Why can’t I argue with my boss? Please explain

Aunty B,

You usually give advice to business owners, but perhaps you could explain to this little employee what’s going on in the boss’s head.

Yesterday, one of my bosses asked me how I felt about a decision the company had made that personally affected me. I was honest and said I wasn’t happy with it, but I would comply as he was my boss. He was surprised and began explaining the rationale behind it – something I’d already been told by another boss in the business about three times. I responded with the reasons why I wasn’t happy with the decision. The discussion went back and forth with each of us trying to justify our position.

After about five minutes he said: “Can you not argue with me?” Yet hadn’t he asked my opinion?

I know Gen-Y are labelled as the generation that thinks they know better than their bosses, but I was only explaining myself. Should I have bitten my tongue from the start, or should I ignore this as an ego-driven statement?

Miffed Minion,

Dear Miffed Minion,

Since you asked, I will channel your boss and tell you word for word what is going on in his head.


“Hmmm. I wonder if Miffed Minion, who is a Gen-Y, been in the job five minutes and thinks she knows everything, has anything useful to say on X.

I know the decision personally affects her and I certainly don’t want to lose her.

But if only she could see the big picture and understand that unless we make this change we can’t keep paying her salary, give her a bonus, pay her iPhone bill, have the Chrissie party at a swish venue in the city this year so she stops complaining about the pub, create a career path for her, give her further training opportunities, hire someone new so she develops management skills and doesn’t have to work so hard, provide her with the latest IT tools, free tea, coffee, organic fruit, cakes on her birthday, massages once a month, super, holiday pay, sick pay, parental leave pay, maternity leave…

Oh. How disappointing. As expected, Minion told me her view and couldn’t see the big picture AT ALL. Couldn’t even see the small picture. All she can think about is HERSELF!

Oh my god. Now she is going into ALL the reasons why she isn’t happy with the decision and absolutely none of them relate to the business. I’ll try and explain… she keeps interrupting with the same old points.

That’s it! I’ve had it! Doesn’t she know what a perilous position the company is in? Can’t she see I haven’t slept for a month? And tomorrow afternoon when she leaves early to drive to the snow doesn’t she know where I will be? At my ACCOUNTANT getting ready for a review with the BANK and my magic bullet is the decision that I have made; the decision she is stroppy about.

Can’t she shut up??? Can’t she see I am about to CRACK??!!! Oh god. Now she’s cross with me. All I did was tell her not to argue with me. It was that or throttle her. I am human you know. I do have feelings. There is only so much a human can take.

Oh she’s walked off in a huff. What if she leaves? She’s really very good. I really like her spirit. It would be so hard to replace her. I should apologise but that would probably start her off again.

Bugger it. I’ll suggest drinks at the pub. Oh she hates the pub. Maybe a swish hotel. But I have to drink less. Stress is turning me into a grumpy alcoholic. Look how I lost it.

There’s nothing I can do. She probably thinks I am an ego-driven lunatic. Maybe I am. But if only she would learn to bite her tongue!”

Well, you asked.

Your Aunty B.


Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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