We’ve all been there. When under extreme pressure, we suddenly find ourselves blurting out whatever is on our mind. But what happens when you let loose on the job?
Revealing your true feelings about your boss or the work at hand can cost you respect, a promotion, or even your job.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever said to your boss? Some people shared their experiences on question-and-answer site Quora.com.
Song lyrics under stress
For Jay Bazzinotti, his blurt-out moment came after a senior vice president of a large oil company had just finished publicly scolding Bazzinotti after high-speed modems the oil company bought from his firm failed to work as advertised.
The executive had pounded on a crowded conference table, turning red and using words including, “fraud” and “malfeasance.”
Shaken, Bazzinotti opened his mouth and said the first thing that came to mind. It was not a defence of his firm’s telecommunications equipment. Rather, he spoke the lyrics to a Pink Floyd song: "Around town it was well known that when they got home at night their fat and psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives."
“I couldn't believe my own ears,” wrote Bazzinotti. “I couldn't believe I had just said that. To my left, our salesman looked at me in horror and tried to pull himself away from me in his chair… The SVP wound up to scream at me and I flinched.”
Then he stopped.
"Wait a minute," he said, "I know that line..."
"Yes," I whispered, "It's from Pink Floyd's The Wall album."
He said, "I knew that. You like Pink Floyd?"
"Yes," I said, "It's my favourite group."
"Mine too," he said, smiling and getting up, "I saw the Wall concert in LA in 1980. It was fantastic! I even caught one of Gilmour's guitar picks. I have it framed in my office with the ticket stubs. Come on, I'll show you!"
Bazinotti’s firm fixed the modems and the oil company bought thousands more of them afterward.
Fabric chemical salesman Prameet Kamat spent four exhausting hours trying to determine the source of an awful smell at his French client’s manufacturing factory. The factory had called him after it used his firm’s chemicals to make hundreds of yards of fabric, which now inexplicably reeked of rotten eggs and fish. At his wit’s end, Kamut spontaneously uttered six words that would either mark him as a genius or as a lunatic. "Put them out in the sun."
“I don't know what made me say it — the green sunny lawns that I could see from the windows probably,” Kamut wrote. “But, I knew it was the dumbest thing I could have said.”
About 20 factory workers spent 30 minutes laying out the fabric. Two hours in the blazing sun and the material no longer smelled.
“All I could feel was relief and a feeling that I needed to get on my motorcycle and ride back before I passed out,” he wrote. “I stopped at a pay phone on my way back and called my general manager. ‘It's solved. No problem anymore. They are ordering some more product,’ and went home and crashed for 12 straight hours.”
Working in a restaurant is plenty difficult without a demanding, belittling boss. Waiter Joseph Linnett accidentally brought the wrong food to one of his tables and was suddenly accosted by his supervisor, in front of the customers.
“Do you need a hearing aid?,” he berated, loudly. “We can’t use this food anymore. Now the kitchen has to remake everything!”
“I did make the mistake and so I apologized to him and to the customers,” wrote Linnett. “But, seriously, it was such an over-the-top and bizarre reaction.”
After work, and without mentioning the incident, the boss asked if Linnett was ready give him a ride home. Linnett, still angry, retorted:
"Not really...and if you ever talk to me that way again in front of the customers I'm going to embarrass you in front of the entire restaurant. Good luck getting home,” he wrote.
To his surprise, the next day, the boss pulled Linnett aside and apologised. "I'm sorry about yesterday. It wasn't appropriate but, honestly, I just get that way sometimes and so, if you think that you can't handle it, you should probably work somewhere else."
Linnett stayed for about another year and grew to like his volatile boss.
What are some of the oddest things you have ever blurted out at the office? If a manager, what has someone said to you? Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.