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I recently snapped on my boss. He's the CEO of a small company.

I regularly have scheduled meetings with another boss where you talk about work life, complaints, suggestions, etc. In the last year or so we've been having growing pains.

The CEO has general disregard for other employee's working space. He's very loud and obnoxious. As a developer, I often feel forced to move to random rooms around the office for some quiet. I have verified other employees feel similar, so I'd like to believe the problem isn't entirely on me. The developers usually end up huddled in a random room (with uncomfortable seating) together working.

Generally I'm forced to be migratory and cannot use my desk, monitor, mouse, or keyboard that I paid for. I've brought this up in those private meetings for over a year now to no avail.

I'm very frustrated by this. I don't want to be frustrated. I don't want to be confrontational. But it seems like my complaints have not been taken seriously by the CEO. In my opinion my immediate boss is sympathetic to my issues, CEO is just a little dense is all.

So today, I moved to Room B from the main office because the CEO was being very loud on a call. He literally screams into the microphone compared to other employees. CEO comes stomping down ten minutes later and declares he reserved the room (which he did). I snapped and asked him why he couldn't use another meeting room. Told him I was fed up of being kicked out from my desk, or wherever I'm forced to work, at his whim and that he/the company has done nothing to resolve this issue.

I don't want to be angry at the CEO. I don't want to be frustrated. I don't want un-needed stress; programming is bad enough on its own. I would even appreciate a real attempt to address the issue. Thus far, being perpetually migratory has been the "solution".

In some ways, I regret going off. It wasn't appropriate to do, but I also know that issues often go to the edge at my workplace before they're handled. Is an apology letter appropriate or it would be best if I see where the cards fall over the weekend?

  • Define recently? Does this happened today and you are all still in the office? – DarkCygnus Oct 5 '18 at 16:44
  • Also, how was the CEO's response when you snapped on the room? I suppose you left for your desk? – DarkCygnus Oct 5 '18 at 16:46
  • Today. I was offered to go work from home the rest of the day (which has been a topic recently), which I took. I'm not sure if that was the right decision... – aport-dine-pemmican-exorcise Oct 5 '18 at 16:46
  • CEO said he was sorry (which felt like more of a reaction to calm me down than a genuine sorry) and then said I was being unprofessional (which, yeah, I would agree with). – aport-dine-pemmican-exorcise Oct 5 '18 at 16:47
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    "and cannot use my desk, monitor, mouse, or keyboard that I paid for" ?? You paid for your desk and equipment? – Sandra K Oct 5 '18 at 17:06
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Is an apology letter appropriate or it would be best if I see where the cards fall over the weekend?

As this happened today, I strongly suggest you act quickly and don't leave it hanging over the weekend.

I think it would be more appropriate to do this in person if possible. Go to this CEO's office and speak to him there. Apologize for your reaction, explain that you are under a lot of stress but that you are aware that it is not a justification for your response.

After that you hope for the best. If you handle this swiftly and don't leave it hanging there is a higher chance you can get out of this as smoothly as possible.

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I know that this site is dedicated to working through office issues, but with the loaded language in your question:

You need to find another job. You "snapped," but you obviously didn't relieve the frustration. This was just a "warning."

This CEO has obviously been entirely dismissive of your requests, and he's not going to change. If anything, this will make him "push" you, more.

Get out, and do it quickly.

When times are bad, maybe you put up with this sort of thing, but a competent software developer is lucky if he stands outside with a laptop and a textbook and doesn't get stuffed in a sack and kidnapped by recruiters, these days. There's no reason to put up with this.

  • @DarkCygnus - Sometimes the question in front of you isn't the question that's being asked. Sometimes you have to challenge incorrect predicates in the question. The poster didn't "Snap." If he had, he would be emotionally exhausted. The poster is "Snapping." He's not done, yet. – Wesley Long Oct 5 '18 at 17:10
  • So, you say that this episode is but an accumulation of negative things that have happened in that workplace, and that under the snap situation the real issue is a bad workplace and toxic boss? – DarkCygnus Oct 5 '18 at 17:11
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    @DarkCygnus - Good and Bad are subjective evaluations. This is a stressful workplace to the poster. He needs a different environment than is available, and the CEO isn't going to change. Everyone has their issue. Mine is sunlight. I have to have it, or I get very unproductive very quickly. This guy needs quiet. I can't work in a cave, this guy can't work here. – Wesley Long Oct 5 '18 at 17:14
  • Yes, bad for OP as it seems. I get you better now, thanks for clarifying :) – DarkCygnus Oct 5 '18 at 17:20
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How about being honest?

You feel sorry for snapping on your boss, but you absolutely meant what you said. You feel sorry fow how you said it, not for what you said.

Request a 1-on-1 meeting with your boss. Apologize for your tone but give him honest feedback. Make it clear that the situation was impacting your productivity and is reoccurring. Tell him in a calm and objective way that you are not the only one affected by the problem.

If the same problem persist for such a long time, don't expect your boss to come up with a solution. Offer your own ideas and explain how they would improve the atmosphere for all developers in the office.

Possible solutions include:

  • Your boss having an individual office and closing the door while on the phone
  • close the door to your office to get some quiet (I really, really hope you're not working in one of those terrible open-plan offices)
  • Anyone on the phone should automatically go into a free meeting room and close the door
  • Have dedicated developer offices as far away from loud co-workers as possible
  • Here's what's crazy. We're in an open office with the CEO. All of those things have been suggested at one point or another by various employees. They refuse to do anything about the situation. Weird excuses abound. I cannot explain why nothing is done about the situation other than they don't care... And I don't want to believe they don't care. I go home with a headache and sore back almost every day. – aport-dine-pemmican-exorcise Oct 8 '18 at 13:10
  • This is so bad that I see no realistic chance of anyone changing anything. All of you could sign a petition asking for more quiet, demonstrate your sour mood by collectively putting on those over-the-top ear muffs used for construction work or resign all at the same day and your CEOs probably still wouldn't understand what went wrong... I've worked in a place like that. – Elmy Oct 8 '18 at 13:16

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