Your company designed an open office space to break barriers and encourage interaction, but that makes it much harder to sob over a spreadsheet. Here are the best places to cry without your co-workers interrupting you.
At your desk with your headphones on: The trick is to release your tears one at a time. Tears are a dead giveaway that you’re doing crying stuff and not work stuff.
At Ravi’s standing desk: The dry cleaning he’s always hanging on it will provide partial coverage. Plus, crying at a sit/stand desk is so much better for your posture.
By the water cooler: Boost collaboration with your co-workers by taking turns to openly weep. They might hesitate at first, but remind them it’s easier to cry in person than via email.
Behind your succulent: Sure, the company removed all the walls but at least it added Instagram-worthy décor. The company will be thrilled that you’re getting so choked up over its long-term investment in plants.
Behind Gary, the college intern: Your crying will be obscured by Gary’s long lectures on the egalitarian benefits of an open office and how he took a class on labor and productivity, so he gets it.
At the printer: The hum of the printer will muffle any sobs as well as your co-worker’s loud and explicit conversation about her cosmetic skin graft.
In front of the whiteboard: Brainstorm ideas for your company’s product launch while also doing a mind map of the emotions you plan to release in Q4.
Into your poke bowl: Pretend you’re crying about the appropriation of Hawaiian food culture and not the disintegration of autonomy in the workplace.
At the team meeting: This is fine as long as you don’t do that crying-spasm thing. Feel a spasm coming on? Just hold your breath like you’d hold in a hiccup. Do this for as long as you can. Your team won’t know you’re crying because you’ll be unconscious.
In the elevator: A temporary refuge before the company halts elevator service to encourage employees to take the stairs and/or never leave the office.
By the snack wall: All the low-cal yet high-energy snacks will fuel you for the next eight hours of crying.
By your C.E.O.’s work station: Flatten hierarchies by sobbing in front of your company leader. Open offices were made to foster communication, so introduce yourself and say, “Hi, I'll never make as much money as you!”
The center of the office: The company doesn’t believe in walls, so why build one around your emotions? Let it go and play the “Frozen” soundtrack while you’re at it. Do a cartwheel that turns into a split and then cry onto Colleen’s emotional support dog. You have the space for it! After all, the company wanted to increase productivity and you’ve never been more efficient with your crying in your life.
The restroom: This is where everyone goes to cry. Anticipate long lines.
JiJi Lee is a comedian and writer in New York.
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