What’s wrong with ‘Boss’


An unfortunate event happen today. I was walking with a couple of colleagues for breakfast, and we crossed path with one of our other colleague. This other colleague experienced some health problems years back, but I maintained a good relationship with him (or so I thought).

Today however, that ‘good relationship’ has changed. Upon meeting him, I greeted him as usual and said “Good Morning boss”, while giving him a slight salutation gesture, as I do with all my colleagues.  The gesture also comes with a slight nod to show that I respect them as my colleague and friend.

Shockingly, he flipped! He turned back to me, and called me to approach him, and he started to hurl abuses at me and my parents. He was shaking of anger, and started saying very unkind words to me. Puzzled with his reaction, I quickly apologize. A few other colleagues came to him to calm him down including his wife. She said sorry to me, and asked me to leave so that her husband can calm down. I did just that because she obviously knows him better.

While I know this is not an isolated case involving him, I can’t help wonder what’s so disrespectful of calling one ‘boss’. My colleagues tell me that I caught him in a bad time, but still, I just can’t help to wonder. To be honest, at my work place, I call practically everyone ‘boss’ except the boss, and I do smile when I greet them. I think it’s not wrong.

Anyway, is there anyone out there can help explain what’s wrong with calling one ‘boss’? If one did call you ‘boss’, would you actually be offended? Do share…

For now, I think i’ll not be calling anyone at work ‘boss’.  Today’s experience was a ‘lil scary, even for me.


  1. Ey bro, I don’t like being called ‘boss’ either…when someone calls me that it makes me feel like he or she is being sarcastic. But that’s just me. Heheh

  2. You, like most of us would take the word ‘boss’ as very commonly used Malaysian way to greet people. There are some people who does get offended as they might find sarcasm for you to do that. Some people just don’t like being called boss and maybe he have had a rough night before with his wife? That’s my take on it.. 😛

  3. Hey..remember when we first meet i call you boss and you too greet me yes Boss.So the word BOSS make us become friend…Isn’t it true BOSS..

  4. I call anyone who asks me to do things for them, boss! men or women. all one nickname, boss! i thought ppl would like being called boss… no kah?

  5. Such an awkward situation huh..
    Sometimes there’s a ‘mocking’ sentiment in the word of ‘boss’.
    For example, why do you go and call everyone ‘boss’ and not calling you boss – ‘boss’?

  6. My boss also told me once not to call him boss cause to him boss implies ‘bossy’. I didnt see anything wrong with it either. if people call me boss i wud be happy. why not? But that colleague of yours melenting tanpa sebab is it? kesian. maybe he’s too ill?

    sabar bos sabar…

  7. oh man, i guess that must be not his day. i called my colleagues ‘boss’ too and never had encountered your experience today. that experience of yours does freak me out too. *goosebumps*

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