workplaces comprising of more women than men.

Khazan hopes we can put all of these perceptions aside and “normalise” crying in the workplace, for the sake of our health.

She says men shouldn’t “reap the unfair advantage of a mid-meeting misting” and women shouldn’t have to worry and feel embarrassed, or to have their male colleagues see them as manipulative.

She says we should stop judging colleagues for crying at work but more importantly, we should stop judging ourselves.

Mia Freedman is asked the question, Hey Mia? Have you ever cried at work? Article continues after this video. 

While I’m yet to see any of my Mamamia colleagues cry at work – although they are more than welcome to – I’m comforted by their lack of embarrassment at confessing past crying incidents at work.

Crying happens. It’s a release. It’s like vomiting. We never want to do it, but we feel better afterwards.

So let it all out my working friends. And, here’s a hug.