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The Email Message That Almost Got Me Fired

Dear Liz,

I am ready to walk  into my boss’s office and quit, I’m so frustrated. I’m writing to you instead because I know there’s got to be a better way to handle my short-tempered boss, but I don’t know what that other way is. I’m sick of her hair-trigger temper.

I almost got fired today because of a harmless email message I sent Sandra, my boss. She has no patience at all (not just with me but with all of us) and she flies off the handle over the smallest things.

 

I had an early-morning customer appointment offsite and I got into the office at about 10 a.m. today. I always respond to email messages first thing so that’s what I did for the first 15 minutes when I got here. I sent Sandy two messages about two different customer issues.

I work in a private office at the far end of a long hallway from Sandy’s office. While I was composing my email messages, I could see Sandy at her desk because her door was open. About five minutes later, I saw Sandy get up with an angry and determined look on her face.

 

She stormed out of her office and went into her boss Peter’s office, next to hers. She slammed the door and started speaking loudly to Peter — basically yelling. That went on for five minutes. Then she left Peter’s office and stormed down the hall toward me. I could see her heading straight for my office so I had a minute to prepare, but it wasn’t enough time.

Sandy marched into my office and said, “We need to talk! I’ve about had it with your tone.”

I could hardly speak, but I managed to squeak out, “My tone?”"Yes!” said Sandy. “That last email message you sent me about the Apex Systems order was unprofessional and uncalled-for.”

I had no idea what she was talking  about. Sandy said, “You don’t get to tell me that you don’t like something I said or wrote. I’ve already talked to Peter about your attitude problem.”

I was completely mystified. I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean. I sent you a simple message to tell you that the people at Apex didn’t get your message last week so I sent it again.”

Sandy stood there glaring at me. I turned to my laptop and scrolled back through my Sent messages. I found the message I had sent to Sandy. “Look,” I told her. “I wrote to you five minutes ago to say that the Apex people didn’t get your message last night, so I resent it this morning.”

Sandy said, “Oh. I read that as ‘re-ZENT,’ not re-SENT.’ You should use a hyphen next time.”

That was the whole issue. She thought I was saying that I resented her message, as in Sandy’s message offended me somehow. I was only saying that I had re-sent her message because the client didn’t receive it the first time. Sandy gets bent out of shape over nothing all the time. Her temper is unbelievable and she shoots first and asks questions  later.

I missed a hyphen and narrowly missed getting fired or put on probation or who knows what. I said, “I’m sorry about that hyphen. I guess my message was confusing. Can you please tell Peter that we straightened that out?” It took me most of the morning to calm down. What do I do now?

Thanks,

Reese

 

 

Dear Reese,

Hair-trigger bosses like Sandy abound. She is not the only one! The best way to deal with a person like Sandy is to stay as calm as you can, yourself. Sandy gets spun up quickly. The best thing you can do is to keep breathing and resist getting spun up with her.

You need a new job! Don’t panic, and don’t give notice. There is no benefit to you in doing so. Take your time, put a careful plan together and launch a stealth job search. You can get a new job by Labor Day and smile as you give Sandy your two weeks notice. Living well is the best revenge!

Take your time. Don’t rush to begin your job search, or you’re likely to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. Think about what you want and need in a new job. Think about what you want and need in a boss, too!

 

The more time you take on the front end of your job search — the planning, strategy and branding part, that is — the easier the rest of your job search will be. You will zero in on specific employers and specific hiring managers.

You’ll read their LinkedIn profiles and make educated guesses about the specific types of Business Pain that are bothering your target hiring managers. Then you’ll reach out to them with your pithy Pain Letter and your Human-Voiced Resume — no online application forms for you!

 

This was a painful episode but it was supposed to happen. Sandy doesn’t deserve you! There are better jobs and better managers in your future. Your job is to go out and find them!

All the best,

Liz

 

Source : http://www.forbes.com/

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