My boss cried during our meeting on Friday. Inconsolably. It was disturbing.
I flew back to the UK for a couple of days of meetings last week, one of which was my fairly regular one-to-one with my boss. It was an early flight and, having missed the very same flight only three weeks before, I took extra precautions. Not only did I set my mobile phone to ring and my alarm clock (which is permanently fifteen minutes early), I also asked a friend to wake herself up and give me a call to make sure I was awake. Bless her. It's amazing the lengths people will go to to be my friend....ha ha.
Anyway, The meeting starts with my boss handing me a cheque in quite an extravagant manner. "This is for your hard work" she said. "Thanks very much" I replied. I'm always happy to be given a cheque.
"It's a small bonus" said she. "A bonus and a pay review in one meeting?" said I "what have I done to deserve this?".
"Pay review?" said the boss. "Remember last time, you said you'd have organised my pay rise for this meeting? I have an email from you confirming that you would". At which point she, rather unexpectedly, started crying.
To be honest, it was the last reaction I expected and it really took me by surprise. She's normally a hard talking, take-no-nonsense type of girl. "I'm so sorry" she said "I just thought I was doing something nice". By which time, she's struggling to catch her breath, let alone talk. I whisk her out of the back door and we go for a walk around the back of the building. I'm figuring that fresh air might do her some good. I'm not about to hug her and I think slapping her might not help my chances of a pay rise.
She calms down enough to tell me some stunning things that I didn't want to hear about her personal life, before promising that she won't ever cry again and making me swear to tell no-one. "Absolutely no-one" she says. I agree hastily.
I've never wanted to finish a meeting so quickly in my life. Unfortunately we'd only just started and so for the next two hours we discussed my results and any current projects with a constant sniffling and the occasional gasp for breath.
Just awful. Afterwards I felt like I'd been through the wringer twice - goodness only knows how she felt. She avoided my part of the building for the rest of the day.
And guess what? We never did discuss my pay rise.