Why are you making me come to Jesus?

Your Boss Wants to Come to Jesus

If your boss wants a come to Jesus, they won't be forgiving you for anything. Good day for PTO.

Don’t mistake my intro. This blog is not about religion. Rather, it’s about some funny phrases bosses use to “motivate” their employees. And by “funny,” I mean, really, really, awfully scary and not funny at all.

I thought about this today when a friend explained that his boss was “turning up the heat” in the office (the boss’ words, not his).  When I facetiously asked if it was cold in his office, he replied, “No. It basically means everyone is going to be heavily scrutinized and she is looking for you to screw up.”

Ouch, what a horrible way to work!  Essentially, this boss is setting the expectation that there will be screw-ups and there will be consequences – of the dire variety. While this is of course true of all work environments, why does the approach have to be so damn toxic? I mean, the language! So aggressive, so threatening, so warlike. If we were silver-back gorillas, war would have been declared already.

Can you feel the thump-thump of the war drums?

Unfortunately when war is declared through threatening language in an office space, it’s not a fair fight. The boss is in charge and he and she will win. Not only because they’re in charge, but because they’re also drawing up the territory and creating the rules of engagement. The only thing you, as an employee, can do is do your damnedest to stay under the radar. And guess what that means? You got it, a total lack of creativity and innovation. Why on earth would you go out on a limb if the heat is turned on? It will catch on fire and you will plunge to your death (or dismemberment)!

So what are some other things bosses say to hurt productivity and morale?

Let’s review a couple of these “fun” phrases that I have personally heard uttered, either to me or about other people.

  • I’m going to bring the hammer down.
  • He needs a real kick in the pants.
  • I’m turning up the heat.
  • It’s going to be my way or the highway.
  • I’m going to pull out the big guns.
  • She’ll never know what hit her.
  • And my personal favorite….”We’re going to have a come to Jesus.”

A “come to Jesus?” Really? Let’s take a moment to ask a few probing questions, Mr. Bossman.

Who is Jesus in the scenario? I guess since I’m coming to you, that means you are, indeed, playing the role of Jesus. So let’s start there.

Karen: Good morning. I understand you’d like to talk to me.

Jesus (remember, played by Bossman in khakis):  Yes, I want to talk to you about your performance. We need a little “come to Jesus.” (he puts up air quotes).

Karen: Oh, OK. Are you Jesus in this scenario?

Jesus: No, I’m not saying that I’m Jesus, I’m just using a phrase. It means I’m having some serious issues with your performance.

Karen: OK, so you’re not Jesus. So why do we need to have a come to Jesus?  HR says you shouldn’t ask me about my religious beliefs.

Jesus: I’m not asking you about your religious beliefs. It’s just a phrase. Like Jesus, I’m holding you accountable.

Karen: I thought you said you weren’t Jesus.

Jesus: Let’s just, for the moment, pretend I am Jesus. Your performance is substandard and it’s time to bring the hammer down.

Karen: Like Jesus did?

Jesus: What?

Karen: You said you want to me to come to Jesus and then have the hammer brought down. I’m confused. I don’t remember that part of the story.

Jesus: Stop it. You’re taking this too literal.  You have some accounting to do for your work. Forget the Jesus thing.

Karen: Forget Jesus? That’s a little harsh.

Jesus: I’m not telling you to forget Jesus. I’m telling you to stop pretending I’m Jesus.

Karen: I wasn’t pretending, you told me to come to Jesus in your office. I thought you were forgiving me for something. Now I’m really confused.

What does Bossman Jesus say next? You decide. I’ll work on part deux, especially with your suggestions. Calling all survivors out there — based on your experience with a “fun” boss, submit  the next line in this dialogue and I’ll put you in the story.

Submit to me karen (at) creativegunconsulting.com.

This entry was posted in Do Gooders, Dogs, Cats, Kids and Other Annoying Topics, Drink and Debauchery, General Musings, Management, Marketing and Strategy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Why are you making me come to Jesus?

  1. Kate Wicker says:

    Sooo, if your not Jesus, you must be Satan. Humph, that would explain like I feel like I am in hell 5 days a week. Good talk.

  2. Melinda says:

    Where to go with this…? Too many options. I may just ramble a bit as this reminds me of a boss who wanted to constantly “raise the bar” and would remind me that we had to “keep the revolution going”. Revolution…what?

    J: This is me showing how much I care about you and your career. You have so much potential.
    K: Potential? I’m doing everything you’re asking and then some.
    J:But you’re capable of so much more. I’m just raising the bar because I know you can clear it. I need to see you go that extra mile, so I know what you’re capable of. There are dozens of people who’d like to be in your shoes showing me what they can do.
    K: You said my last project was spectacular.

  3. Kate and Melinda, thanks for your comments. I got quite a few “offline” too. Seems that people do have a strong reaction to this topic.

    Melinda, I’ll take your dialogue and build my next post around it and got some great feedback from a motivation speaker.

  4. He doesn’t say anything – his head explodes.

    Karen, on the other hand, decides she’s learned enough on somebody else’s nickel (and temper) and launches her own really cool company. And treats people like, well, they want to be treated. It’s almost like divine intervention.

  5. http://www.actioncoach.com/susanthomson

    Susan, what a hilarious ending! Thanks for your input. Now, Karen must use her company to do more good than harm!!!! You’re the best.

  6. Melissa says:

    I know you asked for a sequel but (since I’m not really a rule follower) I think I’ll do the prequel — the best part if you ask me. And shame on you for leaving it out!
    J: Drafts outlook request for meeting with K. Sends on Friday for meeting on Monday with some kind of nebulous “touch base” subject. J does this on purpose so K has the WHOLE WEEKEND to think about what she possibly could’ve done wrong.

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