Working with a Stern Manager

My manager is inundated with work. There are times when he curses or swears at his computer. The stress must be getting to him. I am concerned because there are times when I try to talk to him but he tells me plainly that he is too busy and that I should come back later to talk to him. I apologise and get back to my desk.

Work is still dreary and boring. My manager is quite a stern man. I am, however, very loyal to him because he hired me, promoted me, and has made significant attempts to try to develop my skills. His sternness is just his personality. He is not the sort of person who naturally smiles a lot. He is just like me, so I understand him well.

It’s difficult working with a stern manager. There are other colleagues at work who have managers who are fun and easy-going, and I envy them. Throughout my career, I’ve work under many different managers, and I am used to working with all sorts of different personalities, so I’m not too fussed. I’ve worked under some very difficult managers before.

There are times when I hate my job immensely. There is just a dead and dreary feeling I get at work, like I wish I was somewhere else. I sometimes imagine I’m on a tropical island, lying on a deckchair with a laptop. I am working online. I am drinking cool and refreshing coconut juice while working under the sun. I can hear the waves of the beach nearby.

This is a dream, but working through a cold winter makes me dream of becoming a location independent entrepreneur (also known as a digital nomad). There is a lot of stuff on the internet about digital nomadism. Believe me, for a 9-to-5er who is sick of his job, digital nomadism is career porn.

So why don’t I quit? I’m sure I don’t get paid as much as doctors or investment bankers, but for what I do, I get paid quite a fair amount. If I move to another job, I feel I will either work much harder (and be stressed out) or get paid less. I therefore have it good, but the work is not really rewarding and I feel depressed often. The people I work with are also annoying. I suppose it’s not really my job that I hate. I just hate working.

I have also travelled to developing countries, and when I see poverty up close and in person, I really feel blessed because no matter how bad I feel, when I think about it I have it quite good. When I compare myself to people in developing countries, I am happy with myself, but of course when I compare myself to some of my colleagues, things don’t look so good. Some of my colleagues have done so much better than me, and maybe I feel a bit of envy, shame, or anxiety. The stigma is there. I try not to make deep friendships at work for this reason. I feel like I want to hide myself, to distance myself from everyone so that at the end of the day I just do the work I’m told to do and that is that. I am like a machine who goes to work to just do what I need to do as dispassionately as possible, and if there is any emotional void then I can look for ways to fill it outside of work.

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