Such a reaction is considered assertive, brave and manly if it came from a man, but because it was a woman’s, it is deemed shocking, unstable, iratonale and aggressive, and the most damaging emotion at work being anger, which comes from the feeling of loosing control over a situation, has direct affect on our work and our relations with colleagues, so we have to control our anger, frustration, tears and pretend all is well whilst secretly hating a colleague or avoiding another, to do this, a lot of energy and a great deal of effort is required, often resulting in stress, weariness and loss of concentration ergo loss of productivity, sick leave and effectively costing the company money.
But our society and Work ethics in general dictate we have to put on a mask at work to hide our emotions and personal feelings, to leave these at home.
Crying is considered unprofessional and has no place in the work place, women often retreat to their toilet cubicles to shed a few tears, retouch their concealers before putting back the mask, a brave face and marching back to their desks, an angry man would make noise and stamp his fists or feet and his colleagues will think him a strong willed man and female colleagues will think him a sex god and admire his masculinity.
The whole process of disabling our emotional side at work or hiding it creates a frustration and an energy vacuum referred to as “emotional labour” as described by Dr.Sandi Mann (1), it will hinder the performance and delivery of the work at hand, and I will stop you right there, it does not depend on the kind of job you do, as the emotional part of our brain comes into place way before the analytical part does, and all work whatever its nature is affected by emotions.
Stress or sadness makes you less productive and lowers your concentration; Happiness is obviously a positive emotion and will affect your concentration and productivity positively, so why contain such feelings if they are intrinsically part of our identity, personality and creativity.
Companies should promote knowledge of emotional intelligence (EI) instead of cultivating this anti-emotion culture that seems to have spread across the offices in the City and elsewhere I am sure, where reactions are blamed on hormones, where women are unstable and men are rational.
An intimate knowledge of emotions, your own and those of your colleagues can help anybody deal with the highs and lows of the emotional waves at the workplace, from Steve’s morning rants about his commute into work, to Virginie’s personal problems with her husband and David’s fears of redundancy and your own fear of change in view of the recent restructuration the firm is going through or the stress the competition at work creates especially when working with some world class *ankers, sorry I mean Bankers.
Statistics show that women cry about 3-4 times a month, compared with 1.4 for men, women don’t choose to cry nor should it be a sign of weakness (mental), this is purely physiological and should not be used against any women in the professional context or over a male colleague who is deemed more rational or stronger because he will cry 2.6 less times a month than his female counterpart.
And to that end, people (women and men equally) should realise that our employers do not own our emotions; they merely own the time they pay for the services we provide, we need not stamp down on our feelings and emotions but tap into them, recognise and embrace them and use them to channel energy towards self development and career advancement.
A system that penalises women based on biological differences in order to assert gender equality is a flawed one.