There is an old episode of Sex and the City – somewhere around season 4 – when Samantha pitches her PR services to hotelier Richard Wright. He won’t hire her. He says it’s because she might be too ‘emotional’.
Samantha later unburdens to the girls: ” ‘emotional’ is just code for ‘I don’t want to hire a woman’ “. They talk about the various times they have cried at work (or not). Samantha later delivers this killer line to Richard Wright in his office: “It’s amazing. A man with such innovative vision can be so shortsighted.” She makes it into the lift just in time before privately bursting into tears. The next day, she has the job.
Type the word “emotion” into Google. Here’s what you get:
a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.
As an employer, these sound to me like incredibly valuable attributes for any employee. Being “emotional” in the workplace is not about sitting around the boardroom table in floods of tears. It’s showing that you care: you care about what you’re doing, both for yourself, your colleagues and your clients. The result and how you obtain it matters to you. Your relationship with those around you has meaning and affects what you do.
Emotions that may at first seem destructive or unhelpful can actually bring out the best in you: anger may come upon you suddenly and prevent rational thought, but when anger cools it can turn into focus, drive and determination: ‘I will fix that problem to make sure it never happens again’. ‘I will show that client I can do the job, even if they think I can’t.’
Just as it did for Samantha, a feeling of injustice or unfairness about an issue brings passion, which translates into commitment and, ultimately, achievement.
Don’t be afraid to care. If we didn’t care, we wouldn’t do.