Feeling angry and frustrated

One thing I’ve noticed now that everyone is working from home is that every issue is now “imminent” and requires an immediate telecon. And I do mean immediate; in the last few months the general lead time on meetings has gone from at least a day or two to often as little as ten minutes, with people getting irritated if you don’t happen to be sitting at your computer when it comes in, as if going out to get lunch or doing errands any time during “working hours” (which ends up being anywhere from 6 am to 8 pm because of time zone differences) is being delinquent. I’ve been up since 0530 dealing with your manufactured crisis documented in a disjointed chain email that you forwarded last night at 11:30 pm but how dare I take thirty minutes at lunch time to get a bit of sunlight and de-stress.

And I find a lot if this are issues that would normally be resolved with a phone call between two people or going to someone’s office down the hall for a five minute conversation but people are so desperate to talk to anyone who isn’t a family member or the next door neighbor that they call an hour-long meeting with a dozen people and then spend most of it with lame joking and shooting the shit with people they wouldn’t normally give two shits about. Don’t get me started about the meetings starting with a ten minute “role call” where people are bantering back and forth so much that you can’t get your name in edgewise. I’ve just started talking over people because I figure I’d rather be rude than fuming in rage that I have to listen to a pointless story about someone’s home remodeling fiasco while waiting for their shaggy dog story to come to some kind of finale.

Damn it’s good I live alone.


I find that my frustration is like a wave that rises and falls. I was surprisingly adaptive in the initial few months, but by mid-summer I was really starting to lose my shit.

I am mostly freelancing these days but one of my jobs involves face-to-face interaction with fairly large groups of people and my employer was like "Hey all, COVID is like pretty much over now! Let’s get back in the office - just be sure to wash your hands. :slight_smile: " This was back in late summer when the numbers were, in fact, declining, but all the experts were predicting a fall and winter surge. Moreover, I knew that working in an enclosed, poorly-ventilated environment and having fights with people about wearing masks was just not a good setup. So I basically had to quit working there, which sucked. I’ve been fortunate to find work online, including a job that was paying as much as I’d ever been paid, but it’s not steady work. I’m just sick of everyone else’s fucking ignorance and refusal to even do a little bit of honest research, not because they can’t read or comprehend the information that’ out there, but because they don’t want to be confronted with inconvenient facts that interfere with their precious hobbies or lifestyles.

I miss my routines. I missed being able to leave my home for most of the day, working and thinking about different things and having interactions with different people. Like a lot of people, I feel like I’m under house arrest. It was doable for a while but not sustainable indefinitely.

Yeah it comes and goes in waves for me as well. Right now I am in the “Irritated at the world” mode, altho I have nothing to complain about since my job and income has been steady before and during the pandemic, I live in a decent suburban neighborhood with plenty of outdoor opportunities, and no one in my family has so far gotten sick.

However, I feel very hemmed-in by not being able to travel or spend time with friends, or even dream about doing things I would have done or been doing right now. Days have blended together, weeks have blended together, months have blended together - with nothing changing. I feel guilty that I can look out my window as I type this and see blue sky, green trees and grass, yet feel as if I should be doing more, somewhere else. I appreciate solitude, but even I have limits there.

Yet, vaccines are on the way, and there is reason to hope the carnage abates and life starts becoming more normal again in certain ways. I am happy to wait for my turn with the vaccine, so I have this hunker-down mentality, which sucks.

Talk with someone about it besides us. (Unless you think we’re more helpful than those around you.)

Maybe a professional too? We all get pissed by stuff, and that’s normal, but getting pissed “every day” isn’t. Just IMHO. I hope you feel better.

I’m really frustrated right now too, but that’s due to something concrete, finite, that I’m trying to fix. Which, having suffered both, is preferable to existential rage and dread. Again just MHO.

You are suffering from “too much information” syndrome. All news outlets, doesn’t matter which way your politics lean, and most other information on the internet, are designed to evoke an emotional response. Generate those clicks! That is what everything is about. The money is in the clicks. All the talking heads on the TV have to have something to talk about, and boy do they have opinions! And then the story/issue fades away as some other outrage reaches the top of the list.

