In a now-viral Reddit post, a woman said her co-worker’s former boss once emailed her co-worker telling her to stop being sad at work.
The woman, u/Plenty-Artichoke7924, posted a screenshot of the email to Reddit’s “Antiwork” forum on Sunday, writing, “She [my co-worker] had just found out that her boyfriend of 4+ years had cheated on her. She started looking for another job immediately after reading this.” The post garnered over 23,000 upvotes and nearly 4,000 comments from Redditors who couldn’t agree if the email was “rude.” or reasonable.
u/Plenty-Artichoke7924, for its part, criticized the lack of employer empathy, a managerial trait that many experts believe is necessary for employee satisfaction.
“The best managers are people who really care about the people they work with, and [who] report back to them,” said GoodHire CEO Mike Grossman. Fast company. “It’s not just lip service; it’s not just rhetoric; they genuinely care about people, their happiness, their professional development, and they invest time and energy to help their team members.
The pandemic, in particular, has heightened the need for empathetic leadership in the workplace, as the pandemic has “made [workers’] personal and professional lives are merging,” Caitlin Duffy, research director at consulting firm Gartner, told CNBC last week.
“Employees now expect leaders at work to meet all of their personal needs which have become more complex and sensitive over the past few years,” Duffy added. “Employees want a personalized experience, and leaders [must] adapt to that. [Authenticity, empathy and adaptability] may have been important for leadership in the past, but they are no longer negotiable today.”
It is unclear whether or not the email that Plenty-Artichoke7924’s colleague received came during the pandemic. However, she still criticized her colleague’s former employer for his insensitivity.
“I wanted to send this before you arrived so you could digest it,” the email began. “He [co-worker’s ex-boyfriend] was part of your life, but it is NOT your whole life. We need you here and present at the bakery.”
The email then asked the colleague to “fake it until [she makes] it” and reminded her that their small workplace can feel “oppressive” with someone “moping around”.
“You know, we’re a little woo woo here, and we figured all this sadness in the cakes isn’t something we want,” the email continued. “I highly recommend therapy to help you through things. You will be fine [and] you will survive, but it is unhealthy to embrace this helplessness and [think] that he ruined everything.”
While u/Plenty-Artichoke7924 thought the email was inappropriate, some Redditors thought the boss was right not to want his employee to be “negative” at work.
“I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. It was well written and told the truth. Nobody needs a whiner in a place of business,” u/tommyboy110 wrote.
“That seems pretty generous to me. Coming to work full of negativity rubs off on your co-workers. If you’re really so out of balance that you can’t keep your emotions in check so they don’t affect others, you need discharge and serious therapy,” said u/FlourisingBroccoli.
Others, however, thought the email was “rude” and insensitive.
“This is incredibly manipulative and rude,” u/Satans_Cheese_Whiz said.
“I understand that the letter is trying to pass [as] nice but to be honest I find it unprofessional,” u/AmiNToast added.
u/TheeFoolishKing said, “How insensitive and caring are you at the same time? Choose a path.”
Newsweek contacted u/Plenty-Artichoke7924 for comment.
More viral posts
On Monday, Redditors slammed a boss who threatened to fire his employee for refusing to work on his day off.
Last week, commentators debated whether or not an employer was right to ask their employee to bring a “funeral note” to work after the death of the employee’s grandfather.
And earlier this month, a worker said in a viral video that he was denied a promotion after telling his boss his father had cancer.
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