If you are a person living in the world, the odds are pretty good that, at some point, something is going to make you cry. Throw in some sleep deprivation, a little caffeine dependency, and aspiring to membership in a profession that is, statistically speaking, terrible for your mental health, and these odds get even better (worse?).
Of course, not everyone cries at work. Some people seem to have figured out the elusive secret to maintaining an even keel in all circumstances—their priorities are in order, they are the human embodiment of balance, the world bends at their will. Other people are maybe actually robots, highly efficient law drones for whom the feeling of ever having been even slightly overwhelmed is but a distant memory. For everyone else, however, crying at work remains a distinct possibility. Lest it catch you unaware, read on for one young professional’s road-tested guide to places to cry in the financial district.
- TTC vehicles and platforms: As a general rule, no one is having a good time when they are commuting. Being confronted with the futility of human existence first thing in the morning or after a long day at work is enough to move anyone to tears, so why not give into that impulse and let it out of your system while in transit? While it’s true that there may be a lot of people around, they’re probably too caught up in the podcast they are listening to or the crushing weight of their own despair to notice you.
- Food court two buildings over from the building where you work: In a similar vein to the caution against shitting where you eat, it can sometimes be advisable not to develop a reputation as “that crying girl” in an environment that you may also wish to frequent on less emotional days. The anonymity of a neighbouring food court is perfect for this. Let yourself disappear into the mass of identically-dressed business people as you weep, safe in the knowledge that you don’t need to see any of these people ever again. Bonus: it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will try to sit too close to you if you are audibly sobbing.
- The great outdoors (seasonal): In the warmer months, the aspiring-to-be-green-but-actually-mostly-cement spaces between the Financial District’s shiny towers fill up with professionals trying to catch a fleeting moment in the sun. Come winter, however, these spaces are reduced to their fundamentally ugly and brutal nature and, weirdly, they really empty out. The mix of cold air and the cigarette smoke is the perfect atmosphere for really leaning into feeling just the most sorry for yourself, and those cows outside of the TD building will never hold your breakdown against you.
- Your office hiding place: Desperate times, as they say. Maybe someone just yelled at you and you’re feeling like the Platonic form of an idiot, maybe you just found out you had to have your cat put down, maybe you haven’t really slept in two days and it hurts to be alive. Whatever the reason, you may find yourself at your desk knowing for sure that you are about to cry, with no time to escape. If you are so blessed as to have an office with a door, the ability to close that door is ideal, but if you do not, it is a good idea to figure out which pieces of office furniture you may be able to hide behind/under/inside of. If you find yourself resorting to this option frequently, you may want to consider investing in some anti-redness eye drops to use before re-emerging. You may also want to consider therapy.
- In a bar (off-peak hours): To be clear, this is not a recommendation to drink your sorrows away—while there is possibly a time and a place for that, I have heard that it’s maybe not the healthiest coping mechanism. However, the low light of most bars combined with the low odds of running into a coworker make them ideal locations for a low-key cry, even if you’re drinking club soda. If you anticipate that the cry you are about to have will be a manageable one, why not grab a friend and make an outing of it? Some of the best friendships are forged in difficult times, and there’s a good chance your colleagues are feeling just as overwhelmed as you are. Taking a quick time out from the light of day could do you both a world of good.
Go forth and weep openly!
NB: In a shocking twist, the author of this list will not be returning to the Financial District next year.
*Alumni Contributor, Class of 2017