my boss yells for employees to come to her — over and over

A reader writes:

My boss yells for her employees to come to her. Is this weird?

We are a small team that works in an otherwise very traditional office environment. Our office is smallish (probably around 700 square feet) and each member of the staff works at standalone desks. Our boss, Jane, has her own office tucked in the back of our area. So while all the staff sit within talking distance to one another, we need to get up and walk to Jane’s office in order to speak with her.

Jane insists on yelling for us to come to her while she’s sitting at her desk. Oftentimes, she yells after one of us sends her an email and she’d rather talk it out than type out a reply. Or sometimes we made some kind of error and we’re about to be corrected and/or reprimanded. So the overall effect is quite nerve-wrecking because you never know what she wants. Although, you can probably tell it’ll be bad when she (very loudly) sighs and then call calls your name.

Not only is it an odd practice, it also just isn’t super productive. A couple of our employees are far enough away where they can hear her yelling but can’t make out what she is saying. So its sometimes sounds like this:


Sometimes she yells for people who have stepped away from their desks or who are listening to headphones (which is allowed in our office) and its just a dead air response. And some of our staff have the same first name and she consistently forgets to clarify who she is yelling for. On top of all this, our work is pretty detail-oriented and complex. There have been many instances where she has yelled for me to come to her office and then asked very detailed questions about a report I sent weeks or months ago. Even she admits that it is unrealistic for me to know specific details on command and knows I need my computer to retrieve my records.

There have been a couple situations where my colleagues have seemed visibly annoyed about this. Recently, Jane and Jon had this weird back and forth of yelling for a solid minute until Jon eventually gave in and went to her office, at which point they were both clearly flustered, annoyed, and not communicating well. And I’ve gotten frustrated too — particularly when she calls for me over and over and over again within a just an hour or two.

I do want to make clear that I have other issues with Jane’s management style and I’m aware that working for a toxic boss can affect your perception of what is “normal” office behavior. So I have to ask — is this weird? Or is this just a thing that managers get to do because they’re managers?

No, it’s weird. It sounds really disruptive and horrible.

It’s one thing if she was just occasionally calling out, “Cecil, could you come see me?” Occasionally. Like maybe twice a week. It’s still not ideal, but it’s nothing I’d give her grief over in a casual office.

But this sounds like it’s all the time. And not only that, it’s particularly disruptive when she does it — she’s not just calling out for someone to stop by, she’s having whole exchanges with them. And people are trying to focus on their work! It sounds jarring and rude.

And she should have realized that by now. It’s one thing to get into a back-and-forth with someone across the room once, before you realize what’s happening. But at this point, she should know it’s disruptive and she should have stopped doing it. The fact that she hasn’t feels abusive of her power — like she feels she can be rude and loud and disruptive because she’s the boss.

Would you and a few of your coworkers consider asking her to stop, pointing out that it’s jarring and disruptive, and that it’s especially disruptive when someone isn’t even at their desk or has headphones in or is on the phone (!)? It might be that if a few of you politely say, “Hey, could we do this differently?” and suggest another option like instant-messaging, she’d cut it out. Sometimes a direct request really does solve stuff like this, or at least will get the person to cut down on it.

About the part where she’s calling you into her office and surprising you with detailed questions about a report you sent weeks or months ago — that I’d try to let go. It’s not unreasonable that she doesn’t always recall how long it’s been since you worked on something, and as long as she’s not penalizing you for not having answers immediately ready to go, this one isn’t a big deal. Explain it’s been a few weeks so the answers aren’t in the top of your mind, get your computer, and don’t let that rattle you.

But the constant yelling out for people — that you can try to push back on.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 192 comments… read them below }

  1. the_scientist*

    My old boss used to do this to me….and she had a knack for picking *exactly* when I was in the washroom to yell for me. I could hear her, but refused to yell back while I was….indisposed….but then she would just keep yelling.

    No advice, just validation that this is extremely irritating and very disruptive.

      1. M*

        When I was in college, I did theater, and I was getting put into a corset when one of the teachers walked by the dressing rooms demanding a meeting right now. I said I’d be out in a few minutes and he said NO NOW.

        So i wrapped an arm around my chest and sat front and center in the meeting. He stammered that I could come back when I was ready and i said OH, NO, PROFESSOR. WHATS THIS MEETING ABOUT? MUST BE IMPORTANT.

        I’m not shy.

    1. Jadelyn*

      Wow, and I thought my former boss’s habit of texting me while I was in the bathroom was annoying.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        I’m assuming the boss knew you were in the bathroom? If I didn’t see someone was at their desk, I would not immediately assume they were in the bathroom. If it was something semi urgent, I would text/IM them figuring that the person I was trying to reach would get back to me when they were not on the toilet/lunch/meeting etc…

        1. Jadelyn*

          Most of the time it would happen after she came to my shared office to ask me something, at which point my officemates would let her know “hey, Jade just stepped out to go to the restroom, we can have her call you/come see you when she comes back” (bc we all just tended to announce where we were going when we walked out, whether it was lunch or a meeting or whatever) and she’d still text anyway. So at least a goodly proportion of the time yeah, she knew that’s where I was, and texted regardless.

    2. Eleanor in the Bad Place*

      Yessss, I also had a boss who did this. The difference for me was that my desk was the one separated from everyone else because I had the only front facing position. Constant yelling from the exec director every time she received an email from me. Or within 30 seconds of her sending me an email. Or she needed to ask me something, which 99% of the time could have been handled by email. I spent a good portion of my day on the phone with clients too and she would yell and yell until I finished my conversation no matter how many ways I tried to motion that I was on the phone – she could see me too. So, yeah, solidarity. My situation only changed when we moved into a new building and I was on a different floor.

    3. Klew*

      An old boss was waiting at the restroom door for a co-worker to come out. I guess he thought she was in there too long because he asked “What were you doing in there?” She answers “Baking a cake. What the heck do you think I was doing in there.”
      I had to quickly walk away so I wouldn’t just point at him and laugh.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      It’s definitely rude, but some people grew up in families with that dynamic and continue it into their marriages and work because… attention.

  2. caryatis*

    Your office needs an instant messaging program. That might address her need to hear from people immediately without disrupting the whole office.

      1. Danger: GUMPTION AHEAD*

        We have Slack. Hasn’t stopped the boss from doing the same thing as the LW’s. I feel the pain!

      2. Kat in VA*

        Even Skype Business has an IM thing called Lync (or used to be called Lync). Works great!

    1. Observer*

      They also happen to have PHONES. In a place this size, those phones generally can be used for inter-office communications as well.

