Big girls cry in the bathroom not their office

I had a hard day at work yesterday. A day that included shedding tears in a stall in the bathroom. There are few things more pathetic than crying in a stall while sitting on the toilet. I supposed someone recognizing my shoes, hearing my pathetic sniveling and then asking if I’m okay which would really, really blow. But the crying isn’t great either.

One of my rules as a working professional female is that I try really hard not to cry at work. I especially don’t like crying about work at work. Because liking my job is one thing. Letting it get to me enough to cry over things is another.

I enjoy coming to work, get a sense of satisfaction from good work and like that I get to use my brain and talk to other adults. Getting a paycheck is pleasant, too.

But I tend to keep my job in perspective. My life is all the stuff at home. My job is just a job. I like to tell people my paycheck doesn’t cuddle me and it’s unlikely to visit me in a nursing home when I’m old a gray. My kids might. My husband doesn’t get a choice.

So for something to get under my skin at work it has to either hack me off beyond all comprehension by violating my sense of right and wrong with nothing I can do about it. Not Holocaust right and wrong. Again, it’s a job not life and death. I'm talking about treating someone wrong. Yesterday I felt like I was the one that got treated wrong.

I’d innocently popped by to see someone with a question and a helpful idea only to have the conversation turn into semi-personal attacks about my work style. A couple people got chucked under the bus along the way, some doubt was cast on some friendships I thought I felt secure in and my wings felt generally clipped.

Um. Did I mention I just came with a question and a helpful idea?

I didn’t come for all the rest. What just happened? It felt like watching a train wreck. Except I’m in the car. I was surprised and didn’t really know where to go with it. It seemed to keep coming despite my best efforts to head it off at the pass. So I finally just found a lull in the conversation and politely said I’d be on my way. I resisted the urge to thank them for their time.

And then I went in the bathroom to cry like many professional women before me. Then I cried in a friend’s office. And then I somehow mustered a few quiet hours thinking about other things until it was to leave and head home to cry to my husband.

Those were all wasted tears. Tears I should have saved for something far more important.  I wish I could take them back.

Everyone I tell the story to can’t believe the story doesn’t end with me giving the person both barrels. Apparently I’m a girl known for speaking her mind and holding her own. Apparently that typically involves both barrels. In the nicest, politest professional kill you with kindness way you’ve ever heard. But still both barrels.

But I was so surprised! I seriously went there with a question and a helpful idea and left beat down. Sheesh.

My husband called it an ambush. More than one trusted colleague said the person must have been having a bad day. And everyone agreed it wasn’t nice and I shouldn’t let it get to me.

Maybe it’s the lack of giving them both barrels that bugs me and that I wish I could go back in time? Maybe it’s the climb up the corporate ladder and the realization that plenty of people are not going to like me? Maybe it’s the struggle of not knowing who can be trusted and who is capable of lying to my face?  Or maybe I was just tired and hungry. Because I can be a hungry wench.

My husband has been brainstorming good lines for me to use to end it quickly if something like it happens again. If I have a reputation for giving people both barrels, that’s a guy that knows how to give people five or six barrels and raze their entire village.

So far his best line involves mild cursing. He thinks it’s mild enough that I wouldn’t get in trouble for using it but still significant enough to make a statement to stop a speeding train. He suggests combining it with standing up and walking out. If I were a stand-up comic, it would be the equivalent of throwing the mike down and walking off stage.
This guy right here could throw a mike down and make it count.
I like that my husband wants me equipped for next time. It warms my heart. It also amuses me endlessly to think about taking his lines for a test drive.

But I told him I need to stay hidden away at my desk for a while until I feel up to giving anyone any barrels again. I must still be licking my wounds. I’m human. If you cut me, I bleed.


Today was a better day. If nothing else, there were no tears in a bathroom stall and that makes me happy. The long holiday weekend around the corner make me happier, though. 


2Momma2 said...

Better days: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday! Sorry you were struck blind by someone who obviously has their panties in a bunch and no class. It's ok to take the high road and not respond - makes them look like more of a jerk. But next time... Let 'me have it! I hope you have a good day tomorrow and an amazing weekend full of people that matter!


Shan said...

Sometimes people are just jerks. Glad you had a better day. Here's to the long weekend.

Sharon Hodge said...

Sometimes you just have those kind of days. I think the biggest part is wishing that you could go relive that moment and actually telling the person something now that you're in this "place" of thinking. Of course, sometimes tomorrows make things a little better. If not, maybe your husbands lines will make you feel better in the end.

Make It Or Fix It Yourself

Mrsteeh said...

Reading this post couldn't have been at a better time for me. I just had a very similar incident but in an area where I am a volunteer. I too am usually the person who always has a comeback but this 'attack' came so unexpectedly I had nothing. Nothing but hurt and a feeling of betrayal. It's good to know reading your post that even the strong ones can bleed. I haven't posted about my experience yet because honestly I'm still reeling a bit. Thank you so much for sharing and giving me a bit of a lift in my own 'bathroom moment'

Shauna @ Momma Candy said...

This happened to my friend. And then her boss saw that she had been crying and told her to get out.

The work place is harsh!

Visiting from SITS, btw.

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

That is hard. I haven't cried at work for a long time, but sometimes, there's just no other option. I had a performance review that struck me wrong and I just sobbed through the whole thing. I was SO humiliated! At least I was doing it from home, and it wasn't even that bad - I'd gotten a 3 out of 5 when I felt like I deserved a 4 out of 5. It just hurt me because I felt like I'd worked SO hard and had done every single thing I'd been asked to do and plenty else besides. The workplace can be a tough place.

LittleBird said...

Ugh I feel your pain mama! I had a boss who depending on his mood, would use every tactic possible to cut you down. I swear it was one of his personal goals to get me to cry but you know what, I never did, not TO him anyway. In 6 years I saved it for home or my car or after work with friends.
It's times like those, when you have something positive to offer and instead of receiving, at the very least, a thank you you're getting the most professional beat down ever that you just have to go to your happy place. I basically put myself on pause. The way I did when I was a teenager and got a lecture for doing something stupid. Tell yourself - This moment will pass and until then I refuse to be present." The aftermath is a completely different story but I find it easier to get through a rough day when I can mentally remove myself from those moments.

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