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Backstory: I do a semi specific task with a system within my medium size company. My job is this task, but I am branching out. Before me, there were a handful of others doing what I did part time (which is not good practice for the most part). When I was hired, it took away those people's access and I am the only one in the company that does that job now.

The incident: One of the past super users (who hasn't needed his elevated abilities in 4-5 months) requested his abilities back. I refused and he came to my desk. The conversation was very spirited, and he mentioned being the controller of the system that cuts paychecks. He also mentioned being one of people who pushed for my position, although I know he/his department did not put in the request.

The Boss: My co-worked told me to document the issue. My boss saw I was frazzled so I told him what happened, not mentioning the money part (at first). He said he didn't have a strong enough grasp on the system, but from my approach I was in the right. My boss is awesome, and even if I was in the wrong and he told me off, I would still think so

The Question: When I told my boss about the money conversation, he said it was an "Orange Comment". I took that as "This could be misunderstood, or something serious, its too early to know". From what I have explained, is that what "Orange Comment" could mean?

Also, the mention of money (when this person had no control over what/when I am paid) rubbed me the wrong way. Am I being overly sensitive?

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    Am I being overly sensitive? - No it was a pretty agressive threat to you. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 11 '17 at 21:10
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    I suspect, though just a guess, that the comment was over the line, worth more than a warning (yellow) but not quite immediate zero tolarance termination(red) bad. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 11 '17 at 21:12
  • This is the first time I ever heard of such a thing. even a google search turns up nothing – Old_Lamplighter Oct 11 '17 at 21:16
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    The only way to know for sure what the term "Orange Comment" means is to ask the person who used the term. – Dan Pichelman Oct 11 '17 at 21:19
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings This is what I thought it meant as well. After talking to him again, and asking, he confirmed it – BlueBaroo Oct 11 '17 at 22:43
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I have to say that while I certainly don't know every type of slang out there, I'm familiar with a great deal of management jargon, including the typical metaphors, buzzwords and other shorthand. At least in US management worlds.

And "orange comment" is a new one on me. And it's not readily appearing in a Google search.

Which makes me think the most appropriate response to that is to ask for clarification. I'd plan to ask your boss the next time you meet up with him (casually). It's totally fair to say "hey, sorry I didn't ask before -- but I'm not really sure what you meant when you said 'orange comment'." I'd pick a time when you and he are in private (like in a 1 on 1) instead of in the middle of a busy meeting, or even before/after a meeting, in case there are political nuances that your boss doesn't want to explain publicly.

It does sound you like a politically challenging confrontation there, and it's great that your boss supported you! I don't like guessing from context on this, but potential interpretations could be:

  • the comment about being from the team that writes the paychecks is almost a red alert (therefore it's "orange") - in that it could be perceived by you as a threat, and no one in a company should make that kind of threat to an admin that is just doing his job. Usually if threats are vague, it's not insane to keep a watchful eye and if the threat is repeated, then pursue further action.
  • the comment was vague enough to just be confusing, so maybe "orange comment" is just a potentially weird one and you should just let it go.

In particular, English can be a super-vague language in that our use identifiers can be vague. If he said "that" - he could mean the whole interaction, the part about the money, the fact that this user decided to even talk to you about this, or something else entirely. So it's never a bad thing to ask for clarification.

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I spoke with my manager about the meaning of "Orange Comment." He explained it as a comment that sits between "This should be elevated to the next level" and "This was potentially a misunderstanding/spirited conversation."

He used this term because he has my side of the story, and while I believe he sides with me, he doesn't want to get out the pitchforks before knowing both sides completely.

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    It sounds like the term "orange" here may derive from common alert colors - Yellow, typically for warnings, and Red, typically for errors or urgent action. "Orange", then, might be interpreted "we're at yellow, possibly red depending on what we investigate". – user17163 Oct 13 '17 at 22:28
  • This is indeed an answer from OP's manager. Why is it Low Quality Post? – scaaahu Oct 14 '17 at 3:28
  • As advised from comments in the original question, I am marking this as the accepted answer – BlueBaroo Oct 16 '17 at 17:49

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