Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss’ name calling:
My boss called me a bitch and said if I walked out the door I was done.
Signed, Hurt and Angry
Dear Hurt and Angry:
This certainly sounds like an unpleasant situation! Apparently there have been a lot of things going on already or something very serious happened right then, to create such an angry situation. If you work for a medium or large company you can complain about the rudeness to the Human Resources section or to your boss’s boss. But, if you work in a small business, you probably have no one to go to, because the boss is the top person.
You don’t say what happened after that, or if you walked out the door. Apparently you threatened to quit and he or she threatened you with being fired. If you left, you will probably be happier someplace else anyway. If you didn’t leave, you and your boss need to talk about the situation.Your boss called you a bitch—never a pleasant thing to hear.
That word nearly always is used to describe someone who is hard to get along with, griping or mean or nasty to someone. I don’t expect you think those descriptions fit you. It would be good to do some thinking about why it was said and if you’ve been talked to about your behavior before.I’m not saying you are at fault, just saying that there is a chance your behavior added to the problem, even though your boss obviously didn’t handle it well.
Your boss may be difficult to work with and the two of you multiply the problem. Or, maybe he or she just has been allowed to be rude to people for a long time. If you know others there who will talk to you honestly, maybe you can learn from their viewpoint, Whatever happens, you will need to decide whether it is worth it to you to try to rebuild a workable relationship with your boss. If you talk to him, try a reasonable and honest approach: “Jim, I know we sometimes don’t get along, but when you called me a bitch, it hurt my feelings and shocked me. Then when you threatened to fire me if I left, I was double shocked. I don’t want us to have those kind of bad feelings toward each other. Is there anything I can say or do to make things better at this point?”
That might not help, but it won’t hurt. If you want to keep your job and you don’t want this kind of thing to happen again, you may have to be the one to make adjustments. If you have someplace better to go, you may decide to just get out of this unpleasant work environment and try something else. Whatever you decide you will probably feel badly for awhile.I hope you can use this as a way to look at your work and your behavior–how you treat people, how you converse with your boss and how you handle being directed about work. If all of that is acceptable, then maybe it’s time you got out of a bad job.
I wish there was something magical I could tell you to make all of this easier to handle, but I’m afraid there isn’t anything to make this feel better. It’s something you will have to examine and work through. If you can do that you will show your maturity and professionalism, whatever your line of work.If you have the time to do so, please let us know what happens with this. We may be able to use your experiences to help others. Best wishes with all of it.
Tina Lewis Rowe