How a Micromanaging Boss’s Constant Sighing and Unnecessary Meetings Drove His Team to the Brink in a Shared Open Office

There was only one seat between us, and even though I was wearing noise-canceling headphones, the boss’s overwhelming sigh still hit my ears roughly.

It was the third time in two hours that he sighed. In the past month or two, he has been showing us his amazing lung capacity with this frequency. His sigh revealed the temperament of a director alone: ​​long, deep, and depressing, like the thick fog that enveloped the office on a winter morning.

You ask me why I can hear him sighing? Because the company implements a flat office. But what is truly flat is only the seating arrangement, not the organizational structure.

The dignified director and a group of us guys were huddled together in the Datongpu office area. There are three people in a row, each with a small desk more than one meter long. He had the window seat to himself, and I sat at the end of the aisle, with another colleague in between. The three of us are so intimate that we can even see each other’s WeChat interface without turning sideways.

In a compact office environment, privacy is lost.

At his level, he should be eligible to choose an independent office space. The company also specially created a special office space for several directors-level managers, and equipped it with large tables with arc corners and partitions.

Just when we were eagerly waiting for him to move, he unexpectedly gave up the opportunity to the sales director who could not enter the office several times throughout the year. When asked why he didn’t move, he said modestly, “It’s fine for me to sit here. Let the sales director sit there.” In fact, we all understand that he wanted to weaken his sense of existence and didn’t want to be overshadowed by his boss. Notice. Otherwise, which director-level boss would be willing to squeeze in with minions? How inconvenient it would be.

In this way, when our personal space is extremely shrinking, we not only have to endure the close relationship with our boss every day, but his continuous sighs make us more anxious and depressed at work.

The source of the sigh and the depressing atmosphere all started from that impromptu meeting.

About two months ago, the boss held an emergency internal meeting. At the meeting, he unilaterally canceled the one-day-a-week home office policy (only for us) and ordered everyone to arrive at the company before nine o’clock (originally it was a flexible commute). In addition, they also warned us that the company was thinking about layoffs in our department. In addition, they also said a lot of things for us to reflect and review. The implication is: everyone should be careful and stay alert. , don’t be caught by outsiders making any mistakes.

In the conference room, the eyes of the seven people except him met like lightning, and they all understood the series of emotions contained in each other’s eyes: from surprise, to doubt, to calmness, and finally to indifference.

The core of the meeting was not to remind us of the risk of layoffs, but to expose his guilty conscience and cowardice. Rather than worrying about us being laid off, he was more worried about losing his position. It is no exaggeration to say that if he is really laid off, his market competitiveness will be far inferior to those of us who are really engaged in technology.

pictureStills of “Proofreading Girl Etsuko Kono”
Regardless of whether layoffs are true or not, the recent actions of bosses and companies are confirming the objective facts described in the book “Work, Consumerism and the New Poor”: the popular slogan today is “flexibility”, which is becoming more and more fashionable The concept represents a hiring and firing game with almost no rules and the ability to unilaterally change the rules while the game is in progress.

Everyone in the team is dissatisfied with the boss to varying degrees, and I am not very optimistic about the development prospects of this job. So I was vaguely disappointed to hear him boast that he had single-handedly averted the risk of layoffs. He could have released the quota and I would take the initiative to claim it. As long as the compensation is in place, everyone can get together and part ways.

After all, which worker has never imagined that he could handsomely ask his boss to resign? It’s just that if I don’t find a new job for a day, my fantasy can only be virtual reality, and I still have to go to this class.

The boss should be really lucky to have such “obedient” employees as us. Despite their dissatisfaction, the entire team arrived at the office before nine o’clock the next day, and even pregnant colleagues who commuted long distances visited their workstations. As a result, our department has gloriously become the earliest and most “organized family” in the company.

While the boss was having a cigarette, the seven of them looked at each other and smiled, making sad jokes about beating workers, “He is only at this level of incompetence, and it is not just a day or two.”

The boss did not get the relief he wanted from our “obedient” behavior. Soon, he figured out a new management method: holding meetings. He was more proactive than ever in holding us to meetings, and added weekly meetings to the biweekly work meetings. It is nothing more than telling the contents of the weekly report personally, so that he can fulfill his duties as a director and make one or two comments on our work.

At the first weekly meeting last Friday, he picked up the computer with a solemn expression and shouted to us in a low voice, “Let’s go to the conference room.” What is puzzling is that he did not follow the name of the meeting and asked us to Describe the week’s work orally. Instead, he clicked on the big boss’s email and asked us to read the tasks the big boss recently sent him.

Then he rapped the table with his round knuckles and made two muffled sounds, “You all know the habits of big bosses. They often get an email at eight or nine o’clock in the evening or on weekends, telling me to ask for xx files ‘immediately’. Fortunately, I had this document in my computer at the time, otherwise how would I explain it. So I make a request to each of you: take your computer home every day, including weekends. When I need your support, you must reply to me as soon as possible. .Don’t tell me I didn’t take the computer home, I don’t accept that excuse.”

Before we finished speaking, our small group was already in a turmoil:

“How much does he make and how much do we make?”

“Why should you be a director if you know you have no ability? Stop being a director as soon as possible.”

“Anyone who has any brains should know to be kind to the people below, so that he can sit still…”

“It’s really a third-rate boss who loves meetings. Good things don’t happen to us, but bad things happen to us. I thank the boss…”

I threw a screenshot of “News Queen” in the group: I don’t care what your calling is, I’m here to find a job. How can I be so cheap as to do as much work as I charge?

“Do you hear me clearly? Don’t turn a deaf ear to what I say!” He tapped his knuckles on the table again. I was stunned and felt like I was back in school. The class teacher on the podium was spreading the doctrine of empiricism emotionally, while we below were silent and no one responded.

In addition to giving us meetings, he also uncharacteristically made himself active in meetings large and small. Although the content of his speech was without any nutrition, it did not stop him from working hard to improve his sense of presence. So the focus of his work became: preparing speeches for meetings, holding meetings for us, and holding meetings himself.

While we were completing our duties, we not only had to deal with the various chores he assigned us from meetings, but we also had to waste time cooperating with him in holding unproductive meetings. In a word, we are the boss’s workplace bodyguards. We are here to handle the storms and waves. The boss enjoys the good wine and food. The core task is to keep his position as director.

People in other departments were keenly aware of the strangeness in our department, and secretly came to ask, “What’s wrong with your department? The atmosphere has been so tense recently, and we don’t even chat like before.”

“It’s okay. I’ve been busy lately. I’ll be even busier in the future.”

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