Are we somehow attracting a certain type of worker that breaks down into tears in the workplace? (due to criticism or code reviews - not something bad happening in their life)

I think I've never seen this actually happen. Is this common?


6 Answers 6


The audience of The Workplace is biased toward people with problems in their professional (and sometimes personal) lives, problems that are difficult enough to interfere in their daily activities that they seek out external help.

Let's say only 1% of the people we know in our work environments fall into that category. Now take that 1% from all workplaces in the English-speaking world. There's a good chance workers who break into tears find their way to this site.

The chance of any one of us actually experiencing this may be small, but in the larger context it may be more common.

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    Agreed. And once someone reads a question about crying and thinks "Hey, I cry too!", they are more likely to post their own similar question. Dec 12, 2016 at 23:28
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    Not to mention the Hot Network Questions makes it even more public and expands the likelihood of someone having a similar question finding this site.
    – enderland
    Dec 13, 2016 at 0:30
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    I deleted my answer as I hadn't considered this angle. This is an excellent point, thank you for changing my perspective. Dec 14, 2016 at 15:43

It's not common in that it's a daily event, but I've seen plenty of people have emotional outbursts including tears. People can be sensitive to different things and react in many different ways

I'll admit it even happened to me when I got an email stating my mother had passed on. I was physically unable to talk and just forwarded the email to my manager and walked out the door for the rest of the day. And my eyes are watering up right now just thinking about it.

So if you busted into my office right now without warning you might see a grown man in tears (you'd have to be fast though).

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    Hugs. I was at work when I got the phone call from a concerned neighbour who had gone in to find my mother had died (living by herself on a farm, widowed and fighting leukaemia). That was four years ago and sometimes still feels like yesterday.
    – Andy Dent
    Dec 19, 2016 at 13:04
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    @AndyDent a decade ago and can still evoke powerful emotions in me, I don't mind, it's good to remember her and it's healthy to feel vulnerably human once in a while (in private), cuts me down to size.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Dec 20, 2016 at 15:59
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    I cried at work every day for year after my beloved died.
    – HLGEM
    Dec 21, 2016 at 22:13

The Workplace covers all kinds of workplaces, doing all kinds of jobs, all over the world. I've seen a 16-year-old fast-food worker cry; I've seen a new grad having that first brush with nasty corporate politics cry; and I've seen others cry for specialized, personal reasons like a health issue or personal loss. It happens -- not often in most of our experience, it appears (not in mine, anyway), but unusual situations are more likely to prompt questions on a Q&A site about the workplace. After all, the stuff that's routine and common is stuff that people are more likely to find an answer to before coming here.


Someone who cried a lot made it to HNQ, and scored a lot of points. Then a lot of other people started crying too in the hope of making some easy points. Don't read too much into it.


Yes people frequently cry in the office for a variety of reasons. Often teh reason they are so sensitive may have little to do with the actual event because it might be teh last straw in a series of events. Someone who cries in a code Review for instance may have previously lost a job and is frightened that it will happen again. Someone working through the loss of a spouse or child may cry easily at a certain tone of voice or a phrase that reminds them of the person who may have died months earlier. People new to the workplace often find it a much harsher environment than they have experienced before. Someone who is insecure might find that especially difficult and be more predisposed to cry over things that most of us would ignore. Sometimes there are clashes of cultural expectations as well. Someone who was encouraged as a child to cry and show emotions (usually as a girl) may find it difficult to turn off what they learned was appropriate behavior when they are first in a professional environment.


Yes its common.

In my nearly 30 years of professional experience, I have seen it. Its less common for a company to allow a single co-worker to continue on with the behavior over an extended time.

When someone suffers a death in the family or something like that its normal. Hell I cried when my grandfather passed while I was at work.

I think there is a human part of this as well as an over tolerance of this behavior of bring personal drama into the office.

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    I guess I meant more of the "ongoing crying jags" or "crying every code review" type of sob story. Not the normal human reaction to bad things in the world. Dec 13, 2016 at 18:26

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