I have inadvertently started a cascade of retribution and have no idea what to do!

This morning, I came to work and said hey to my boss. We chatted a bit about the election returns (I didn’t see her yesterday) and everything seemed normal.

She got a phone call from her mother-in-law who is a staunch Republican. I said, “Oh no, is she upset about the election?” Boss says MIL didn’t say anything about the election. Here is the rest of the conversation:

Boss: She said she got an email that Obama doesn’t have a birth certificate. laugh I told her to check it out online, to go to factcheck.org or someplace.

Me: Snopes covered that one.

Boss: What?

Me: That rumor.

Boss: Well, obviously you listen to the same sources she does.

Me: People were saying it to my face…

Boss: I don’t care. Do you hear me? I don’t care! You go bringing that stuff in here and I don’t care to hear it. All of you are so fascinated by all of these rumors and spreading them around, well if you weren’t listening to Rush Limbaugh in the first place you wouldn’t have heard them. I didn’t hear them.

Me: I heard them when I was volunteering for the Obama campaign.

Boss: I don’t care! Do you hear me! I don’t care to hear about it at all! I don’t want to hear another thing about the election. It’s OVER.

Me: slinks away with no idea what the fuck just happened

I get to my office where coworker E in personnel was waiting. He said he had some paperwork and Boss yells out for coworker E to come to her office where she harangues him about an attendance bonus given to coworker T.

He explains his policy and that he’s been following it for five years and T qualifies. She yells at him and overrules him. Coworker T loses her bonus and coworker E gets reprimanded.

I have NO idea what the hell is going on other than she was in a good mood when I started talking to her and was violently angry when I left, and she seemed to be taking it out on coworkers E and T.

I have zero idea what in the hell to do now. I feel responsible for T losing her bonus and E getting yelled at but since I don’t know what caused it in the first place I don’t know if there’s a way to fix it. Obviously, whatever I was saying was the Wrong Thing.

The suckiest thing is that T needs the money and didn’t do anything wrong.

This is NOT normal for this office. Boss can be touchy and irrational, but this is weird.

Look closely at the colour of your Boss’ skin.

Obviously your boss misunderstood your “Snopes covered that one” comment - you assumed she knew what Snopes is, she did not and understood it as “Such and such a news source also reported that rumour”, i.e. as implying validation of the birth certificate smear.

Any chance you can apologize/explain about expressing yourself badly?

Reasonable guess, but no. She absolutely knows what Snopes is.

She’s a Democratic voter, if that wasn’t clear from my OP. (She did support Hillary in the primary, though.) She knows that I volunteered for the Obama campaign.

Oh, and now that I think about it, she and I were laughing about the birth certificate rumor a few weeks ago, so it’s not even that she had never heard it before.

That’s just weird. Totally irrational.

Can you wait until he calms down a bit and talk to him about it?

tdn I think he’s a woman.
Title should have been “I just accidentally a cascade of retribution. Is this bad?”

You’re right, and that’s how I originally wrote it.

Pronoun confusion ensued.

I this point, I think my coworkers just want me to shut the hell up, since they are the ones who are getting whammied by it!

I’m only half joking.

Any chance Boss thought you said “Snopes confirmed that one?” This is the only possible explanation I can think of…:confused:

Wow. I have to agree with tdn; that just seems like a totally irrational and out-of-the-blue burst of anger. Has this sort of thing happened with your boss before? How does her rationality and presence of mind impress you in ordinary circumstances? That kind of inexplicable mood swing seems to me to point at some kind of emotional problem or other mental imbalance, but I’m no expert.

Or maybe she was just having a really bad day, and some internal turmoil just bubbled to the surface during your conversation that caused her to lash out. In any case, there’s probably not a whole lot you can do about it, given that she’s your boss. But who knows, maybe she’ll bring it up later and apologize?

You have my sympathy, anyway. :frowning:

She’s very hard-headed and, frankly, arrogant, so she’s one of those people who is never wrong about anything.

But she doesn’t tend to do this sort of lashing out or to take it out on someone else. Granted, she can’t really do anything to me. She outranks me, but just barely. I’m not really “under” her.

After I wrote the OP, a couple of coworkers approached me about it. They all heard most of it because Boss was almost screaming and the whole office building is really small.

Everyone tried desperately to avoid her the rest of the day. I had people asking me, in very quiet tones, if they should mention various things to her. I told them to put off what they could.


I think she’s pissed that Hillary didn’t win and she was looking for any excuse to go off on you. When she didn’t find one she manufactured it.

It’s very unprofessional to allow that to color her judgment at work. I would hope that in a day or two, there will be some acknowledgment from her that you’re all back in her good graces, T gets the bonus, etc.

Meanwhile CYA and consider documenting.

I’d imagine that it’s unrelated to politics. She’s been trying to keep a cheery face and the mask cracked and now she’s having a hard time putting it back on.

Best guess would be that a relative died or she’s getting a divorce.