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O/T How do I get my mojo back at work?

Evil3's picture

I've been in my current position for over seven years. I've hated it from day one. It's a complete career change for me and I never developed in it. For years I thought they were withholding work because of my being useless. I had probably hundreds of meetings with my manager and others and have tried every angle to figure out why I came across as so horrible that I wasn't allowed to do anything. I'd watch the other analysts fly past me because they were getting developmental opportunities and would gain experience and I had nothing to speak to on a panel, so I stayed stuck. I couldn't even get another job at the same level as me. My skills had significantly devolved and I have virtually no self esteem left. I felt like I walked around with a scarlet letter that everyone else but me could see. No matter what I did, I couldn't get these people to give me some decent work to do. It turned out to be a crappy supervisor, but still. I'm the one paying the price. 

About six months ago, there was a house cleaning. New blood came on board and my new manager (Gru) promised that I would develop. Only that's not happening. I'm definitely being treated differently from the other analysts and I have so much resentment. Gru is abusive. He does compliment/insult sandwiches. He'll compliment me, but then throw in an insult and I end up feeling even worse than I already do. Gru traps me in his office for three hours at a time and I'm not allowed to leave. He has OCD (diagnosed) and he doesn't know that I know and I don't plan on telling him that I know. I don't kow why. He yells at me and he cost me a chance to move on because he gave me a crappy reference. I'm in a work situation that I MUST give my current supervisor's name as a reference, so that's a problem.

My main problem is that I have no motivation whatsoever to do any work. I have writer's block and I'm literally frozen and sit and stare at my screen. I'm thinking it might be due to Gru going through line by line rewriting everything while I sit in his office for three hours. I'm trying very hard to remind myself that he's running his own agenda and has OCD and hasn't seemed to separate his OCD from his extreme criticism. I can't do ANYTHING right. If I tend to something, he'll even get beligerent on why I did it and didn't pass it onto another area. I'm losing sleep and I'm dreading coming into work every damn day.

How the hell do I get my mojo back so that I can prevent myself from getting in trouble for not doing anything and how do I do my work so that I can have something to speak to on a panel?

Has anyone had issues with losing motivation at work before? How did you get past it? Also, would extreme criticism be the cause of lost motivation? I'm really trying to work through this and make the best of it while I try to get away from Gru.


ESMOD's picture

Wow.. this sucks.  I have been stuck with crap management before and TBH... I'm not 100% sure why you need to give your current employer any heads up about a job search.  Do you have to work in the same field?  Are you geographically limited?  Is there any training you could take.. maybe even get your current employer to pay for?


Evil3's picture

I can't say too much or it'll identify the organization I work for. In order to apply for postings, I have to give my current supervisor as a reference. One can say they don't feel comfortable, but then the person saying that gets the hairy eyeball. I don't have to give Gru a heads up that I'm looking, but if I'm at the reference stage of a competition, I have to give his name.

ESMOD's picture

Do you have the opportunity to speak with the hiring manager before he speaks with your current manager?

Alternatively, what do you think the upside of just telling GRU that he would make everyone's life much more pleasant if he helped you exit your current environment.. because he clearly isn't able to get the work out of you that he needs.. why does he want to keep you? 

you could also go to HR and explain the situation.. that you have had some conflicts and your manager isn't professional and he is keeping you from finding other options.

Evil3's picture

Thank you so much!

Gru says I can't write. That's one of his many complaints.

advice.only2's picture

I really feel for you, and yes horrible management can absolutely affect you and your job performance.

Are you trying to apply for jobs in other areas that can break you out of that field? Have you networked with other people to see if they have any openings that you might be able to slide into?

I ended up taking a job with a group that nobody really knew much about and couldn't give me much information about. I quickly found out why, they were severely dysfunctional. The manager was a micro manager who tried to act like he wasn't. He had two mean girls that he deferred to because he didn't really do anything other than mirco manage his people and yell at them. I was there for two months and after the second day I started looking for a new job. I would cry going into work and I would cry going home, and I'm not a crier.

You should never feel awful about your job, if it makes you this miserable then it's time to get out of there.

Evil3's picture

I can't really network. I'm in a union position, so even if I network, I'd still have to compete to win the job. I'm looking at postings constantly. I'm open to anything, but I refuse to move down. All the jobs at my level or higher are in my field. I don't think it's the work itself that I'm having problems with. I'm not sure though. It's that I'm literally frozen and have constant writer's block. I'm in constant self-defence mode. I know I need to get the hell out. I just don't kow how to motivate myself to do my work. It's a matter of time before I get in trouble and yelled at by Gru yet again.

Siemprematahari's picture

He's threatened by you which is why he focuses on breaking you down and lowering your self esteem. He's a manipulative abusive coward who knows your potential and how gifted you are but uses his title to make you feel less than. Can you look for positions in other organizations? Do you have to give his name as a reference and instead use another colleague within your department?

Can you report him to HR?

thinkthrice's picture

I have been here 9 years now and things were going GREAT until I was given Retired Dude's systems to manage.  Of course Retired Dude laughed it off, wasn't required to do as much documentation on his systems as he SHOULD have done KNOWING they were (ARE) ancient programs!!!