There is no objective reporting about anything, anywhere. You may have sources that comfort you but they are playing you too.

Otherwise we would have reports like: “The stock market dropped 1000 points today. Tomorrow it will go back up 600, drop a couple more the next day, then rally back to about where it was on Monday. This is normal, go out and play.”

But we are constantly told about the 10 things we need to worry about today. And it works.

And the statements like “in today’s world, during these troubled times, while we pull through this together,” etc. ad nauseum have infiltrated even the ads for hair gel just keep reinforcing that the bad times are here.

I’m just pissed I’m back in the “delivering bespoke IT projects” business where I have to deal with freakin’ Jira tickets and business requirements and micromanaging schedules in an attempt to either meet some arbitrary unmeetable date or give concrete proof why it can’t be met so my meathead boss doesn’t put the staff on some other project before it’s finished. I haven’t had to do this crap for 5 years. I’ve been mostly doing more program management / strategy consulting where I’m managing the big picture so the guys doing the Jira ticket bullshit have what they need to not want to pull their hair out each night. Based on my title and salary, I thought that would be what I would be doing here, but that would appear to not be the case.

I laughed out loud as the mention of Jira because we’ve now embraced Jira as the end all, be all program management “solution”. Don’t get me wrong; Jira has some nice features and it helps to formalize what is often an ad hoc process of defining and tracking issues, but now nearly all meetings involving issues or discrepancies involve long discussions of whether and how such and such an action can be done in Jira, and the government people who can’t access our Jira site because their computers are so secure that it is impossible to do anything, often including sending emails to one another, are always calling or texting for someone else to do something in Jira. In pre-CoVid-19 days there was a program office person whose job was essentially to have a computer specifically for gov’t civilians to access Jira, but now that everybody is primarily work-from-home it is all a word-of-mouth game of Telephone with predictable results.

I am so sick of hearing about Jira. If I could have a wish, it would be to eradicate Jira from existence. Fuck Jira.


Yeah, I’ve tried that before with mixed results. I’ve talked to therapists and career coaches and various friends and family (to the extent that I can without boring them to death). I’ve never found it all that helpful because I’ve never felt I’ve received any actionable advice. Or least maybe some drugs that would make me not give a shit. Stuff like “so what DO you want to do for a living?” Fucked if I know, dude. That’s why I hired you as a career coach. If I actually knew what I wanted to do, I’d be sending out resumes as we speak.

Kind of exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea.

Plus I think there is value in throwing random ideas out there and have people comment on them.

Training to have a mindset where you’re conditioned to start asking questions like, “What actionable advice are you giving me?”, is a big part of what many of those counselors etc are trying to instill within their patients. Because many of those patients? They didn’t before they started working with a counselor. (Raises hand…) And you’re already there, so no surprise it hasn’t been helpful.

It was more the ‘every single day I feel this way’, that I was concerned about. It does sound like your job recently has been a hell of a lot different than the activities and expectations you’ve been used to. There’s no way to delegate the recent close supervision duties you’ve indicated not liking, right?

I’m fortunate enough to have gone unscathed through Covid (thus far,) but my sister got Covid through carelessness and my mother shows some alarming lack of fear of Covid as well.

For the past half year or longer, what’s been angering and frustrating me has been religion. I grew up in a very fundamentalist religious upbringing and now, at the age of 33, am finally seriously challenging a lot of assumptions. Unfortunately, when you’ve had religion drilled into your head during your formative years of 0-10 years, it is extremely difficult to sort out your wiring. You have a hard time telling what’s true and what’s not. The wires aren’t just crossed in your mind; they’re triple-braided and tied into a Spanish rose knot. I cannot tell what is my own personality, what is something that’s been drilled into my brain, and what is genuine religious well-founded belief. It doesn’t help that my mother, like many people of her kind, believed that forcing beliefs into someone’s head was the same as that person genuinely and sincerely holding those beliefs on their own.