      1. Amber T*

        Hell, even email. I routinely to log on to our IM system, and I’ll get the occasional email that just says “Can you swing by?” in the subject, with nothing else.

        1. Jadelyn*

          Same – my manager will message me on Skype, or just email with that kind of subject line and nothing in the body of the email. Our phones also have an intercom function and he’ll com me to just say “hey do you have a sec to come over here?” Once in a blue moon one of my team will yell across the hall to each other but it’s almost always a quick add-on to something we’d been talking about before someone walked back to their own office, it’s never a “hey come here” sort of thing.

      2. Airy*

        I wonder if they could retrain her using the phones. Boss yells JON and Jon picks up his phone and dials her office, has the rest of the conversation that way. The trick would be to get her to make the initial call on the phone too. And not just yell JON in his ear when he picks up.
        Or, of course, they try this and she lets it go to voicemail while still bawling JON, though you’d hope not.

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Yeah—this is how most of the folks in my office use our phones. Except for one coworker, who for some reason thinks it’s ok to yell across the hallway to his admin assistant. I think it’s degrading, rude, and obnoxious when he could just as easily phone her (that’s what the rest of us do) or get up and go to her desk.

        1. RUKiddingMe*

          I have a strict no yelling policy, at work and home. I grew up being yelled at, almost always negatively and have lifelong PTSD (diagnosed) from it.

          I’m pretty good these days at telling someone, first time “you aren’t allowed to yell/shout at me, etc.” but that took a long time. I had a boss many years ago who yelled at me over something or the other, and it was one of the first times I was able to do that. I said, “you aren’t allowed to yell at me.”

          I can’t remember what he said (yelled) in return but likely something along the lines of “you work for me therefore I own you…” I turned on my heel, literally, it was like from a movie scene), grabbed my stuff and walked out.

    2. straws*

      IF she uses it, sure. We’ve had multiple instant messaging systems in place over the years, and I still have people who prefer to walk over to my desk and interrupt what I’m doing for an immediate answer. It’s worth a shot, but no guarantee either.

        1. JustaTech*

          Ooh, get the boss a Fitbit, and tell her that the best way to get in all her steps is to walk to people’s desks!

    3. in a fog*

      This this this this thiiiiiiis.

      An old boss had the habit of just walking into our offices, each of which we shared with at least one other person, and saying, “Hi,” to get just one person’s attention. Without saying a name or anything. We got her onto Google Chat/Hangouts (easy because the organization’s email was Gmail) and it cut down those incidents by at least two-thirds.

    4. Triplestep*

      Something tells me that this manager is not open to suggestions. Furthermore, in many workplaces (such as my old one where my boss yelled out of her office) adding IM would be something the technology group would determine – not individual groups/users.

      1. Tangerina Warbleworth*

        Very true, so, you know… phones. This needs an ad campaign: “PHONES! Talk to a live person directly! Not just for movie viewing anymore!!”

      2. K*

        OP here – yes, I think you’ve accurately assessed that Jane is not great at taking suggestions. I mentioned in other comments that our institution does have an IM system but our department doesn’t use it (I’ve never heard any of my colleagues even mention it). I think I’ll put it out there and see how my team and then Jane respond.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Ask IT to set up your computers so IM starts automatically when the computer logs in.
          That made all the difference in the world for one long-ago reluctant co-worker.
          And if you know IT well, ask if someone could go desk to desk and put your names into each others’ favorites.
          Although it’s important to make sure Jane is told that the PC will say “Away” when someone’s working with hardcopy or helping a customer!

    5. CoveredInBees*

      I’ve worked in two offices where we had that, plus phones that would intercom, and emails. Bosses in both still insisted on yelling instead. With one, I hated working there enough that I got passive -aggressive and would just pick up my phone and call her. The other would get super annoyed that people couldn’t remember specific details of something that had just randomly popped into her head, no matter how long ago it was. Neither were particularly good bosses.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        So, if Alison’s advice doesn’t work, maybe this is a tactic the office can try – when the boss yells, the employee calls them?

        1. Traffic_Spiral*

          I like this. Just refuse to respond, but instead pick up the phone and be like “did you want to speak to me?”

    6. Blue*

      The thing that really gets me is how inefficient it is. She’s not getting what she wants/needs effectively, and everyone else has their productivity disrupted! If they push back as a group to request IMs or calls instead, I think it’s worth mentioning that aspect of it.

    7. K*

      OP here – yes, I agree. I think our institution has an instant messaging software available for download (I’ve seen other depts use it) but I have never heard any of my colleagues mention it. It may be something that they decided not to use long before I arrived. After reading these comments, I will try to raise the subject. At the same time, Jane has said she likes to speak to us in person because its just easier for her. Maybe I can suggest she us IM to call us to her but I don’t know if she’ll agree to that.

      1. Qwerty*

        Yes yes, good luck! IM definitely seems like the solution here – she still gets the immediacy she’s looking for but it’s less disruptive to the wrong people, and you’d still have all the details you need in front of you. I work in an open office and depending on the situation, I’ll still IM someone sitting a row or two down from me because it’s more efficient.

  3. Detective Amy Santiago*

    It’s a shame there isn’t an instant way to communicate with someone who is not right next to you. Someone should get on inventing that.

        1. Flash Bristow*

          ha! Thanks so much for the 5am-cant-sleep-in-pain lol. I really needed that.

          Don’t think the hubby, dog and cat appreciated my snorking, but heh, it was worth it!

          (I usually don’t get the jokes on here, so it’s even better!)

    1. March 13th B*tches*

      Here’s what you do:
      You: *picks up desk phone, dials Boss’ extension*
      Boss (confused) *picks up phone* :Mary?
      You: Hi boss! What can I do for you?

      (next time it happens, rinse and repeat)

  4. No Mercy Percy*

    Oooh, I would find this so annoying! Especially since I listen to headphones most of the time, and wouldn’t hear.

        1. Autumn anon*

          SAME (I wanted to say something before but I live in fear of derailing, which I have probably just done anyway)

        2. Anna*

          Thank you BOTH. I became curious because of this interaction, and I AM SOLD.
          My thesis work does not thank you, but my dreams do!
          [end brief derailment]

    1. K*

      OP here – Yes! There have been so many times that I’m listening to my headphones and I swear that I hear Jane calling me. So then I take them out and just wait to see if she does it again. We are otherwise a very quiet office so I enjoy listening to music while I work. But I do get paranoid.

  5. Rebecca*

    “No, it’s weird. It sounds really disruptive and horrible.”

