Emotion At Work

Unilateral layoffs
Getting fired without a reason
Watching your colleagues get fired
Doing the firing
Dealing with a VP that yells, abuses, and harasses you daily
Getting a new supervisor that changes your daily life without your input
Watching your beloved company get acquired and slowly disappear
Being taken over by private investment
Getting overlooked for promotion because you didn’t get to know the right people
Having your career stall, nosedive, or fail to launch because of what you look like
Having the project you’ve been working on for years disregarded
Watching less qualified people pass you out
Being set up to fail
Getting framed
Being systematically deprioritized and “managed out.”

It’s just business.

Or is it?

Companies, protected by a silent collective agreement very few of us remember signing, commit some of the most egregious acts against people.

And yet these people — that is to say, us — we’re supposed to just move on, to box up our stuff and find a new place to spend our 40-60 of waking hours every week. And here’s the real crime: we’re not supposed to be hurt.

Toxic masculinity at work no doubt! This shouldn’t be a surprise seeing as “strong men” are the original architects of the workplace.

And so the rules are laid out: emotions are not allowed at work. Or, I should say, reactionary emotions are not allowed at work. Yelling at someone is definitely allowed, but being upset about getting yelled at isn’t. Ripping the floor out from under someone is allowed; screaming while you free fall into a black hole isn’t.

You’re fired. Don’t cry at my desk.

A strange request.

When a kid gets expelled, he’s almost immediately sent to a therapist.

Imagine coming home one day and your family tells you you can’t come in the house anymore. Without telling you why.

For some reason, emotions are allowed to enter these scenarios, but when it comes to work, we’re supposed to bottle it up and never let it out.

Emotions aren’t the type of thing that you can check at the door. Emotions flow like water, like lava; they fill every space and every person. When you deny an exit to your emotions, they pool up, fester, harden, and press hard on your insides; they crush you from the inside out.

When we don’t acknowledge trauma, we can’t acknowledge what it’s doing to us. Without properly disposing of it, we unload on our family, we vent, we drink, we sleep all weekend, we yell at the faceless people we play video games with, we swing the bat extra hard. We destroy people on Facebook.