My boss called me when I was working at home and he said in a very angry voice:

So and So got fired. Do you want to know why? They weren't as talented as the others.

I didn't work with the individuals who got fired so it was very strange to me.

No we were not friends and he was persistently rude to me at times.

No I didn't know they were going to get fired.

I didn't know about any performance issues with the people who got fired.

I just felt like this was a reminder that people do get fired.

This really scared me and I thought this was also an indirect threat to me as well. What does this mean? Why would a manager do this?

  • 2
    Do you have good rapport with your boss? Are you guys "friends"? Was there anything else said in the call that would make you think it was a threat to you? Maybe your boss was just upset and wanted someone to vent to(assuming you guys are friends). – New-To-IT Feb 3 '16 at 20:26
  • Strange. I suspect you boss was just venting. – paparazzo Feb 3 '16 at 20:38
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    you say "reminding". Did you already know? Or was your boss announcing something that happened while you were not at the office? – Kate Gregory Feb 3 '16 at 20:42
  • Voting to close as opinion-based, because we can't know why your boss would say this. If you want to know, you should ask him. – David K Feb 3 '16 at 20:43
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    @user1261710 - This is not in any business book I have read. It might be something in your workplace culture or it could just be your boss is drunk. I sympathize with your position but this isnt something that we can do more than guess at. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 3 '16 at 21:53

It sounds like an indirect threat. You need to think if there are any reasons which may have made your boss unhappy with your work.

It's out of line for the boss to be harassing you, but that's a different issue. Bosses are people, they can also be unprofessional at times, particularly when upset or stressed.

  • Would you categorize that behavior as bullying or harassment? – user1261710 Feb 5 '16 at 0:03
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    If it was a one off I would categorise it as 'I wish the clown wouldn't ring me when he's on the liquor,' If it was ongoing I guess it would be an attempt at intimidation. But I would have handled the phone call differently in the first instance and asked him what his point was then and there. – Kilisi Feb 5 '16 at 3:54

There are probably 100 answers to this... he's upset about a firing he thinks is unfair, he's giving you a veiled threat that you're next, he's venting because he feels bad and is rationalizing the move... choose your own idea and create a story.

So let's answer your real question:

What does this mean to me?

To find out, you might want to..

  1. Give a little breathing time for things to settle.
  2. Ask your boss is this is an ongoing situation, or a one-time deal.
  3. Ask if your boss has any concerns for your performance, or for any of your peers.
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    +1 Treating it as a threat for the time being is the safest course of action. I'd brush up my CV regardless. – rath Feb 4 '16 at 0:32

Are you the biggest chatterbox in the office and he wants to spread that information quick? :)

Only way to find out is to ask, everything else will give you grey hair. (which is bad unless you have none)

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