Ask Zahzah – The Flying Paperclips

My boss keeps throwing things at me whenever he is angry, which happens a lot.

It started with light weight office stationary items such as pencils and paper clips.

Lately he started throwing heavier items.

Last week he threw a black stapler at me which hit my forehead and required stitching and medical treatment.

What shall I do?

Sent by: Confused/injured at the office

Image

Let’s put things in perspective here so we get straight to the facts and avoid jumping into conclusions.

Firstly, if you were paying real attention at your work-space you would have seen that stapler flying towards you and you could have easily ducked away from it.

Secondly, you did not include all the facts in your letter; mainly whether your office colleagues are also having stuff thrown at them by your boss.

If that is the case, your boss is an equal opportunity thrower. Translation: there is no discrimination involved and you have no legal leg to stand on.

In layman’s terms; you have nothing to complain about.

Regardless whether you have a legal leg or an artificial one, you should always act as a real team player and get along with the flow.

Thirdly, if you believe you were singled out, assuming you can prove it in a court of law; we need to examine the compelling reasons that forced your boss to escalate his throwing choices from paper clips to staplers.

Did the paper clips throwing start as an innocent male bonding attempt on your boss’s part?

Was it part of some Human Resources exercise intended to raise morale, build team spirit and generate happiness inside the work space?

Or was it perceived as a disciplinary action in response to some major fuck-up on your part that damaged the company severely?

I am in the dark here until I receive further satisfactory clarifications.

Fourthly, I will assume for argument sake that you made a typo in printing your letter and that your boss was perhaps, at the time of the alluded throwing incidents, a female.

If that is the case, I need to dig deeper into your attitude towards her, assuming you are a male of course.

Usually female bosses are known to yield to mild momentary lapses in temper during certain days of the month, at which time you are well advised to lay low, remain silent, and refrain from disagreeing or provoking as much as possible.

Fifthly, and most importantly, being a boss is very demanding and very tough.

Your boss has pressures from above, below and from the sides.

He/she carries much bigger corporate responsibilities, unlike what you seem to carry – evidenced by the fact that you are not a boss. Look at the big picture and try to find out why your boss felt the need to throw things at you.

What is the message that he/she is trying to convey to you?

How is it related to your performance or attitude or both?

Try to put more effort.

Show up in the office during the weekend.

Ask for more responsibility and more work in general.

Get along with your boss.

Suggest doing extra activities, like washing his/her car occasionally when he/she is too busy.

Maintain a positive attitude and keep smiling.

Eventually your boss will appreciate you and he/she will end up throwing a bonus towards you instead of a stapler.

 

Artwork done by: Nawal Zahzah adventuresofnaz.com

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