Could I Get Written Up For Leaving A Bad Message?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about cussing a co-worker:

I was upset a at co-worker because she did not follow up with what she had promised. I called her phone and left her a voice msg cussing her out about how upset I was at her and telling her that when I see her again I wanted to talk about the issue.I did this on my break time outside of the building and she was already off. She decided to turn in the message to management and I got talked to. Can I get in trouble over this?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

Anything that negatively affects work or fellow employees can result in disciplinary action. Calling someone and cussing them out, then saying you want to talk to them about it when you see them, could very well sound like a threat. We live in a time when threats are taken very seriously. Even if the message isn’t considered threatening it was inappropriate. If there was a work problem you should have talked to your coworker at work, in a way that would solve the problem. Or, you could have talked to your supervisor about it.

As it is, you not only didn’t solve the problem, you ended up making her appear to be the one who is in the right while you are in the wrong. NOT what you intended! If I were you I’d find a way to apologize by saying you were upset and let your frustration overcome your judgment–and that you’ll never do that again. Then, stick with that and look for better ways to deal with conflict than leaving nasty messages.I know you are worried, and I hope you only get reprimanded over this. But maybe it is a needed reminder about controlling your responses to workplace frustrations.Best wishes.

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.