I work at a startup and I have a bit of a transportation problem. On Saturday night my dad came to pick me up, but I had my phone on silent so he came in and made small talk with my boss and another one of his colleagues (they are close friends).

While my boss and I were showing my dad a demo unit, the conversation steered its way towards factory managers and how dumb they were. Jokingly, my dad told my boss that I told him my boss and colleague were dumb (for the record, I never said anything remotely like that). I was shocked, and all I could do was repeatedly mutter a feeble "no". My boss asked if this was true and I said "no" but my dad said "yes".

I'm not sure what my dad was thinking. My boss and his colleague joked it off, but I cannot help feeling I might have damaged my good terms with my boss/colleague. Also probably sacrificed a good job. How do I fix this?

My goal is to repair my relationship with my boss and save my job. What I'm asking for is the best way to communicate to my boss that there was a misunderstanding.

One plan I am considering is to go talk to my boss and his colleague on Monday and tell them there was an apparent misunderstanding. I would tell them I would never say such a thing and that I have the utmost respect for them. If so, how should I approach the conversation and what exactly should I say?

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    Go straight to your boss. Say that you never even implied anything derogatory about the factory managers. Apologize for what your dad said that you had said, say that you spoke to him and that he had meant it as a joke and that you had told him that the joke wasn't funny. End the conversation by apologizing to the boss again and point out that you have always been respectful of everyone at work and that no one has ever lodged a complaint against you over the way you treated them and you want to keep it that way. Finish by saying "I didn't need this and I am mortified over the whole thing" Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 19:04
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    Add "unfortunately, while we can choose our friends, none of us gets to choose their relatives." Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 19:10
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    And this is why you never take parents to work. Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 16:01
  • I'm not sure what my dad was thinking - did you ever ask him? (old posting, I know) Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 15:16

3 Answers 3


It's possible that your boss took this in the joking way that your dad inferred. Nevertheless, if it's bothering you then that's as good a reason to sit down and talk this out at work. Explain to them the truth about the situation as truthfully as you can (my one admonishment would be to avoid throwing your dad under the bus; just maybe say that he has an "off the wall sense of humor" or something along those lines), including that you in fact think they are a very intelligent person and you are grateful for their tutelage.

My experience is that people like to be complimented, and even if there's no lingering bad feelings from that conversation, hashing this out has nothing, I don't think, but good consequences for you.


How do I fix this?

Your boss and his colleague apparently joked it off, you probably should too. You are most likely making too much of this.

But if you feel strongly enough that you must do something now, just tell your side of the story and leave it at that.

How about "Hey, boss. I just wanted to tell you that I would never say such a thing. Apparently, my Dad thought he would be funny at my expense. I didn't know he was going to do that, otherwise I would have prevented it from happening, and I don't think it was very funny. Sorry."

Then, either stop taking rides home from your Dad, or meet him outside.

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    +1 nothing beats a face-to-face explanation. I think this is a good chance to show your boss how professionally you handled the situation.
    – Long
    Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 8:32
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    I would just add that there may seem to be an uneasy peace at work for the next week or so but it will blow over... there is just no way to speed that up something just need time to settle. Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 14:53

Take your boss aside for a moment.

"This has really been eating away at me the last couple of days. My dad has always thought it was funny to create awkward situations for me and his comments about me thinking you all were "dumb" were just one of those times. I am grateful to everyone here for what they have done for me and I could have no reason to think badly of any of you."

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    This answer simply repeats what has been said earlier... Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 14:55
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    @Chad, I disagree, the text he suggests using is differnt that some of the others and seems to handle the situation best in my mind.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 15:25
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    Meh. This includes some of what I was talking about regarding not throwing Dad under the bus. The problem with gossip is that even if you're making objective statements, saying negative things about people makes you sound negative. On top of that, the person, great tutor or no, is your employer, not your friend, and there's a level of unprofessionality that goes into talking about one's family in that relationship. I would leave it as, "Sometimes dad has a, um, esoteric sense of humor". Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 15:42

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