As of right now, I find myself straddled atop the fence between Christianity and atheism/agnosticism - with the result that both sides take potshots at me. I’ve had non-Christians use “Christian” as an insult against me, and Christians attacking me claiming that I’m not faithful or religious. It’s really a confusing and aggravating no-man’s land.

Although it isn’t directly applicable to your work situation, that rant reminded me of this:


I’m making a list of everyone and everything that makes me angry and frustrated. Angry and frustrated is too strong, anything that annoys me or bothers me in any way is going on the list. No, not even that, pretty much everything that is not exactly the way I want it goes on the list. It won’t be good when I think the list is long enough.

That’s the thing. It really isn’t much different from the stuff I’ve done at a half a dozen or more similar companies. And they are working on making some of that stuff better I suppose. It’s just disconcerting that our platform is supposed to make this stuff EASIER, but for some reason it’s 100 times more difficult and frustrating.

Plus my wife is stressed out all the time about being confined and her job which makes her work 16 hour days. But she won’t look for another job (even though she’s been there 15+ years and it’s been like this for the past couple of years). So that puts her on edge with the kids because they act like little kids and don’t necessarily listen all the time. The other day she confided in me that she “felt like that guy in The Shining”. So now I’m Shelly Duvall in this relationship?

But she gets frustrated so I get on edge because I don’t want to set her off, which makes her more on edge and so on…

I’ve suggested some radical options like maybe moving out of the New York area (like most of our friends). Where specifically, I’m not sure, but she doesn’t seem to be on board with that.

One additional thing. I feel the “every day frustration” is due to feeling like if I’m not fretting about something, I’m going to catch shit. I think my wife suffers from the same thing, but worse. For various reasons, I think my wife’s considers every bad decision or mistake to be life altering whereas I mostly just see it as a frustrating nuisance.

So at least as that applies to work or whatever, I feel like I just need to get to a point where I’m comfortable that everyone else is comfortable that I’m on top of my shit so they won’t lose theirs if an email goes unanswered for 5 minutes.

Speaking of which, I think I’ve planned out the next couple weeks as best as they can be planned. Everyone seems to be doing what they are supposed to be doing. I think I’ll go enjoy myself for a bit.

That’s not a bad idea. But I suggest you classify your things into the 3 levels you talked about and keep them as 3 separate lists.

Then once you’re feeling they’re decently developed, you work hard to change the stuff on the Big Bad list, while ignoring the Baby Bad list. Assuming you are decently sucessful with fixing the Big Bad you’ll probably find about half the Baby Bad stuff just evaporated through no effort on your part.

Good Luck.

This is a very tough problem.

You can summarize most letters to Dear Abbey as follows:

  1. I’ve got this, that, and this other thing going wrong in my life.
  2. I’m unable (read as “I refuse”) to change anything.
  3. Please help me solve this.

Hint: the problem exists in step 2. See also abused spouse syndrome. Not that you or she is an abused spouse, but that businesses work assiduously, albeit often unconsciously, to set up abusive relationships with the employees. Who then react per standard human nature to become trapped under their abuser.

I don’t know. I mean if that works for you, great. I’m not so sure that approach would work for me. At least not with everything.

I mean, I suppose I could divorce my wife and abandon my kids because they annoy me sometimes. I won’t lie. I certainly enjoy having some time alone. But that seems kind of douchey and sort of like cutting off my head to fix a headache.

Obviously there isn’t much that can be done about the COVID situation right now. But not being able to do stuff I used to do a year ago is extremely frustrating. Going out to bars, restaurants, museums, parks, just general New York City shit with or without the kids and/or wife. Just being able to leave the house without a mask.

Well my crazy job changed to no job at all. So that just made things a whole lot worse.

But yeah. Making significant change is hard. Especially when your wife refuses to change anything. But something does have to change at this point.

Sweetie. I feel ya