Diaries Magazine

Emotions at the Workplace - Through a New Lens of Choice

Posted on the 23 September 2021 by Sani09 @sani09

Emotions at the Workplace - through a new lens of choice

 This is not the first time that an article is being written about emotions at the workplace. However, this article has nothing to do with preaching you to manage your emotions at the workplace but everything to do with how you perceive emotions at the workplace – yours and others’.

If you are a working professional with a little experience, you must have at least attended one corporate session by now on how to perform better in your organization or how to succeed in what you do or anything to the likes of learning to be better. And if you are a woman, you must have thought of or heard some other woman asking the question, “How do I convey my message assertively rather than aggressively?”

In my short years of working at professional organizations, I have heard this question plenty of times. However, I have heard this being asked only by a woman. This has nothing to do with the workplace environment but more to do with our subconscious beliefs. As women, anger is an emotion not very well received when displayed by us. 

Contrary to this is the fact that anger is still an emotion we often get to see at the workplace, sometimes mixed with disappointment and sometimes with frustration – not achieving your targets, not being able to communicate a message properly, your work plans being affected by unforeseen externalities, all these are bound to make a human being frustrated. 

This is a concept understood and accepted by most working people. Mostly, men do not worry about coming off as assertive or aggressive. They are mostly seen as always assertive and occasionally angry. Which is again understandable going by the fact that sometimes things don’t go as expected.

For most females, owing to our social conditioning, we often worry about displaying the emotion anger and being labelled as aggressive instead of passionate. This is changing as more and more females join the workforce albeit at a slow pace. (Statistically, men are more likely to display aggression than men).

However, there is one emotion that if displayed in the workplace is still a major taboo for all genders alike and that is sadness. Often sadness is expressed by a little meltdown moment. Crying at the workplace still remains a major no-no. I have heard plenty of times that we are not supposed to spill tears while working. This again comes from the subconscious beliefs that is imprinted on most men about how they should never shed tears. This belief then gets passed on to other genders too as they embrace the masculine environment of the workplace. (Statistically, women are more likely to cry than men. Statistically, gender ratio in the workforce is still skewed towards men and hence, the usage of the term “masculine environment” owing to subconscious beliefs and behavior patterns.)

As a working professional, I can see why we should never cry at the organization - crying shows your weakness and makes you vulnerable, and nobody wants to be vulnerable, not at a workplace where the competition is tough and there will always be people who would want to take your position at the slightest chance.

But as an alternative healing practitioner, I see a need for acceptance of all emotions by everyone in order to have an emotionally fulfilling life. Working a 9-to-5 job does not make us any less humans and any more robots. Are we then gradually becoming victims of toxic positivity as we keep denying anything and everything negative on our way and in our minds? If we are okay to display happiness for some achievement of ours then we should be okay to spend a few minutes to be sad at our failures too.

Either that or we remain completely detached from the outcomes of our work and neither success or failure affect us. It is not impossible to detached by the outcomes from a 9-to-5 job but then there goes your passion for a toss, and there goes the enthusiasm to achieve greater than you can imagine for a toss too. 

If you are a person whose career is their top priority in life, and who do not spend a lot of time in their hobbies or side-hustles, you would want to be passionate about your job role and work projects. In that case, my only ask is if we are okay to display happiness, and partially okay to display anger, how about we are okay displaying sadness too? It is never wrong to attach yourself to the outcomes of your work.

We can either create a workplace that gracefully embraces all emotions majorly classified as Happiness, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Surprise, or resort to the policy of strict non-attachment and hence, a strict policy of 9 hours per day in the job. Because otherwise where there is happiness, there will also be sadness, albeit repressed.

We already display the other emotions at work like fear and excitement. Strict policies incur fear into employees. There are many who operate by the fear of losing their jobs or reputation. Fear is a social instrument that way. 

We are excited about new opportunities- new job roles, new projects, new places, new organization, promotions, etc. We also like to surprise our team members with some rewards and recognition which excites them and motivates them for future projects.

All these emotions make us human, bring our best selves to work and that work gives a sense of meaning to our lives.

You would probably be working around 35 years of your life for 9 hours per day at least. That’s 38% of the time of your day. If we exclude 8 hours for sleeping, we just are left with 29% of our day. Do we want to be completely ourselves in only these 29% of the day for the rest of 35 years of our working-lives or do we want to be wholly present and embrace all our emotions along with all our work projects for 100% of the day for the rest of 35 years of our working lives? The choice to create our version of the ideal workplace environment is in our hands. What would you choose?

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