8 Scariest Comments Your Boss Can Make - InformationWeek

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10/30/2014
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David Wagner
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8 Scariest Comments Your Boss Can Make

"You're fired" is scary, but obvious. These eight terrifying phrases could blindside you.
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(Image: sketch_a_chick)

Halloween is just around the corner, so it's time to talk about scary things. But there are things in this world that are much more frightening than ghosts and ghoulies. There's Kim Kardashian. There's the fact that some people like Kim Kardashian. And then there's your boss.

Even if you've got a great boss who cares about you, your happy life is in his or her hands. As we discovered in the slightly friendly ghost story "A Christmas Carol," your boss has the power to make your day easier or harder. He or she can treat you like a king, but we have to remember that bosses have a boss, too. And sometimes, whether or not it's intentional, your boss is going to make your life miserable.

Just remember: Scares run downhill.

With a single IM, phone call, or menacing shout from behind a closed office door, the boss can start a chain reaction of pain from the penthouse boardroom at corporate HQ to the night shift guy at the branch office in Timbuktu. If you've been in the workforce for even a couple of months, you've seen it firsthand. You might have even helped it happen, as your boss uttered a few short words that turned you into your team's personal Nightmare on Elm Street.

The worst part is that, just like a character in a horror movie, you usually don't suspect much until it's too late. A nice vacation at the lake before graduation turns into a fight for survival with a machete-wielding madman. A normal day at the office becomes a fight to save the project before you and the project get axed.

Here's a list of eight warning signs that your boss is about to make your day scarier than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and possibly just as bloody. We skipped some of the obvious ones like "you're fired" and "we're laying off half the company." We have the subtle ones that might blindside you. Being scared is one thing, but being tricked when you expect a treat just isn't fun.

You can't really avoid them, but you can steel yourself for the inevitable. And if you find yourself hearing them a few too many times, you know it is time to perform an exorcism ... on your job.

Check out the list, and then go into the comments and add the scariest things your boss ever said to you.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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bcodezinfo2
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bcodezinfo2,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/5/2017 | 12:44:25 AM
Re: Free yourself from the tyranny of corporate employment
Not everyone can be. Only few can be their own boss.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
11/3/2014 | 3:47:12 PM
Re: The words get in the way ...of the truth!
Yes. I know these words can be turn into an opportunity. An opportunity to find a new job or career if possible.  I prefer to lose a vacation than losing my job.  But, if I get fired with a really nice severance package then a long vacation sounds like an excellent idea for me.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
11/3/2014 | 10:35:08 AM
Re: The words get in the way ...of the truth!
That's the best way to look at these words -- to turn them into an opportunity. Sure, it's easier said than done and sometimes we need to take the time to mope and recover from harsh words (whether or not there's truth to them). But if you can take a challenge and turn it into a victory, or take strong criticism and build on it (at that company or another organization), you win. 
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
10/31/2014 | 11:04:21 PM
Re: The words get in the way ...of the truth!

Dave sometimes that is the truth but I once picked up a project that no one wanted and turned it into hundreds of thousands of clients for a company. In my case most people were too afraid to take a risk, if the project failed it would have been the end of the job or career stagnation but if it succeeded it meant a promotion and other opportunities. In that case I was glad I took the project no one wanted.

vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 6:20:57 PM
Re: about half
@David - "We need to talk" or "I have to tell you something" is my pet peeve from anyone.  It opens the door for your imagination to run wild.  I always wondered why people wouldn't just spit it out.  The warning really just announces that it's bad news.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 2:24:56 PM
Re: about half
"... run by more of a manager"...

I'd rather have a leader vs. a manager.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 1:02:11 PM
Re: Another POV for "I don't have time to talk!"
@db,

Yep....heard that one...and it makes you feel so "good".

I've always asked myself what exactly is going through the Boss's mind that they say such things... I can only imagine that either they're the type of person that if they don't actually "see" something happening they think there's no progress...or they have ADD :)
tekedge
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tekedge,
User Rank: Moderator
10/31/2014 | 12:21:55 PM
Scariest!
Can I see you in my office real quick....
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 11:15:36 AM
Re: Beware of the "Special Projects" Department
I remember that one of my bosses said, "We no longer have a use for you. You can go home." It was one of my very first jobs as a cashier in a deli on my corner. I remember that I was crushed, but I think I wasn't moving the lines fast enough.
db
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db,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/31/2014 | 9:50:17 AM
Another POV for "I don't have time to talk!"
"I don't have time to talk/meet.", followed by "I don't know what you people are doing."
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