Hi, I am Nataly and I am the co-founder of Work It, Mom!
I write the daily Work It, Mom! Blog where I talk about issues affecting working moms, goings on in our Work It, Mom! community, new site features, updates,and contests. I also share my own juggle between work and family and love to see members jump in with comments. Come and visit often!
Nataly's profile on Work It, Mom!
I’m a fairly emotional person. And by this I mean that I have strong emotions (you might call me the opposite of even-tempered) and I express most of them openly. Good or bad, it’s who I am and I guess the good news is that I’m well aware that it’s who I am and can try to adjust to different situations if needed.
Lately I’ve been thinking about whether or not I should be adjusting my tendency to show my emotions at work.
On the one hand, I’m a big believer in just being who you are, wherever you are. Sure, my mom “persona” is different from my “work” persona, and both are different from what I’m like when, say, I rock it out in my Zumba class or catch up with a friend over lunch. But at the core, I’m me, and for me this means being open about my emotions and sharing them with others. And this means that when I’m happy about something at work my colleagues can’t miss it and when I’m stressed or upset about something, it shows.
Don’t get me wrong: You won’t find me slamming doors or crying in my office when things go wrong. That goes beyond showing emotions and into the inappropriate-at-work territory. I have a fairly senior gig and also manage a team — both of these mean that I have to be aware that my emotions affect others and I can’t just let them pour out unedited. But still, my mode of operation has always been to be honest about how I feel at work and this has held true in various work environments, from small companies to bigger corporations.
So I’m finding myself in relatively new waters lately because I’m starting to think that my honest emotions policy at work might not be the best idea. We’ve gone through a bunch of changes at work lately and with change comes stress and some up-and-down emotions — for everyone, not just for me. And as I’ve watched my colleagues and teammates react, I’ve sometimes realized that not letting them know how I really feel might be a better idea. Sometimes it seems being an even-headed, even-tempered presence helps diffuse an otherwise stressful situation more than say, commiserating and sharing similar emotions with my colleagues. “Everything is going to be OK and things are actually fine” vs. “I know how you feel and I share a lot of your emotions”, if you would.
Sure, as with anything, the answer is probably somewhere in between. I’d hate to have to fake how I feel all the time — at work or anywhere else — but it’s useful to keep my emotions to myself at times. And of course I can’t keep but consider the woman angle: As a woman, am I doing myself a disservice by showing emotions at work? Am I subject to a double standard? Is a man commiserating with colleagues about a stressful situation considered understand and kind and a woman doing the same viewed as weak and overly emotional?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject of showing emotions at work. What’s your personal policy? Do you think as women we face a different standard?
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