A Letter from Author Anne Kreamer
© Lucy Andersen
I was told when I started work that if I wanted to be professional, I should never let my feelings show at work--that emotion had nothing to do with success. But somehow once I’d been working for a few years I realized that that advice seemed mainly to apply to women. The well-known chairman of my Fortune 500 entertainment company thought it was completely acceptable to call me up and scream at me because a good deal I’d made had not moved up the price of the company’s stock. He got explosively angry at me, but I certainly didn’t feel like I could reply in kind. So I cried. And felt even worse, but I sucked it up and went on, burying that experience until a few years ago when a former colleague and I were talking about how every woman we knew had had a similar experience. Because of my personal experience I realized I really needed to understand why crying on the job was such a taboo.
That simple question led me on a fascinating journey. Over the course of the last two years I roamed the country talking to dozens of neuroscientists and other experts and more than 200 working Americans, from top corporate CEO’s to waitresses on the Navajo nation to entrepreneurs in their basements, about their feelings--positive, negative, and in between--while on the job. The neuroscience of emotion is an exiting new field and the conversations I had with people confirmed first-hand what the cutting-edge researchers are discovering. People basically fall into two groups, those who cry easily and those who don’t, and women are several times more likely than men to be criers, which makes crying at work even more stressful for women. Nobody likes working with angry people. And all of us are looking for ways to reduce on-the-job anxiety.
Through my own original research with J. Walter Thompson, the largest advertising firm in America, I discovered that a lot more men cry on the job than you’d think, but what really surprised me was there is no “tissue ceiling”--successful people from every level of the professional hierarchy reported that they cried at work. And
people who cry at work are not necessarily unhappy in their jobs. I poured through the scientific research and uncovered some remarkable things--like the fact that saleswomen make more sales during the ovulation phase of their cycles, and that the cultivation of positive emotions isn’t some New Age dream but a scientifically proven tool to better problem solving.
Work in America today is fraught--the economy is transformed and precarious, and more is being done by each of us with fewer resources than ever. Simultaneously, with women making up more than half the work force for the first time in history, and with science illuminating more precisely than ever how biology drives behavior, we are at a unique moment for reflection and useful rethinking. With the practical insights I gained in understanding the main emotions we encounter at work--anger, fear, anxiety, joy and empathy--and with the specific tools tailored to each emotional state that I offer to help each of us develop better emotional resiliency, I hope my book inspires you to believe that the more of your authentic emotional self you bring to work the happier and more effective you will be.
Praise for It's Always Personal:“Throughout this heartfelt book, Ms. Kreamer comes down on the side of accepting and expressing one’s authentic feelings, though in sensible and constructive ways.
“It’s Always Personal” argues that greater emotional openness could lend vitality to American business, and it urges both men and women to ‘bring their full, true selves to the game.’ It’s a stimulating read bolstered by snippets of some of the best recent work on emotional intelligence and the science of happiness.”—Clare McHugh, The Wall Street Journal
"It's Always Personal
will transform the way you look at office culture and work relationships. In an insightful analysis packed with research, evidence, and real-life examples, Kreamer demonstrates why emotion matters so much in the workplace--and, with practical advice, she identifies ways to be happier and more effective at work." --Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project
"This will be one of the most fascinating and useful books you'll ever read. In this groundbreaking study, Anne Kreamer looks at emotion in the workplace through first-hand experiences, scientific research, and empirical data. What's the role of anger, fear empathy, anxiety and tears? This book explains them in ways that will make you a better worker, boss and human being." --Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, The Aspen Institute and former CEO of CNN
"It's Always Personal
made me want to stand up and cheer! I love this book. And every person who has ever been a boss or an employee needs to read it. Superb reading and highly practical!" --Christiane Northrup, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of Women's Bodies,...