Recently I was asked to look for an item of furniture for the office (strictly for staff use, not clients) and was given some general specs such as dimensions, style and minimum requirements. After a bit of research and sorting through undesirable or inappropriate options, I sent a small selection to both of the directors (my bosses).

This went well until they both decided they had different criteria. The two bosses kept disagreeing on which options satisfy the specs and one of them decided to look at others. After an hour the director came back and said to go with the first option I had presented in my selection as it satisfied the specs best and was a compromise between the two bosses' opinions.

I was a little annoyed with my boss for asking me to do the task, disagreeing with my results, and then doing it again. I expressed my frustration and pointed out that I had in fact done the job properly the first time around. My boss was in a good mood and we laughed about the time we'd wasted, but afterwards I felt that maybe I shouldn't have made an issue of it.

Did I do the wrong thing?

  • 5
    Never argue, with anyone, on anything less than critical matters. Discuss. And accept that having your best advice overridden does not mean you have failed, and may not mean they failed.
    – keshlam
    Mar 16, 2016 at 13:11
  • 1
    You still have your job, and had to face no real consequence for your actions. Not sure whether you did the "right thing" but it seems you didn't do anything "wrong" either.
    – ereOn
    Mar 16, 2016 at 20:53
  • You got paid right? I know it feels bad, but you were there anyway. Could drag it out for days, as long as the paycheck clears, does it matter? Mar 28, 2016 at 18:27

4 Answers 4


What I get from your question is that you're annoyed that your boss double-checked your work, and you think it was because he thought you didn't do the job properly.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with expressing frustration in a professional, constructive way. It's actually a good thing to communicate with your boss about things that impact your work.

Second, it's just human nature to have your thoughts about what you want get more concrete when you're presented with real options instead of theoretical ones. The information you provided was really useful because once the bosses saw it, they had a better idea of what they actually wanted.

Last, if you want to minimize the possibility of something similar happening again, I suggest you add some of the options you rejected as unsuitable with explanations of why you rejected them, especially if there are only a few suitable options. This will make the folks responsible for making the decision more comfortable that they've seen a good selection of choices and will let them make their decision more confidently. It also demonstrates your ability to filter things according to their requirements, and when they see that you've made the same sorts of choices they would have, they will be more confident in your judgment.


From what you've described I would see it as the standard negotiation and barter that goes on in offices on a day to day basis, which results in compromise.

Reading between the lines the only person out of the three of you who has an issue with what you did and what happened is yourself. You express a frustration at two other people having differing opinions and basically faffing around making a choice. That's normal, that's ordinary that's the basics of making any decision.

It's subjective whether you did the wrong or right thing. The outcome appears to be amicable and satisfactory and I feel from what you've said is that the only person who appears to be dwelling on the situation and possibly tuning it into an issue is yourself.

So to answer your question it's neither right nor wrong but rather the middle ground between the two. Sorry it's not a binary answer, but there are things that will always be on a spectrum of answers.

Finally its always right to have your own opinions and put them forward in a consistent coherent way and arguing your point is OK. I would say that your headline question is it OK to argue is at odds with your context.


Did I do the wrong thing?

I wouldn't have complained, just done as requested. There is no plus side to complaining. Whether it's your fault or not doesn't really matter. But so long as it ended well it's ok. It could have ended worse though.

It's really a judgement call on things like this, how well do you know your bosses reactions etc,.


If your time is not crucial then let it be wasted.

If your boss has you working on things like this and is wasting your time he knows it. He might just want your opinion (which is good) or he might feel this falls into your tasks.

If you have crucial tasks that have to be done, and cannot be done because of things like this then this is where you say something, "Hey Bob if I keep looking for furniture those reports are never going to happen." Let boss decide which is important.

As it stands the boss had you in for some time wasting fun and they messed up a bit. Nothing wrong with this because the infallibility gives you a little slack when you mess something small up. Probably shouldn't have argued, as this might put more stress on any hiccups you have.

Verdict: You were wrong, a Serious Susan, play it off as a good laugh from here out.

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