It's been almost a year (11 months now) since Retired Dude left the building and I'm just now starting to get the hang of it so don't feel bad!

I was also marginalized by not being given all the permissions that Retired Dude had to do this job although I repeatedly asked for said permissions for over five years now.  It's obvious they don't want me touching certain things.  They hired another employee to do it-- so I just trot the two scripts I can't run without domain admin over to her and let her run it.  Easy Peasy.

Also since Mrs. Headlights was promoted and they got rid of Old Faithful, our admin assistant (she too had had enough and retired earlier than she had once thought due to being marginalized) the wheels have fallen off.

I consider this a mini career change as I've had three major ones in my lifetime.  I would take advantage of the great economy and employEES market and start looking for another job.  References available upon request!


P.S. I lasted three years at a job where my co-worker was out to get me (GONE) from the job on DAY ONE  because HER FRIEND DIDN'T GET THE JOB and they hired me instead (I had experience)  And that was during the bad ol' days (2007-2010)   I was looking for jobs like nobody's business and took the first one that seemed stable, and had less commuting than the other two.  I used the method described by the book "Hired in 60 seconds" by Robin Ryan.

Evil3's picture

I'm going to get that book. My self esteem when it comes to competence and work is non-existent. That sounds like a book I need to read.

thinkthrice's picture

P.S. I was  in a union gov't job for almost 9 years when my co-workers (and manager) didn't like my attention to detail.  Yeah you read that right.   they started sabotaging my work (one of the biggest culprits had a friend in IT and would routinely and deliberately abort my print jobs as well as try and HACK into my terminal)  Basically a group of women case workers and clerks with female bosses who were amazing catty.

It's a long story but they decided to persecute me LONG AFTER I left.  I was working for subsidized housing at the time where property owners were considered the villains.  This organization was always being busted for fraud; the managers would often steal funds and materials.  I was told to "look the other way and keep the checks rolling" among other things.

When I left I had purchased a rental property with one of "our" tenants in them that was notorious for breaking her lease and moving.  As a mere housing clerk, I knew she would be out in a matter of weeks  after i purchased it.

The head honcho (a male who acted like the rooster in the chicken coup) started madly screaming "RESCIND THE SALE!!!" when he found out I had purchased a property with said tenant (voucher Section 8 program and on DSS)

I found out through my sources that:

1.  they literally BRIBED that tenant to stay so that I would get no rent (and called it a "conflict of interest" on MY part although I had no decision making authority as a clerk)

2.  they contacted the county's social service dept and told THEM not to pay me a CENT of rent either.

When she finally did leave after my employer lawyered up with unlimited legal resources (they're a gov't agency) and I had to pay for MY legal fees to defend myself as, ironically,  a SINGLE MOM with no CS coming in--the very same people that this agency is *supposed* to help--this tenant left an abominable mess and damage as always because she was allowed to stay in my house RENT FREE for 7 months!!  She also left a puppy there in the middle of November.

They CONTINUED to go after me on "conflict of interest" charges WELL after I had resigned (for at least a year).  My union rep was able to get a "settlement" of sorts which was really my retirement funding which I'm paying back now since the nine years I've worked at this job. 

They also BLACKBALLED me when trying to get another job.  I found this out through ANOTHER agency who noticed they would "sound suspicious" when they fake called to get a reference for me or they would hang up OR they would NEVER fax info back.  Hell I couldn't get a job at BURGER KING at the time so I changed my career and also had to eventually file bankruptcy. 

Anyways the moral of the story is that we can overcome ANYTHING if we put our minds to it and succeed DESPITE the jerks.  HAPPY ENDING:  They recently made the NEWS for lying to the FBI and corruption!! Several members of this org were thrown off the board and are facing prison time.  The Karma bus was slow in this instance...20 years after I had left almost to the day.


Evil3's picture

OMG! That's brutal!

I'm so sorry you went through that.

It's great that the karma rolled in though. Every day, I fantasize about the karma bus coming for Gru, but I won't hold my breath.

thinkthrice's picture

those people who were such pompous asshole co-workers and managers have long since retired but EVERYONE knew that org was corrupt from the get go and continues to be as well.

BethAnne's picture

I am sorry you feel so stuck in your position. It cannot be pleasant at all to have to go into work every day. 

I have had major problems with procrastination throughout my life (still do) the one book that really helped me and that I think could help you is The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. Reading the description of your job made me think of it as there are a couple of examples he gives in there about people in similar situations to you. It is a short book which goes into some of the reasons behind why people procrastinate and with real practical advice that is better than the old...just do it nonesense. I really do think it is very good. 

susanm's picture

It sounds like you are really stuck if you are required to get a good reference from your current supervisor and he refuses to give you one.  But you can't be the first person that has happened to.  You siad that you are in a union.  Is there a shop steward or union rep that you can go to for guidance?

If you can't break the impasse though there is only so long that you are going to be able to last being miserable every day.  You may not be able to move up or laterally where you are but there are other places to work.  It may take some searching and perhaps a bit of a pay cut but that would be worth it given how awful you seem to feel every day.  If you can't find a workaround to get out of your current position where you are, I would suggest finding another workplace that can use your skills and give you a new challenge.