Boss Sends Threatening Texts To My Cell Phone

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss: my boss sent numerous text to my cell phone on my personal time. One message even said “Screw this up again and I’ll show you mean”

There was a job supposedly done wrong by me. Turns out it was the customer’s mistake not mine. But, while it was going on my boss sent numerous text to my cell phone on my personal time. One message even said “Screw this up again and I’ll show you mean”.My question is, can he threaten me via my phone on my time? I have been there 24 years and lately he makes me feel like an idiot.

Signed, Fed Up

DearĀ Fed Up:

A boss can send text messages anytime, unless there is a company rule against it. However, it’s poor judgment to send unpleasant ones, especially when you’re on your days off. Those kind of conversations should be done face to face or directly over the phone, where you can respond and clarify the situation.Some questions come to mind regarding this matter. Consider them for your own thought processes about how you want to respond now.

Has his negative way of responding to things been going on for a long time or is this something new? If this is typical of him and everyone has tolerated it for years, he’s just using new technology to be his same old rude self. It will probably not be possible for you to change his style at this point, but perhaps using your long-time work history to be an influence could help.

*Is there a boss above him or an HR section to which you could raise your concerns about his threatening tone? If he is the owner of the business you won’t be able to do much, but if he has a boss and others are above him, that text about “I’ll show you mean”, should be shown to those people. That is not just inappropriate, it’s frightening and should never have been said or texted.

*Is he trying to push you to quit and this is his way of doing it? If you’ve been making mistakes or creating problems, it could be that your boss would like to see you gone and this is his way of trying to make that happen. If your work is always excellent and your work habits of punctuality, interpersonal relations and personal appearance are high, he’d be crazy to push you out. So, either he thinks you won’t leave at this point, no matter how he treats you, or he hopes you WILL leave.

That is something for you think about and self-evaluate. Whatever the background situation, it’s clear that you and your boss don’t have a good way of communicating. A friend wouldn’t write that to another friend. A good working colleague wouldn’t write that to a coworker. A good manager or supervisor would never write that to an employee and expect to get good results.

His phrase makes me wonder if you had said something about him being mean and he had responded that if you make more mistakes of that nature you’ll find out what he can do if he wants to be mean. That background may have a lot to do with this whole situation.Your boss is apparently a poor communicator when he’s under stress. It may be that he uses that tone a lot. If so, you will need to decide what you want to do about it.If your work culture is such that you couldn’t possibly confront him about a problem and there is no one higher, you may have to just keep moving and tolerate his obnoxious behavior unless you want to make a statement by quitting.

If you think you can talk to him, maybe you could bring up the text that was especially offensive and ask him what he meant by that. Or, you could tell him that the text really bothered you and you’d like to have a phone call next time instead of a text.Or, maybe you can just respond to a troublesome text by calling him back immediately and asking how he meant it and say that it seemed threatening to you. That may get his attention.I do think however, that the specific text you mentioned should be reported or discussed, according to how your business works. With 24 years on the job you surely have some status, so use it to say that no one should be treated in that way and you would like to ensure that in your work and the work of other employees, problems are handled differently. Best wishes to you with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.