    Yes, it truly is!! I worked for a “Jane”. It was awful. All that yelling all the time, hour after hour, day after day, OMG it went on for years! Politely asking her to please use the phone or IM was pointless, as “she was the boss and if she wanted to do it that way she would.” And, for even more joy, she loved having meetings on speakerphone at top volume, so we could all hear both sides of the conversations. We begged her to close her door, she wouldn’t do it, and got indignant that we would even ask this.

    “Jane” is no longer here. It’s so calm and peaceful now, and more than one person has remarked about how much less stressful it is now. Good riddance.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      In case that scares the OP off from asking her own manager about reining this in, I want to reiterate that it’s a very reasonable request to make! Your manager was an ass, which is why she responded that way — but OP, this should not deter you from asking yourself.

      1. Rebecca*

        Totally agreed! She was an ass, was very rude, and a terrible manager, and why she is no longer working here. We were reasonable, we asked, she continued, but is no longer managing anyone, which is a relief to more than one person, assuredly.

      2. K*

        OP here – Thanks again for providing your response to my query and for the great advice. I do worry that my manager may react as Rebecca described in her comment (just based on her overall behavior). But, now that I feel more justified in my frustrations, I think initiating this conversation may be worth a shot.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          She’s resistant to change? I’m doubling down on my comment elsewhere in this chain that you make a friend in IT and ask if they can have it automatically installed on all your computers at once.

        2. Frankie*

          If she’s not responsive to suggestions, I like the idea mentioned upthread of just calling her every time she yells for you until she picks up. If she won’t do it, it could be an entertaining game of chicken or something.

          Or maybe every time she yells, email her with the subject line “need something?” and just wait on it. And if she keeps screaming, go over to her desk and say “sent you an email” and just go back to your desk. It’s passive aggressive but I feel like at this point the only thing you can do is stop rewarding her by giving her what she needs when she acts like this.

  6. Classic Rando*

    This reminds me of an old… video (???) about D&D, in which one player keeps interrupting the session by yelling things from the kitchen. All I heard in my head while reading this was, “Can I have a Mountain Dew!?” And, “If there are girls there, I want to DO them!”

    So… maybe find a way to laugh at it while you polish up that resume? That’s the only way I think I’d get through it.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Omfg that classic treasure. I still shout those lines at my best friend when I’m in her kitchen.

    2. Keyboard Cowboy*

      It’s called “An 8-Bit Reenactment of Dungeons and Dragons” and it is comedy gold.



      1. starsaphire*

        In the fridge, duh! :)

        The sketch was called Dungeons and Dragons, and it’s by the Dead Alewives.

    3. Jadelyn*

      Wasn’t that the same skit that gave us “I attack the darkness!”?

      (Gods, I can hear that whiny “I wanna DOOO them!” in my head now. Some things never leave you.)

      1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        “I want to cast Magic Missile.”

        I love that skit!

  7. Mouse*

    My boss does this all the time, but unfortunately I feel like it’s a little different because he’s the CEO and I’m his assistant. His office is just far away enough that he has to yell for me to hear him. We have an IM system, but he chooses not to use it. I accept that this is just part of how he works and it usually doesn’t bother me……but sometimes I do feel a little like a puppy who comes running when her name is called. Not ideal.

    1. valentine*

      You can absolutely speak to him about it.

      This drives me up the wall because it’s a jerkfaced-parent power display. I suppose it may be possible to live peacefully while yelling through walls and doors, but I can’t and it doesn’t belong in the workplace.

  8. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Wtffff this isn’t okay. Just respond to the email with “we need to discuss this” or get an IM system!

    Also I’m kind of shocked nobody responds to her wailing when someone is out of their desk. If it were occasional it makes some sense and it also makes sense when she’s hollering “Jon?!” and Jon is in the bathroom that someone says “he’s away from his desk!” so she shuts up and knows he’s not just ignoring her.

    That reminds me of a parent shouting at the kids or spouse across the house to “come here and be prepared to be lectured”. Yikes. No thanks.

    1. Zephy*

      I’m imagining a parent saying to their child “come here and prepare to be lectured” with the same intonation as a stereotypical pirate saying “heave to and prepare to be boarded.”

      1. valentine*

        That’s it, Zephyr. Or “Fetch me this thing in this room I called you into for this express purpose.”

        Any yelling the employees do reinforces Yellen’s appalling behavior and I would expect her to yell a message for the person who’s away from their desk.

    2. Anonny*

      I’m thinking these kinds of bosses read “Management Tips From That Teacher You All Utterly Loathed At School.”

      You know the one. That one. The one who no-one actually respected and anyone who did well in their classes succeeded in spite of them rather than because of them.

    3. K*

      OP here – so when I first started in this job a couple years ago, I thought it was crazy how no one yelled back to say “He’s away from his desk!” But since no one else was doing it, I didn’t either. Plus, it isn’t really in my nature to yell. After working here awhile, I realized that not responding to her calling someone else is its own kind of sanctification. A rare chance to not play into her BS.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        When she bellows for someone who’s not there would you call her and say “He’s not there”?
        Bonus if your system lets you transfer her to the missing person’s voicemail.

  9. Zona the Great*

    Oh I would definitely be the person who gets fed up and shouts, “knock it OFFFFF!” from a random corner of the office.

  10. government worker*

    OP, your boss sucks. Do you and your coworkers have extensions she could dial?

    1. K*

      OP here – yes, we do! But I’ve literally never seen anyone use them for this reason. I think Jane tries to keep her phone line free in case an important call comes in, to be honest.

      1. Elsie*

        Well, if Jane yells out a name, that means it’s about something important! Whenever she yells, call her extension, and in a hushed voice ask “Did you want to talk to me?” When questioned just tell her you rather talk on the phone because, a. You’re busy and can’t leave your work station, b. You don’t want to disrupt others, c. It’s disrespectful to be yelling across a room to another adult. Do this every time.

  11. Dot*

    Do you work for my boss? She does the exact same thing and rarely bothers to indicate who she’s actually talking to to boot so everyone has to stop and work out what she wants. It drives me up the d-mn wall.

    Talking to her about it did nothing. Bringing it up as a group did nothing. I started putting headphones in which curbed it a bit but not enough. I don’t have much advice but you have my sympathy.

  12. Zephy*

    Blood, flood, or fire are basically the only reasons for a grown adult human being to shout at other grown adult human beings in an office environment. Do you all not have phones? Discord, Slack, Skype, GroupMe, Google Hangouts? Is there anyone above Jane you could talk to about this, OP? If not, I hope you find something better soon.

