I cried at work last week. Not the “close your office door to release the tears of being overwhelmed” kind of cry… though those can be cathartic. Not the “I just found out something sad” cry. My tears were shed with my peers who, at this point, are other vice presidents and the president of my institution. In my career, the cries that I’ve experienced in front of someone who is, organizationally, at the same level or higher than me have been caused by the same reason. It’s injustice. Let me say that I don’t use the word “injustice” lightly. The reasons and the details in the moments I have shed tears are not the same but when I see what I perceive as unjust action at my workplace, my eyes and my cheeks get wet.
I would not classify myself as a crier. I worked at my last institution for almost 14 years and cried in front of my boss in that job twice. Once, I was upset a group of us were discussing an employee with some critique when I knew she had the evolving, unbearable reality of a child who was losing a battle with a terminal illness. Where is the justice, I thought, in critiquing a person job’s performance when she was living life’s worse nightmare?