Turns out there is crying in baseball.
And pop music.
Anthony Rizzo, Lady Gaga and Tom Skilling all treated us – and I do mean treated us – to their very public tears in the recently.
Rizzo during a ribbon cutting at Lurie Children's Hospital, in Chicago, to which his foundation committed $3.5 million for pediatric cancer programs.
"Lots of tears today," the Anthony Rizzo Foundation tweeted.
Gaga at Wrigley Field, where she paused the costume changes and power ballads for some moments of intimacy with the crowd, sharing stories of loved ones who've recently passed and visibly crying as she spoke.
Skilling, as we all know, at the recent solar eclipse.
None of them tried to hide their tears, and the public wholeheartedly embraced them – both the tears and the shedders.
Which has me thinking: What if we embrace crying at work?
They don't work in offices, but Rizzo, Gaga and Skilling were very much at work when they cried. I'd love it if their tears emboldened us to let our own occasionally flow.
"But they're performers," a co-worker said when I floated the idea of cry-friendly workplaces.
Then let them set the stage.
If we follow their model, crying at work would be a fairly rare but extremely powerful thing. Rizzo doesn't break down after every homer. Gaga wasn't crying at the Super Bowl. (Although I've read reports that she cried afterward.) Skilling said his eclipse tears were the first he's ever shed on air.
But when the tears happened, people were ready for them. The criers weren't stigmatized or diminished in the eyes of those who witnessed. They were, if anything, more highly regarded for being so visibly invested and moved by their work.
The Huffington Post once asked 15 female leaders where they stand on crying at work. Laura Safar, director of neuropsychiatry clinical services and education at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, had this to say:
"Sobbing uncontrollably in response to a minor mishap? Not OK, most times. But the timely shedding of a tear or two in front of a trusted colleague, reminding us that a good emotional range is part of humans' strength? Probably fine, go ahead."
"Lean In" author and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talks frequently about crying at work. She considers it a natural offshoot of bringing your authentic self to your career.
We're a long way from a majority of workplaces embracing the full emotional range. I distinctly and painfully remember the two times I cried at work, both more than a decade ago, once when I was seven months pregnant.
I assumed I would never recover. (I recovered.) But why was it such a big deal? We show and mostly shrug off our emotions at work all the time – joy, frustration, anger, worry, amusement. What are tears, if not a manifestation of all of those?
I feel like millennials could help with this one.
Scads of research tell us the 18- to 35-year-old set prioritizes meaningful work. They seek out careers that line up with their social principles, rather than those promising fat paychecks and other perks.
They want to be authentic, in other words. I have high hopes for them. And a request:
Help us destigmatize crying at work.
Show us that bringing your full humanity to your work is a strength, not a weakness. Shed, once and for all, the strictures that keep us living in fear of damp eyes and a swelling throat.
Let this be your legacy. Not avocado toast. That's lame.
And a pointer: Being good at your job will help immensely. Rizzo, Gaga and Skilling are aces in their fields. If you're regarded as a likable, fair colleague, if you've proven to be a hard worker, if you're reliable in a crisis and tend to meet your deadlines, your tears are more likely to be well-received.
To the 40 and above set, I say this: Let's give it a try. Next time you're overcome with emotion at work – be that emotion joy or sadness – go with it. No shame. No apologies. Just some good old-fashioned tears.
Imagine, for a moment, one of our leaders being moved to tears in the course of his or her work. President Donald Trump surveying Hurricane Harvey's damage. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Singer after a hate rally that resulted in a young woman's death. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the face of gun violence that kills hundreds.
I would be heartened. I would feel a kinship. I would trust their instincts and their intentions more, not less.
Maybe the same would be true in our own workplaces. Maybe we're a little too good at shutting down our emotions, which isn't that many steps from shutting down our hearts. Hearts should have a place at work.
"Lots of tears today." Rizzo's foundation wore it like a badge of honor.
Maybe more of us should.
(Contact Heidi Stevens at email@example.com, or on Twitter: @heidistevens13.)