  13. Cerridwen*

    OMG. I would start not answering her out loud, but pick up the phone, dial her extension and use it to answer her. That’s just absurd. Maybe if you all as a group started doing it, she’d get the hint.

    1. Chrysanthemum's The Word*

      I do this with my old yeller of a boss…and while it minimizes me actually having to get up to go to her it doesn’t stop the shouting. Often she just randomly shouts out questions and I’m not sure if she’s talking to me or not.

      I’m in a my own office down a short hallway, so she has to shout pretty loud. I think because there are only three of us in a small-ish area that is closed off from the rest of the org. she feels it’s OK. When we worked in a different area of the building with more people around it didn’t happen.

      1. Zephy*

        My old boss wasn’t a yeller, but she loved to talk to me without letting me know she was talking to me. She’d be talking to herself, then switch to addressing me or ask me a question without changing her intonation or volume. Or she’d be on the phone with someone else and delegate a task to me without saying so (e.g., “Sure thing, I can get another shipment of flangdanglers to you by Wednesday.” = I’m supposed to get the flangdanglers and figure out how to get them to the client.) The way our workstations were set up, I could hear her just fine, but I had my back to her and was focusing on something else (i.e., the rest of my job), so I wasn’t hanging on her every word just in case some of them were directed at me. Then she’d get a little annoyed at having to repeat herself, once she deigned to actually call me by my name and get my attention.

  14. EPLawyer*

    Ugh, detail oriented work so the Boss constantly interrupts. I wonder how many mistakes are made because your concentration was disrupted by the constant YELLING.

  15. Kella*

    Ugh I would HAAAATE this. It must be terrible for everyone’s concentration to be regularly interrupted by shouting, regardless whether it’s addressed to them or not.

    There’s also a thing in psychology where *how* you use your body affects how you feel. Even if you are shouting just because you need to be heard, by continuing to have a conversation while shouting, both parties are more likely to feel annoyed and aggressive about the topic, no matter how mundane. And then throw in the fact that you can’t guarantee that your words will be heard clearly because of the distance, that increases the likelihood of being misunderstood, which can escalate things further. This sounds like a great way to ensure the lowest quality of communication and the most frustration possible.

    If talking to her as a group doesn’t work, I’d be very tempted to come to an agreement as a team to stop responding to her shouting. Maybe everyone works with headphones now or suddenly has selected hearing. No matter how much she shouts, you don’t respond. If she storms up and says “why didn’t you respond?” you say politely, “oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. I was concentrating. The best way to get me to respond quickly is x.” It would be really annoying to ignore her shouting during the learning curve, but it might force her to stop if her go-to tool never works.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s also not physically good for your body along with the psychological effects. Shouting and aggression puts stress on a person. Blood pressure rises and hearts race, if anyone is predisposed to heart issues it’s not a healthy environment to be locked up.

    2. K*

      OP here – thank you for explaining some of the psychology here! That really helps explain why these conversations really seem to go off the rails before they even begin.

  16. Let's Get Some Shoes*

    I had a boss for years who would do that, it drove us all bananas. Finally we all resorted to “I’m sorry, i can’t hear you, can you call me?” and just repeated that ad nauseum until she finally got the idea she wasn’t going to win this war and learned to call us on the phone instead.

    Because she was always asking questions that required us to be at our own desks to find the information she was looking for, just going into her office at the first bellow of our name didn’t work.

      1. Let's Get Some Shoes*

        That is less…aggressive than our tactic.

        We were burnt out and knew who really held the power (don’t screw with paralegals…)

        1. Lily Rowan*

          Heh — I have been in too many situations where I absolutely cannot change the other person’s behavior, so am always trying to think of how I can change mine to get the end result I want.

          1. Let's Get Some Shoes*

            That’s very mature and a good instinct.

            I lack both of those things, so I just finally went out and got a job that pays better where no one is a bitch eating my crackers.

  17. Gravitas Well*

    Mr. Tudball: “Can you come in here plz Mrs A-Wiggins”

    Mrs. A-Wiggins: (Distractedly) “What?”… and on and on…

  18. Linda Evangelista*

    I had a colleague who did this. They were higher up in the hierarchy, but they were no one’s boss, really (small office), and I decided to ignore them. They stopped doing it to me. :)

    This was also a pretty toxic environment so I wouldn’t recommend my actions lol

  19. Narise*

    There was an episode of West Wing where Josh yelled for Donna but she was gone. He had a new assistant and he yelled for her and waited-nothing. Then finally the phone rang. ‘I don’t like being yelled at.’

    Can you share your concerns with her in a one on one? Do you have company survey’s that you could add comments to? If you try discussing it and she shuts it down I guess the next stop is HR but I understand if you don’t want to involve them. My guess is that your manager had someone model this behavior and adopted it without seeing the issue with it.

  20. CaliCali*

    This sounds atrocious, but I also don’t hold out much hope that it’ll stop. I worked for a boss that worked from home full-time, and she’d basically do what your boss is doing here, except over Gchat. It would go

    you there
    calling now

    at which point she would launch into whatever tirade she had. So part of it is absolutely the noise disruption, but a big part of it is also the power play. And the added benefit, to her, is that she also makes it so your coworkers know that she’s asserting dominance by pointing out screwups.

  21. ThinMint*

    I wonder OP, what is her communication style over email when she does use it? Is she an ok communicator outside of these interactions? It sounds like not based on your letter, but still curious.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This reminds me of the calls I get in response to emails. The one the other day finally pinged why some people call instead of email back…they must be painfully slow typists. The lady said I quote “you spent so much time sending the email and I thought it’s only right to call you to confirm you’re right, I’m sorry spent time typing that.”

      And I’m over here all “I type over 100 wpm and been raised with texting/email…it took me more time to pick up my phone and have this 3minute interaction than type a page long email!”

      So I wonder if she’s just not good or doesn’t feel right responding to emails unless she has to.

      Still no reason to shout of course. So I too wonder about her email communication and views upon its place in inner office workings.

      1. Jadelyn*

        Man oh man, this so hard. It really doesn’t take me more than about 20 seconds to send the average email because, like you, I type 100+ WPM so written communication is faster for me than talking.

        (Literally as I was typing this one of my coworkers, who ALWAYS calls instead of emailing, called me just to tell me she got a request, give me 5 minutes of unnecessary backstory on it, and tell me she was going to forward it to me. Like…you couldn’t have just forwarded it to begin with? Saved us both the 5-minute call?)

        1. valentine*

          you couldn’t have just forwarded it to begin with? Saved us both the 5-minute call?
          Ask her to do this.

