my boss is smothering the hell out of me

A reader writes:

I’ve been with my company 10 years. I was promoted to a new position in February, shortly before the pandemic erupted. Since mid-March, we’ve all been working from home. I already worked from home several days a week by choice, so I have a good set-up for it, am accustomed to its challenges, and am more productive and more comfortable here.

But my new manager is absolutely smothering me. She was showing signs of micromanaging before this started, but I think the working remote really threw it into overdrive. She is insisting on daily video “check-ins,” in addition to our regularly scheduled meetings. I am now talking to my boss more than I am talking to my partner, my family, and my best friends. She wants to know what I’m doing for fun, what I’m doing for exercise, what I’ve been cooking, are my finances okay? Ma’am – I am sheltering in place, please stop asking if I did anything fun last night. No. I walked my dogs and did a puzzle. Making me say it out loud depresses me.

On top of that, we go through my to-do list Every. Day. I already am having a lot of anxiety right now (who isn’t?) and having to a daily report-out on my productivity only adds to that. I have gotten to the point where I get a pit in my stomach every day leading up to our meetings. Some days I’m hugely productive. Other days fears about this virus have kept me up all night and I’m struggling to see my computer screen straight. I am a good worker, I will always get what is needed done — on time and well — but my output varies day to day, and honestly, nothing we are doing right now is critical.

I surmise that my manager is dealing with her stress and anxiety over the pandemic by throwing herself fully into our work, but all of us handle it differently and that’s not how I’ve reacted. Getting ahead on projects that are due in the fourth quarter feels strange and pointless to me, given our current situation. I’ve tried to mention that the daily meetings were not helpful for me, but she says she feels that it’s very important we stay in touch.

How do I get out of this? I’d be fine with weekly check-ins, but every day is really bringing me down – and I’m already down.

You can read my answer to this letter at New York Magazine today. Head over there to read it.

my boss is smothering the hell out of me was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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