Still Leaning In – Chapter 6
The highlight of Chapter 6 for me, seek and speak the truth, is when the topic of crying at work is brought up. I work on the trade floor and as a trader fully understand that you must have a thick skin. We all work in extreme proximity to each other where I can reach my arm out and touch my co-workers shoulder. Every move, conversation, sigh is shared and the culture is the most unique type of culture I’ve ever experienced. I love it and wouldn't want it any other way.
But I get it that it’s not for everyone. Needless to say when working on a big deal or trade that involves a group of people and we are standing at our desks and on the phone figuring things out in the heat of the moment, you have to keep your wits about yourself. There is something to be said about grace under fire. Nothing is more counter-productive than having some guy in who is involved in the deal, blowing a gasket and freaking out externally in the midst of one of these intense moments. But sometimes it happens. Miscommunication or somebody changing their mind at the last minute is usually the fuse that gets them started. They get all heated up and emotional and revert back to their primal behaviour. Raising their voice, pounding their chest like a Jane Goodall movie. Sometimes from their desk and sometimes over the speaker phone. It’s human nature. Everyone on the trade floor is type A and driven and wants to be number 1 so a display of human emotion is natural.
But the way a man expresses emotion is very different from the way a woman expresses emotion. If I get really upset with someone’s behaviour or feel betrayed by someone my eyes well up and my voice starts to quiver. It’s happened a couple of times with me. But I know better than to cry on the trade floor. I put a lid on it. I wait till the deal is done, get off the floor and go for a walk and let myself go privately. Just like there’s no crying in baseball. There’s no crying on the trade floor. I didn’t need anybody to tell me that. I, like all the other women up there who thrive in that environment know better than to show that side of us so publicly.
With that being said, off the floor one-on-one conversations with people I trust does allow me to let my guard down and I have on some occasions allowed myself to cry. I believe these moments are necessary. We spend more waking hours with our colleagues than we do with our families in any given week, so it doesn’t make sense to not be yourself. It’s too much pressure and you can’t stay happy that way. So if you’re hurt or you’re going through something personal you need to share that. Otherwise, it will burden you and make you a less productive, disenfranchised and unhappy. And no one wants to live like that. Not even type A girls.