          1. Jadelyn*

            I’ve tried. It doesn’t seem to help. I’ve just acknowledged that she’s going to call, it’s faster to pick up and lose the 5 minutes than not answer and have her coming over to talk, which will then take 10 minutes instead of 5.

            (The irony was that this coworker has a habit of reading her inbox from oldest-to-newest and replying to old threads without checking to see if someone else already took care of it, and this was one of those. So the time was 100% a waste since I ended up not needing to do anything with the email anyway…)

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Ah that sounds like someone who needs to over-communicate there and cannot do so well in writing *sobs*

          We have sales reps who do that. It’s bizarre and you can see how outdated their skills are.

        3. Pomona Sprout*

          You know, some people just like to talk…and talk and talk and… Yeah, I don’t really get it myself, but I’m a grade A introvert, so maybe it’s an introvert/extrovert thing, at least in part. In any case, I can see how someone who really gets a charge out of interacting with people might find it highly enjoyable to pick up the phone and regale someone with a looong story and regard dashing off a quick email as a boring chore. And it might not occur to such a person that the reverse could be true for others.

          I’m just thinking out loud here, but the more I do, the more I think your coworker sounds like one of the people I just described. And dealing with her sounds like a major pita to me, so you have my condolences.

          1. Jadelyn*

            You know, that…sounds super accurate, knowing her. She’s always scolding people about using email too much, she has a “just pick up the phone and talk to them!” sort of mentality. She’s very much a People Person, and I am an introverted goblin hiding in my corner playing with spreadsheets, so I think it’s exactly what you described, lol.

  22. lyndz*

    I feel like the question could easily have been sent by one of my teammates. Our boss does this as well, and I think the worst part is that she knows it’s terrible and we all hate it. Last New Year’s she made it her resolution to yell less and use email, phone, IM or….get up and come talk to us, but that unfortunately did not stick. Our current problem is that she’s aware that it’s disruptive but just can’t seem to change the behavior. I have tried responding to her yelling by sending back an IM with the answer but that feels manipulative so I usually find myself just getting up and walking over to her office each time she does it. For me, the disruption is the most painful, our team (unfortunately) breathes a collective sigh of relief each time she’s out of the office — we’re so productive it’s a painful comparison. All this to say, I’m with you, you’re not the only one, and I agree it’s terrible!

    1. Observer*

      Firstly, I don’t buy that she “can’t” change her behavior.

      Also, what is wrong with being “manipulative” in this context? I don’t think that sending an IM with the answer IS manipulative, but if it is, who cares? You’re not trying to get her to do something that is wrong, immoral, illegal, unfairly beneficial to you or any other negative connotation. All you are trying to “manipulate” her into doing is to be less disruptive and demeaning to her staff.

    2. Samwise*

      It’s not manipulative to respond w IM every time she yells. Your boss can change the behavior if she wants to. She is choosing to behave that way or rather, choosing not to change.

      I’d suggest that your entire team should respond with IMs when she yells. Every time.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      By responding in general you’re rewarding her bad behavior and that’s why she’s not changing her ways. She’s in your head and that’s why you feel bad and like you’re the “bad guy” and “manipulative”! You’re the one who’s being yelled at, you don’t have to take responsibility for her rude choices.

    4. MatKnifeNinja*

      My current boss does this. I work in an office of less than 10 people.

      Thought in head–>HEY MATKNIFE COME HERE!

      My father screamed all the time, so I’m immune to it.

      I finally asked him WTF about the hollering. (We’ve known each other for 40 years outside of work)

      His reason is his severe ADHD, and he process thoughts better by talking out loud. He HATES emails/texts/chats and phone calls. For him, typing things out that are small questions drive him up the wall. It derails him.

      He is totally out with his ADHD, and you gotta take the rough with the smooth. There are other aspects of him that are terrific, so I just deal. It also helps I come from a family of screamers/hollers so I don’t take this personally.

      The reason I type this out at all, is this hollering may not be something your boss wants to deal with. Mine owns the company, so I’m basically hosed. I worked for a professor who hollered when he came hunting for people in the lab. He also sang opera and could really project his voice.

      I didn’t grow up around gentle quiet people, though I don’t scream. If your boss is like my two who refused to change their MO, you might need to start the job hunt.

      Mine hollered but didn’t not nit pick or character assassinate. Good luck. Does this boss have any redeeming traits?

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Wow. He can’t use a phone because of his ADHD? That seems like a copout to me — I’m adult-diagnosed ADD, I know others with same, and we’re all trained to use phone, email, and IM. If I’m feeling too bouncy for words I walk down to a co-worker’s office.

    5. Not A Manager*

      When she yells for you, she is manipulating you into getting up and coming into her office. If you IM back, you are not manipulating her into not yelling, you are simply refusing to be pulled into this ridiculousness.

      1. lyndz*

        Appreciate the feedback all! In re-reading my post I’m realizing that I probably meant passive-aggressive when I said manipulative, but either way I think the feedback would likely still be the same and totally valid. Agreed that she is choosing not to change her behavior, not that she can’t, and that on some level my whole team is getting sucked into the vortex.

  23. Goya de la Mancha*

    We’re guilty…our entire office yells! We’re a small office (5 people), in a non-open floor plan, and fairly laid back. Our yells are generally immediate needs though, as in, “I have a customer on hold and need to know what you want to do for X situation”. Things like that generally wouldn’t work well to wait to until Barnaby reads his emails. If we have something of less pressing/in depth concern, we’ll get up and talk to the person or email.

    1. RandomU...*

      I worked in an office like this. Our office was small, on long hallway with offices on either side (1-2 people per office).

      There were a lot of hallway conversations, so it was common to yell out if you had something to contribute. Then there was the constant “Hey Wakeen, whenever you get a chance can you stop in” or as you’d see someone walk by “Fergus, mind stopping in for a min?” Our offices aren’t especially soundproofed either, so it wasn’t uncommon for me to hear my boss yell out “Yo…RandomU… blah blah blah”

      I think in small offices, yelling for someone can be more relaxed than calling or emailing. I would feel really weird and overly formal doing that in a small office. That being said, if it’s only the boss doing it and they are doing it constantly throughout the day, then I can see that being really grating and obnoxious.

    2. TardyTardis*

      This is why God invented Slack, though (yay for Slack, and being able to find out what forms to use with an Archer HSA when the tax software won’t tell you…).

  24. LQ*

    Obviously chat, slack, IM, skype, email, phone, none of these are sufficient.
    I vote your office learn how to make paper airplanes and use those to communicate.

