I am having a hard time with my direct manager, and I would appreciate it if you let me know your opinion about the email I have received from him today. I want to make sure that my understanding is correct. I am actually afraid to be obsessed with conflict due to the history of the relationship between us.

Let me provide some context:

He is usually very rude. Always trying to devalue the work I have done. This has actually ruined my work and personal life. It got so bad I decided to talk to HR about that. Since then, I have been trying to reduce daily communication with him as much as I could, communicating solely through regular weekly progress reports.

Yesterday, he asked me to do something (say job "X") and I completed the work before I go home. In the meantime, I received an email from a senior colleague/co-worker (he is on holiday at the moment) who asked me about the progress of the project and cc-ed my direct manager in the email. Today morning, I replied to him (cc-ed my manager) explaining that the project is progressing well. I attached a plot to show him the state of the project.

A few minutes later, my direct manager (who was cc-ed in the email thread between me and the other colleague) replied following email:

Hi BlaBla

We discussed to make the code also able to handle job "X". The title of the attached plot suggests that this result is obtained for job "Y". Do you find it difficult or impossible to handle job "X" case?


I actually got very offended and replied "I completed job "X" yesterday, However, I had saved one plot and I sent it to the colleague".

I was offended firstly because I found the last sentence very rude (Do you find it difficult or impossible to handle job "X"?). Especially, with the history of always degrading my works, I got the feeling that he wants to do the same again.

Secondly, I was offended because it was a conversation between me and my colleague and I didn't expect that my line manager would expect to send a plot for job "X" and not job "Y".

1 Answer 1


I don't think the e-mail from your Manager seems that bad. I don't know the full history of your interactions with him, but to get 'very offended' by it to me seems like an over-reaction. It's important to remember that things don't always come across as intended with written communication (no tone of voice, body language, etc.). It is possible that he genuinely thought you may have had some difficulty handling the 'Job X case', or it may have actually been impossible, and he was simply asking about that, not being sarcastic.

More generally, if your relationship with your Manager has gone South, there are only really a few options available:

  1. Discuss with your Manager about what you can do to mend/improve the relationship. Perhaps try offering an 'olive branch' or two yourself.
  2. If you think the relationship is not salvageable, but the job is very good and you want to keep it, then simply put up with it as best you can.
  3. Otherwise, I would say it's time to look for another position.

Have you tried discussing the situation with him, to see what can be done to improve the working relationship?

  • 1
    Option 3 could be finding a new position in the same company, if there are similar roles under different managers. Not just finding a new role at a new company. Jul 13, 2018 at 0:51
  • Many thanks for the answers. I would like to add that job X is indeed very simple thing to do. I had completed it in one afternoon. In fact, few minutes after his first email, he sent another email saying "in order to do job X, use syntax blablabla"
    – M.X
    Jul 13, 2018 at 8:40

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