What's your Problem?

I told off my boss's son for being arrogant...

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Q: We recently ran a Bring Your Children to Work day. My boss's 16-year-old boy turned out to be the most arrogant person I have ever met. I put up with his behaviour until the late afternoon, when I finally couldn't take any more of his rudeness and told him to sort out his attitude or get out. He went running to daddy and, ever since, I've noticed a distinct froideur on my boss's part. Should I look for a new job?

A: No. There aren't many safe rules about decision-making, but it's usually worth postponing the irrevocable decision until you've tried the alternative.

Unless your boss is even more arrogant and insensitive than his son, it's entirely possible that you've actually gone up a bit in his estimation. He should be delighted that one of his staff has the steel and authority to put a 16-year-old in his place. He's not going to say so openly - that would demand too much loss of face and a degree of disloyalty to family - but the froideur you detect could well be a mixture of respect and tacit apology.

The test will be the next project he asks you to undertake. My bet is that it will be quite a challenging one - not because he wants to punish you but because he thinks you've got the personal qualities to make it happen. Assuming you like what you do and want to stay in your job, it's well worth putting to the test.

Only if there's clear and repeated evidence that your boss is discriminating against you should you change the plan. You've given the alternative a fair trial: now's the time to go for the irrevocable decision and determine to find another job.

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