Worker Called Their Boss 'Dense' In Front Of The Entire Office & It Had A Very Unexpected Result

Sometimes speaking your mind is exactly what's needed at work.

worker who called out their boss for being dense Elnur / Canva Pro

There's probably not a person alive who hasn't had a fantasy in which they called out their boss in the kind of blunt terms that are grounds for dismissal in most workplaces. 

But straight talk is often exactly what's needed in certain situations, of course. Would our workplaces function better if we all said what we mean more often? Or would we just end up getting fired?

For one worker on Reddit, a moment when they simply could no longer hold their tongue had an immediately awkward but ultimately surprising impact that nobody, themself included, saw coming.


The worker called out their boss for being 'dense' during a companywide meeting.

One of the most annoying parts of most jobs in the corporate world is the way that speaking plainly is not only frowned upon but there's a whole alternate lexicon dedicated to actively avoiding it at all costs, even in situations where it's totally unnecessary.

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Phrases like "circling back" and "blue-sky thinking" are as stupid as they are needless. Is there something inherently wrong with "following up" or "best-case scenario" or whatever a normal person would say outside the office? Why do we do this? Stop it!

But this weird way of tiptoeing and tap-dancing around everything often becomes outright detrimental. Just like in our regular lives, there are some situations where polite discourse just ensures the point is missed entirely.

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Such is the case for this worker on Reddit, whose boss and the other owners of the company they work for have been insisting upon a return-to-office mandate, and the staff have made it crystal clear that they oppose it.


"We have been working at home since before Covid," the worker wrote in their Reddit post. "We answer phones and do scheduling for a small real estate firm," a job that has absolutely no necessity to be in an office.

When their boss dismissed employees' concerns about the costs of commuting, the worker lost her patience.

You've surely heard that return-to-office mandates are wildly, staggeringly, mind-bendingly unpopular. How unpopular? Well, a University of Pittsburgh study that analyzed Fortune 500 companies from 2019 to 2023 found that 99% of them saw a marked drop in morale after issuing an RTO.

In short, workers absolutely hate them, and chief among the reasons is the costs of commuting, which, due to inflation, are now much higher than they were pre-pandemic. 

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In fact, a study found that 80% of workers said they'd be willing to quit fighting their employers on RTO schemes if their employers would just agree to cover the cost, which rose to a staggering average of $8500 a year in 2023. 

So when this worker's boss "opened her mouth and blatantly dismissed a co-worker's concern about the cost of coming in full-time" during the all-staff meeting about the proposed RTO scheme, they lost it.

"I stopped the conversation," they wrote, and pointedly asked, "Are you dense?!" It certainly made an impact. "I’m pretty sure time stood still at that moment," they wrote. "No one said anything, and the conversation went on for another hour."

woman annoyed with her boss - YuriArcurs / Canva Pro


The worker was certain they'd be fired. Instead, they were given a raise and thanked for being so blunt.

"I was asked to hop on another Zoom call before my shift ended," the worker wrote, which, as most of us would, they assumed would be their firing.

"I was ready for it," they wrote. "What I wasn’t ready for was for them to cave in and to also give me a $2 an hour raise." Yeah, pretty much none of us would have seen that coming.

But it speaks to something really important on the part of her company's leadership. There is no arguing that the worker was spot-on — it is preposterous, not to mention callous, to coolly dismiss workers' concerns about the costs of a new and wholly unnecessary rule when it essentially constitutes a giant pay cut.

And those of us who've been kicking around the corporate world for a while can probably guess what would have happened if this worker had just shut their mouth. Everyone would have quietly seethed, the bosses would have forged ahead and walked all over their staff, and resentment would have begun to simmer — which would eventually cost the company tons of money in recruiting costs.


Whether it was simply the cynical math of the situation or a genuine concern for their employees' well-being, this worker's boss absolutely did the right thing. They changed course and rewarded the worker for being willing to wake their boss up by calling an idiotic and callous conversation what it was.

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Of course, every situation is different, and many, if not most of us, aren't lucky enough to work for bosses who have suitable respect for us as people to risk speaking so bluntly. Still, there's a lesson here for all of us.

"I guess my point in sharing this story here is we won’t ever get what we rightfully deserve without speaking up," the worker wrote. 


"I’ll never again allow myself to be treated like that in the workplace, and I hope the quiet ones like me start making noise." 

Hear, hear. Because God knows that for most of us, our going-along-to-get-along gets taken advantage of at every turn.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.