Career Advice

Should You Ever Give Your Boss an Ultimatum?

Hired People November 11, 2021

There comes a time in many jobs where you feel like you have to draw a line in the sand. Maybe your boss has been taking advantage of you for a while or ignored your repeated requests for a raise. Or maybe you’re just sick and tired of waiting to be promoted. For whatever reason, should you ever give your boss an ultimatum?

A Threat

Basically, an ultimatum is a threat. You are threatening to take a specific action unless the boss does something that you want. At its core, you would be threatening your boss. And as you probably know, no one likes to be threatened. So, as soon as you give your boss an ultimatum, you’re creating animosity between the two of you. Depending upon what happens next, that animosity may end up hurting you and your career.

Back up Your Ultimatum

If you decide to go ahead with the ultimatum, you’d better be prepared to go through with it. For instance, if you’re threatening to quit unless you get a promotion, you would really have to pack up your things and quit if the promotion didn’t happen for any reason. Otherwise, you would look very bad; like you aren’t a person of your word, and like you can’t be taken seriously. That’s an awful position to be in. It would be even more awful if you find yourself jobless because of an impulsive decision to give your boss an ultimatum.

It’s rarely, if ever, a good idea to give your boss an ultimatum. It’s a far better idea to ask to sit down with your boss as mature adults and discuss your issues. That way, you aren’t being a threat, and you will be able to save face if you don’t end up getting what you want. And, if you still want to quit you can, but you can do it on your terms, after you’ve already found another job for yourself.