Update: If you are also experiencing office bullying or harassment from a boss or office mate, then head over this article: How to Handle Office or Workplace Bullies
I’ve been scolded by my boss lots of time, for various reasons. But because I refused to take the scolding personally, I was able to stay put in my work, long enough to enhance both my skills and attitude. And when I’m not looking for a better employer, an offer to become an Asst. Vice President for another company came, I find it cool.
I since left full-time employment on 2010 and started an upstart consulting biz.
READ: What is Office Bullying
Have you been scolded by your boss lately?
Let me share with you the framework that guided me thru the years:
Don’t leave your job just because your boss is angry with you – Ecclesiastes 10:4
One of the reasons why employees leave their company is their boss.
- Nagging boss
- Unreasonable boss
- Sexually aggressive boss
- Abusive boss
And the list can go on and on…
What I’d like to blog though, is the common experience employees have with their bosses– scolding
The insult may not be personal, may not be direct but still below the belt. The intention is to call your attention, stir emotion and get the message across… and in some cases, to give you a good reason to quit.
None of us are exempt from it, and based on experience, the more I moved up the ladder, the simple dressing down became more direct and bordering to insult.
When someone experienced this, what options are available for the offended party? I have 2 in mind, but you can throw your two cents and add more
- Resign or
In the Philippines, there is no law prohibiting employees from leaving the organisation when you’re no longer happy. However, you must serve 1 month notice prior to separation, or you may be held for damages.
However, you can end your employment immediately when scolded by boss beyond what is normal and acceptable. Enumerated below are the valid reasons:
Art. 285. Termination by employee.
- An employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice on the employer at least one (1) month in advance. The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages.
- An employee may put an end to the relationship without serving any notice on the employer for any of the following just causes:
- Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee;
- Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;
- Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family; and
- Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing.
While this is an option, the process is not easy and maybe highly stressful because at some cases, litigation may be involved.
(for readers outside the Philippines, please check your country's labor code)
If you will opt to stay, but you want to teach your boss a lesson, you better check your company’s code of ethics and discipline and see where the abusive behaviour falls. Top of mind, here are some of the actions that can give you an upper hand.
- If scolding is an offshoot of sexual harassment
- If scolding has an element of discrimination, i.e. gender, sexual preference, race, etc.
- If scolding is a result of your refusal to coöperate on something unethical, if not outright illegal.
Another choice is to move on, and acknowledge the experience as normal work hazard. Don’t let the hurtful words of another person distract you on your goals. Here’s what I remind myself when my emotions want to take charge.
Proverbs 12:16 —A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
Proverbs 19:11 —Smart people are patient; they will be honored if they ignore insult.
This option is easier said than done, but if you choose to endure an ass-hole boss (by your standard), then you will develop both a skill and character that will prepare you for a higher responsibility. How is this possible?
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so is man sharpens another man.
More young people leave after being scolded by their boss, though the reason is work related. They’re too onion skinned (emotionally sensitive) and cannot take the heat. But do you know that unsuccessful people are those who run away from responsibility and do not want to face the consequences of their actions or inactions?
Employees who give up when the going gets tough are unreliable and cannot be trusted for “bigger responsibilities”. During the exit interview I had with resigning employees, these turned out to be the real reason for quitting:
- Do not want to be corrected
- Can’t or will not accept their mistake
- Afraid of their boss
- Bosses’ shady ways (a valid reason to go)
We all commit mistake on the job, and bosses definitely will call our attention. But bosses do this differently, some will take the paternal approach (father and child discussion) to correct you, but most are comfortable with the transactional approach in dealing with the problem, i.e. scold you.
What distinguishes mature and people that will most likely succeed from quitters is their willingness to face scolding, and still keep their dignity and self confidence intact. They don’t hide, they don’t pass the buck, and they don’t run away. They stick it out and face the heat, and believed it’s “better to work with the devil they know than the devil that they do not know“.
In my case, I opted to swallow my pride. Anyway, I thought, I don’t own the exclusive right to scolding. To avoid it, it made me proactive and more responsible. Little did I know that it prepared me, both in skills and attitude for the next level position.
My advise for those going thru a season of scolding (IF the scolding is work related and don’t constitute ethical and legal breach), is to endure the heat, and allow the experience to mature you. The experiences you’ll gain will be beneficial to you in the long run.
Can you think of another way to handle an insult from a boss? Share your thoughts!
About the author
Sonnie is an experienced strategist for employer branding and communications; and people/ organization management and development.
He also received two awards, one for his advocacy on digital accountability, and another for the use of blog for mentoring.
He co-founded Blogwatch in 2009. Thru this initiative, bloggers voice were heard in convo involving national issues.
He co- founded LODI Inc. (Learning and Organization Development, Inc.) in 2018 as an offshoot to his year long #HRMentoring program.