    (That aside, just getting up and going over every single time is certainly an option and not hearing anything until you get to her door.)

      1. LQ*

        A series of tin cans with string lined up, one with each persons name connected to the one on that person’s desk.

  25. Kwazy Kupcake*

    I work with a shouter – he’s a supervisor who isn’t in my supervisory chain, but we work together pretty closely. On Friday I was out of the building for nine (9!!) minutes at lunchtime, getting a cup of coffee, and he had shouted for me from his office so much that people coming off the elevator from our floor were warning me when I got back into the lobby. It’s always minor things that he needs, like Excel tips or whatever, sometimes several times in an hour. I’m pretty used to it, but it annoys the heck out of everyone around us and I would like to be able to step away for nine minutes here or there.

    1. TardyTardis*

      Shout at him, “I’m heading for the can, see you in ten!” Hey, it’s only fair…

  26. adk*

    Wow. No. I won’t even do this at home. My mom is a shouter. She’s also going deaf so it’s especially helpful when she attempts to have conversations from across rooms or a floor away. She’ll shout for me, start a conversation, and I won’t respond in any way until I finish whatever I’m doing, get up from where I’m sitting, and walk to the room where she’s shouting. Or, when I’m feeling particularly passive-aggressive and others are in the room with me, I’ll respond to her at a normal volume for if she was in the room with me. She’ll find me, ask why I didn’t respond, and I’ll tell her I did, she just didn’t hear me.

    My former boss will call people on the phone and summon them to his office to ask a question because he’s too lazy to get up himself, but the phone apparently isn’t good enough. Once, when I saw that he did this to a co-worker, I walked into his office and told him that I would not participate in being summoned by phone. My cubicle was right outside his office, he would walk over and ask me to come meet with him if it needed to be secret-ish. He joked that I’m so close to his office that he could just shout for me (instead of calling on the phone), and I told him that was so much worse that I’d definitely never go if he shouted for me.

    Don’t know if it would work for everyone, but I’m a high performer who advertises my bad attitude, so it works for me. I’m worth standing up and walking 8 steps to keep me happy.

    1. BookishMiss*

      This boss reminds me of my grandmother, honestly. When gma needed one of her kids, she’d just yell “WakeenKarenJoeBob” all in one thread, and specify which one she wanted with “you.”
      Hilarious in family anecdotes. Awful at work.

  27. Keyboarding Queen*

    I didn’t work directly with him, but we had a guy that would summon people to his office with a bull horn. Indoors. Now yes, he came from a construction background and I can see how if you are on a construction site this would totally make sense. But his team worked in an office.

  28. Triplestep*

    OP, here’s how I solved this problem in my former job when I was brand new – too new to really push back: She would bellow, and I would say nothing – I would go to her door and stand there. She’d talk, I’d respond, a conversation would happen.

    Once it was clear to her was not going to join in the bellowing, I told her the following, which is true: In my childhood home, yelling from room to room was strictly prohibited, and that’s the way I’ve raised my own kids. If I have to yell for one of them – even though I try to avoid it – they know the only appropriate response is “coming!” and then to appear. I told her that yelling from room to room really grated on me due to the way I was raised, and she should know that if she yelled, I’d be getting up to come talk to her.

    My boss was a nightmare, but she was insecure and she cared what people thought about her. Probably the only good thing I can say about her is that she stopped bellowing. I think it might have to do with the fact that she felt a family having rules around it must meant that it was a “low brow” thing to do and she didn’t want to be thought of that way. I didn’t care as long as it stopped, which it did.

    Good luck!

    1. TootsNYC*


      I still remember the time I turned to one of my kids and said, “Would you go ask your sister if she can do X?” and he turned around and yelled the question to her.

      I was like, “If I wanted yelling in the house, I’d have done it myself; I’m louder than you. I told you go ask for a reason!”

      I do sort of think yelling from room to room is low-brow. There are times that low-brow is kind of fun, but…

      1. Zephy*

        My boyfriend’s family are house-yellers. His mom, mostly. She’ll try to have an entire conversation with you from not just the next room, but the next floor.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          My mom tries to talk from the other room, it’s not shouting just raised voices because it’s a small house/thin walls etc. My dad and I have long since been responding with “We cannot hear you if you’re not in the same room as we are.” and half the time she swears she’s not even talking to us, lol okay, mom.

          Thankfully after we all got cellphones, we’d just text each other from inside the house. It’s silly but so blissful. My mom has called me from the other room before, see even she can figure it out, Jane!

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I’ve had the same conversation with my kids about how, if I’d wanted yelling in the house, I’d have done it myself; I also remember my mom saying the same thing to us when we were kids. Maybe the boss came from a family of house-yellers, like Howard Walowitz and his mom, so she thinks that’s how people act.

    2. Kelly L.*

      I’ve kind of ended up doing something similar–I’ll go “I can’t really hear you from there, I’m coming over!” (even if it’s not, strictly speaking, true) and then appear. Then they feel kind of bad for making me get up!

    3. K*

      OP here – I am so glad you found a good way to speak about this! In my scenario. I do not yell back to Jane and instead always walk to her office. But she has never really indicated that she feels bad for calling me over and over again for one conversation (there is a lot of “oh and one more thing…” or “come back, this doesn’t make sense” calls after I head back to my desk). But perhaps the most frustrating thing is that, when I enter her office, she doesn’t even look up to acknowledge me. She just starts talking while still staring at her desktop, frequently typing out responses to other emails while I answer her question. We never have her full attention, even after she has demanded ours.

      1. Zephy*

        Wow, that’s amazingly rude of your boss, and also definitely a mark in favor of this being a power-play thing for her.

  29. PrettySticks*

    I so feel you, OP! This is very similar to my boss. Space is at a premium at my job, so we’re set up a little weirdly. My boss and I have offices on opposite sides of a very small outer office, about 100 sq ft. In that outer office are our assistant, and then two coworkers from a different department (their boss’s office is close by but separate). My boss’s favorite thing is to call me for something, hang up, want to tell me something additional, and instead of calling back, yelling the additional thought from her office to mine. So it’s : (on phone) “Can you send me Document A?” *hangs up* (a second later, bellowing) “OH AND I’LL NEED DOCUMENT B TOO.” I have no clue why she’ll call once, but not twice.

    She’ll also start giving a long list of instructions to our assistant, until she’ll finally take a breath so that someone – usually one of the folks from the other department – can tell her the assistant is not actually at her desk. In the several times that there have been changeovers in the positions for the other department, she does suddenly become aware of how the yelling will look to a new person, and she makes a point of telling me and the assistant that we need to try to yell to each other less, and be considerate of the other department. Which lasts… never.

