More Accounting Tomorrow Posts

No crying in business?

May 5, 2010

Just because women now make up 50 percent of the workforce doesn’t mean they are on equal footing with men. In fact, many women are still judged on a dusty stereotype – that they can’t control their emotions. A new book looks at this phenomenon and offers women reasons to hold back the tears in the workplace.

“One of the first and most important lessons I learned as a woman in a male-dominated company was that I couldn’t scream and cry, or at least, that I couldn’t do either regularly,” said Roxanne Rivera, author of There’s No Crying in Business: How Women Can Succeed in Male-Dominated Industries. “In male-dominated industries and really the business world in general, stereotypes die hard, and one of the most common is that women are too emotional to be effective leaders or managers.”

We agree with Rivera and we challenge her to take her gender-based assumption one step further. Are we sure there are no men in the workplace crying and no stoic women who exhibit a “take-no-prisoners mentality?”

We do know women sadly still face sexism so Rivera’s not off base. She offers good reasons to hold back tears, but we think they should be relevant for all genders. Any sensitive men out there? She says that:

•    Being seen as overly emotional will harm your credibility.
•    Colleagues and leaders won’t trust you.

She also offers advice on handling three common emotional triggers – demeaning words or actions, being overwhelmed and shouting/rude behavior. And she should know – she’s been working in the male-dominated construction industry for decades. To learn more about Rivera, visit

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