Dropping the Bomb: How to Give Your Boss the Bad News

I remember the time I had to walk into my boss’ office and tell her I’d set the printer on fire, and that it was flashing a message that read, “Ink Burning.”

Thankfully, it was only a ruse so the staff could sing her “Happy Birthday,” but the rather amazing part of the story was her reaction. She did nothing—other than ask me to leave her meeting. It wasn’t until I came back a second time in full-on (fake) panic mode that she finally came down to the break room to see the entire staff standing around a plate of cupcakes.

When I asked her why she hadn’t come down at first—I mean, a fire is pretty serious, right?—she said, “I figured one of two things would happen: Either you’d sort it out, or the smoke alarm would go off and we’d all have to evacuate. But until that happened, I intended to finish my meeting.” Meaning, she came down the second time because I had found something that actually merited her attention—the thought of me throwing a fit in the common area.

Learn from my experience: If you have bad news and actually need your boss’ attention, there are three things you should always take into consideration.

See the rest of my latest Daily Muse post here.