    In my case though it’s not anger, it’s just lack of logic, which is something?

  30. Neosmom*

    Wow, OP. This sounds something like a boss I worked for (I could only take it for 10 weeks). This CEO would (sometimes very quietly, sometimes very loudly) say the name of the person she wanted to see and expected me to fetch that person, walk them to her office, have them stand back, and announce them at her door. Part of a very toxic atmosphere I was so happy to leave – with no other work lined up.

  31. Veruca*

    I had a boss that had noise-making toys in his office and used that as a way to summon people to come to his office. One of my colleagues’ summons was a toy that moo’ed when you turned it over. It was so many levels of not ok. It was not a casual office–he wore an ascot most days. That ascot should have been my first clue….

    All the same, the yelling the OP describes might have bothered me more. *might*

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      No, this is actually worse. At least with the yelling, they usually have to specify a person. The noise-toys are literally more depersonalizing and therefore more demeaning.

      1. TardyTardis*

        Granted, I adored my Grandma L’s salt and pepper shakers which were cows and which mooed when used, but at work? Really? (shakes head).

  32. sara*

    Could you “lose your voice” for a bit, and try replying to her yelling via the main instant communication method used in your office (phone, email, slack, etc.)? To see how she reacts?

  33. I Speak for the Trees*

    I had a boss who did this near constantly, and it was SUPER embarrassing when I was on the phone. Clients would make jokes like, “Oooooh, busted! Did you forget to clean your bedroom and you’re gonna get grounded?” Ironically, she wasn’t angry, just LOUD. We finally got Instant Messaging, but it only happened because SHE was annoyed when people interrupted HER in her office.

  34. TootsNYC*

    re: the “asking you detailed questions that you need to back to your computer to get the answers to”

    One thing you could start doing is every time she yells for you, you stop in the doorway of her office and say, “Do I need to get any information to bring with me?”

    I kind of have this fantasy of every time she yells someone’s name, you ALL stand up and turn around to look at her, and someone says, “Did you want one of us?” Rotate that duty by day of week or something.
    Then when she says who, you say, “Oh,” and sit down, whoever it is says, “Do I need to bring anything with me? What will the subject be?”

  35. Rez123*

    Ugh. My bosses yell to each other across the hall to exchange work info. It’s very annoying.

  36. nnn*

    My entertaining and thoroughly unprofessional idea is to yell back, loudly enough that Jane can hear *that* you’re answering, but too quietly for her to hear *what* you’re saying.

    And the content of your yelling back should not be the answer to her question.


  37. Environmental Compliance*

    My boss at my previous job did this. It was so incredibly annoying, especially when I’d be on the phone, she’d be yelling for me, then get snitty when I didn’t respond immediately (see: on the phone) and stomp over into my office irritated loudly at me…..still while I was on. the. phone. and demand answers. Lady, I’m busy doing my job. This is not a do-or-die answer. You can wait 5 flippin’ minutes until I’m not on the phone with a client.

    I actually ended up generally refusing to respond to yelling by the end of my time there, after requesting her to not yell constantly all the time (“it’s difficult to respond to clients on the phone”, “i can’t always hear what you are needing”, “often what you need is on my computer, which means I can’t get up to go answer you”, etc). However, at that point I was also job searching, and was making a point. Probably wasn’t the most professional way to do it, but I was so, so very sick of being yelled in the general direction of for completely inane non-job-related things (“EC, where’s my cell phone???”), and so, so incredibly sick of her lack of boundaries or tact in general (“EC, you’re anorexic, you need to eat more”)….I had pretty much given up at attempting to display more than a very basic, bland show of respect.

  38. MatKnifeNinja*

    My current boss does this. I work in an office of less than 10 people.

    Thought in head–>HEY MATKNIFE COME HERE!

    My father screamed all the time, so I’m immune to it.

    I finally asked him WTF about the hollering. (We’ve known each other for 40 years outside of work)

    His reason is his severe ADHD, and he process thoughts better by talking out loud. He HATES emails/texts/chats and phone calls. For him, typing things out that are small questions drive him up the wall. It derails him.

    He is totally out with his ADHD, and you gotta take the rough with the smooth. There are other aspects of him that are terrific, so I just deal. It also helps I come from a family of screamers/hollers so I don’t take this personally.

    The reason I type this out at all, is this hollering may not be something your boss wants to deal with. Mine owns the company, so I’m basically hosed. I worked for a professor who hollered when he came hunting for people in the lab. He also sang opera and could really project his voice.

    I didn’t grow up around gentle quiet people, though I don’t scream. If your boss is like my two who refused to change their MO, you might need to start the job hunt.

    Mine hollered but didn’t not nit pick or character assassinate. Good luck. Does this boss have any redeeming traits?

    1. Typhoid Mary*

      “His reason is his severe ADHD, and he process thoughts better by talking out loud….He is totally out with his ADHD, and you gotta take the rough with the smooth.”

      Wow, as a mental health professional, this is appalling. To see somebody excuse disrespectful behavior because being respectful “drives him up the wall” due to their ADHD not only stigmatizes mental illness, it abuses his power as boss and misrepresents actual, effective management strategies (hint: if your symptom management strategy includes “be rude to other people,” it is not an effective symptom management strategy).

      What about people in the office with PTSD? Having your limbic system over-respond to each and every holler will “drive you up the wall,” too. What about folks with ADHD who are distracted by constant shouting? Do they get the same consideration, or just the boss?

      Yelling is not a “style.” Yelling is not acceptable in an office run by and for adults. Yes, some of us may have been raised by it; that fact is pretty much irrelevant in a professional setting.

  39. MissDisplaced*

    Eh… It’s something I can see happening on occasion, which might be kind if annoying in the moment but otherwise forgettable. But it sounds like this is all the ‘freakin time and that’s not right.

    I’m not sure you boss means anything bad by this behavior, because I’ve seen this attention getting dynamic in many families and spousal relationships. It may be how she was raised. Example: Howard and him mom on Big Bang Theory.

    1. K*

      OP here – totally agree that this would be okay every once in awhile and that the frequency is making it difficult.

      I think it also matters why a boss is yelling for you. Like – “hey X, I can’t find this file!” or “X, come here and look at this example!” But that’s not always what this is. Last week, Jane (from her desk) was yelling at a colleague of mine about some error and my colleague panicked, ran to Jane’s office and threw another colleague under the bus for the mistake. So then that person was called in and, having overheard the previous yelling, was already combative and began yelling in his own defense. It was just really a mishandled conversation that the rest of us shouldn’t have heard.

