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During our department meeting this morning, my manager looked at me and said, "You are the weakest link." Everyone had a big laugh but me. I was practically waiting for him to say, "Good bye." I'm very upset by this "joke." Am I overreacting?

There was a time when the television show, "The Weakest Link," has worked its way into the popular culture, every would-be comic is using that line in far too many situations. Your manager was probably waiting for an opportunity to spring it on someone, and you just happened to walk into the trap.

If you really want to know what your manager thinks of you, take a look at your performance and productivity, your formal appraisals, and the goals that you have met. It is possible that your manager said these words to you because he feels that you are clearly a solid performer and there is no way that you could interpret his line as anything other than a joke.

Nonetheless, some managers can forget how powerful their words can be. Even a comment said completely in jest can raise all sorts of self-doubts for many highly productive employees. An interesting side note is that organizations today are not typically looked at as chains, but rather as ropes. They are strong, intertwined, interdependent, and flexible, with each employee being an integral part of the fiber.

Either way, making an employee the target of a tired joke raises real questions as to who might really be the weakest link.

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