It’s not actually “trouble” if all your boss did was yell at you.

Trouble is a matter of perspective.

When a fellow teacher tells me that he or she “got in a lot of trouble” for failing to complete a task or adhere to a policy, this most often means that the principal has spoke to the colleague and warned him or her against committing the offense again.

I do not think of this as trouble. I think of this as being spoken to by your boss.


Early in my career, when I was less subtle and considerably less intelligent, I would point this out to my colleagues, failing to realize that many of them graduated from high school and college with 4.0 GPAs, spotless disciplinary records and lists of extra-curriculum activities a mile long.

In this regard, I guess that being called into the principal’s office for a verbal reprimand could be considered trouble.

They’ve never been suspended from school as a student. Caught selling term papers to fellow classmates. Received in-school suspension for damaging school property. They never received a report card with an F or even a D. They’ve never been arrested by the police. Had the police break up a party in their apartment. Been tried in a court of law. Faced a prison sentence. They’ve never been fired from a job or had their career threatened in any meaningful way.

Trouble is a matter of perspective. When you come from a background like mine (as described above), a verbal reprimand does not constitute trouble. It’s merely a verbal reprimand. A reminder about what you’re supposed to be doing. Or what you’re not supposed to be doing.

For some (and to their credit), a verbal reprimand is the most trouble that they have ever experienced.  

That said, even with a pristine record, I still  have a hard time accepting the idea that your boss’s expression of disapproval constitutes trouble.