  40. Springtimeishere*

    This office needs to use internal calling phones!!my office is huge and we call each others extensions all the time to clarify information

  41. Free Meerkats*

    You say you have several with the same name. Maybe the Hortenses could coordinate and the next time Jane yells, “Hortense!”, they all get up and walk into her office. Then look confused. PRN. It won’t fix Jane, but everyone except her will get a smile and small feeling of rebellion out of it.

  42. MJ*

    Mishear everything she yells.

    Boss: Where’s the latest buying report?!
    OP: I don’t have any lemon butter.

    Boss: I need the ABC memo!!
    OP: I don’t have their menu. The shrimp is great though.

    What fun! And extra points for a topic of the day, like food.

  43. Flash Bristow*

    Oh goodness, I had similar. Was employed initially as a temp for data entry; was soon picked up (they realised I had a brain? Idk) and turned into PA for boss. But really this was a dogsbody job with a nice title.

    I got SO sick of being called.

    “FlashEEEEEEEE! FlashEEEEEEEE! Can you do X FlashEEEEEEEE?”

    I am not a dog. But even so, gimme a second to come, stop shouting commands like I’ll bark and roll over.

    Also, I’m hard of hearing and lipread to augment my hearing; although I’ll hear my name, I’m likely to mishear the rest. May be that’s something OP can work with? “Oh sorry I thought you said the BANANA files, not the LLAMA files! Next time can you wait til I can get close enough to talk?”

    Knowing how my calling boss was frustrating and entitled in other ways, and the fact OP said there are other issues with her boss, I give her ALL the sympathy. I got thru it by thinking “sure, keep shouting, I’ll stand here and take it. That’s 5 minutes you’ve yelled at me. You’re paying me £1 for that. Keep going, saves me having to actually work…”

  44. Lily*

    I had a flatmate like that and I have a mom who does the same. I generally refuse to react until they are near enough for a reasonable talk.

  45. Mockingdragon*

    uuuugh… MOM used to do this to me and my brothers, so that’s majorly coloring my perceptions here. There was a strict house rule that if you wanted mom’s attention, you got up and found her instead of yelling through the house. But when she wanted you, she would stay in her office and shout and expect you to go to her.

    All three of us independently told her that we thought the rule should go both ways, and she told us “It’s my house, I can do whatever I want.”

    That’s the only way I can read this behavior. It’s dominance behavior, it sets her up as more important than you, and it’s just all the worse that she tries to have actual conversations this way.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I didn’t see your comment before posting mine… scroll down one. I’m really glad you shared what you did because I’m reassured that my house rule is preventing the aggravation you grew up with. (It applies to all 3 of us.)

  46. Seeking Second Childhood*

    A couple of years ago my family moved from a tiny home to a larger one. I’m hard of hearing, and my family can hear me but I can’t hear them. I imposed a rule: “Bellower must come to bellowee.”
    I made sure my daughter knows that I hold myself to it. I will go to her instead of bellowing….unless she’s in deep kimchee, in which case I reserve the right to start bellowing WHILE walking to where she is.
    This may not work so well in an office where the manager is the bellower — but maybe you the co-workers could set up a situation where you suggest & model better behavior. Very theatrical but maybe effective –especially if inter-group bellowing starts to interrupt Jane.
    –Tom bellows for Jerry, and keeps repeating it until Jerry bellows back “I’m on the phone! It would be better for the customer if you would IM me.”
    –Jerry bellows for Tom when y’all KNOW that Tom is away from his desk so Elmer has to bellow back “He’s doing the POBox run for Jane. You should probably IM or email.”
    –I could keep going because this is more fun than what I will be doing after coffee break.
    Send us an update would you?

  47. I couldn't work for someone like this*

    My best friend had a boss like this at his first job out of college. His “Jane” would yell for various employees by name, like “Kevin?! KEVIN!” except she was in an office in a whole different room. There was an entire HALLWAY between where her office was, and where he and his colleagues sat. When she did that, you were expected to get up and go to her office.

    It was usually followed up by different yelling and oftentimes she was incorrectly yelling, such as
    “What is the company procedure when X happens?”
    “Well, we do Y, we’ve always done Y, it’s stated we do Y in the employee manual.”
    “Wrong! When X happens, we do Z!!!”

    Luckily, my friend has since moved on from working with Jane. He did say that working with someone like her taught him a lot about horrible bosses and how to deal with them!

  48. Q*

    I used to work for a person like this. Many times a day she’d yell out my name from her office. I would say “be right there” but she’d just keep talking as if I was already at her desk. I tried telling her I couldn’t hear her from my cube and to wait until I actually got there but she’d just keep going. So then I would just have to say “sorry I didn’t catch that as I can’t hear you when I’m outside your door.” After too many times of this she finally started waiting for me.

  49. Audenc*

    For all those saying they should get instant messaging…my company uses both Skype AND Slack, and my boss still behaves this way (while also IMing us frequently). In fact, after reading this letter I’m actually wondering if one of my colleagues wrote in and changed the gender of the boss to anonymize it a bit.

  50. Not Rebee*

    OldBoss used to do this to an extent; however, we all sat in cubes and there were four of us seated in the aisle that led into her office (others were the next row over and could easily have heard) and she only ever tried to talk to those four of us that were close, and usually to the two managers that sat closest to her door. If someone was away from their desk we’d just yell back to her that they weren’t there and she would email or IM them instead. And for anyone outside the immediate area she’d IM them to come see her or call their desk phone. Same for if the person was wearing headphones and couldn’t hear her – we’d just say “headphones!” and the phone would ring a few seconds later. It was not a huge disruption, but this is probably because the distance was at most two cubicles.

  51. X*

    I had a boss who used to *scream* my name across our very small, very quiet (10 people) open office space to get my attention, often making people jump. I started replying by shouting his name back. It defused the tension everyone felt (they started laughing, which always threw him off). He got more and more annoyed each time I did it and finally stopped.

  52. KimberlyMc*

    I’ve had this happen where I am now, but on another team – I just stopped responding, and the yeller started coming to my desk to ask questions.

  53. Dramatic Squirrel*

    I had a boss that would yell for us. I got tired of it and answered him with a woof one day. He came to the door confused and I said if he was going to call me like a dog he was getting a woof in reply. Luckily it was a job that was hard to fire people from but he had a sense of humour about and (mostly) thereafter would instead phone me to ask me to see him.

  54. toxic job*

    This sounds so much like my old office, if you are indeed the person who took my job after I left…..sorry

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