I am an experienced Software Engineer and I have never faced this in my earlier roles. My Programming Manager does not have the tendency to wait. He is constantly asking for updates and never seems satisfied with my performance.

We have to work 6 days a week and he wants us to stay late on top of that. Deadlines are sometimes unrealistic as well. I have two options, to resign or stay here because this is getting on my nerves. I don't have any outlet to breathe.

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    And are you paid for all the work hours, overtime etc? Also what country are you in?
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 9:32
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    Are the hours and days that you have to work specified in your contract?
    – Aaron F
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 9:58
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    @AaronF Yes that was the contract, although i should mention, the salary is very good, i save a lot, that is why i still work here.
    – Bilal
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 11:10
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    "Yes that was the contract" so 6 days per week is written in your contract? And what about hours per day? That should also be written in your contract. Meaning that you can stop working and go home after you've worked that many hours. "although i should mention, the salary is very good, i save a lot, that is why i still work here" this is the decision you have to make: what's more important to you? Maybe you're better off staying put and trying to ignore your manager? Maybe you're better off looking for a new job?
    – Aaron F
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 17:44
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    Just to give a context to other members of the community. I know about SA not much, but all I know is based on stories from people who already worked or lived there. It's a rich region which makes full use of their money. Foreigners work there under exhausting pressure (might not apply for every workplace, but that's typical), but being paid much much more than in other countries, at least in Europe. People agree to work there for short period to build up a wealth and move on, and employers get constant boost (there is always a demand for such a job). So all pressure you have is part of a job Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 6:02

4 Answers 4


we have to work 6 days a week and ... stay late on top of that

We know from experience that this can end in two ways:

  • the work schedule returns to "normal values";
  • the employee leaves.

I know from my workplaces in 19 years. Also, the Internet is full of similar statements.

In a comment you said:

the manager thinks it's all a waste of time. Now we just do everything without a plan.

That is a clear case of an incompetent, "tough guy" manager. There is no such thing as management, without planning and tracking.

You may want to discuss with HR about it, or with the boss of your boss. And there is a (small?) chance that doing that will turn against you.

Bottom line, the most sensible thing you can do is to prepare for a new job. Sooner or later, you will get there anyway.

  • Does involving HR ever solve the problem of having an incompetent manager? Isn't the manager almost always favored regardless of who was right? I can't imagine many situations where they are sacked for incompetence because they're more expensive than you are. It's easier for HR to pretend they're on your side but really just wait until you've lost faith and for you leave instead of the manager. Even if your manager has been disciplined by HR, the manager knows you're the cause so you just end up with a toxic relationship between you and your manager which results in constructive dismissal. Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 10:02
  • I admit that HR will most often be on the side of the company / manager. But occasionally I hear about situations when the employee is well prepared and calm, and makes a good argument, and HR manages to mediate some kind of solution - let's say a win-win. But your reasoning is why I added that it can be "dangerous" to do that.
    – virolino
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 10:14

You (and your manager) seem to be in urgent need for a proper management process.

What you must do do avoid just the scenario you mentioned:

  • Have a proper work plan.
  • Estimate the work before you actually start working on them.
  • Have a pre-decided acceptance criteria for each and every assignment.
  • Have scheduled review meetings.
  • Use a project management tool (if not already in use).

This way, there would be no confusion about the target deadline, and the need for your manager to reach out to you (and others) for status update would no longer be there.

Note: If this is not taken up as the most priority items, combined with the work schedule you mentioned, I'd suggest to polish your resume and look for job elsewhere.

Update: as your clarified in the comments:

we started to have those, the manager thinks it's all a waste of time. Now we just do everything without a plan.

Leave everything, find a new job and move on as soon as possible.

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    we started to have those, the manager thinks it's all a waste of time. Now we just do everything without a plan.
    – Bilal
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 9:15
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    @Bilal Run away, run far. :) Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 9:25
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    So your manager thinks planning is a waste of time and yet complains about planning issues?
    – Borgh
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 10:05
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    Since planning would fall under “management”, it seems your manager is just too lazy to do his job.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 10:57
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    @gnasher729 or, plain incompetent. Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 10:58

Saudi Arabia specific answer

I'm assuming you are a migrant worker since you aren't a manager and it would be very unusual for a Saudi national to be treated this way. Unfortunately this is normal and part of the working culture, workers come from abroad and are often pushed to their limits for as long as they can take it. The pay is very good but there is almost no chance of career advancement, you work as long as you can and then move on.

If your boss is a Saudi national that would explain his behaviour, Saudi managers don't work, they just manage, so they constantly check on their subordinates and demand more even if more isn't possible so they can feel important. If you're actually underperforming expect to be yelled at with as many witnesses as possible so they are seen to be doing something about it. If they aren't a Saudi I'm surprised by this behaviour but there isn't much you can do about it. Going to their manager almost certainly will cost you your job.

Ultimately it comes down to money, working in Saudi Arabia is a good way to earn more money for the same job but unless you are really lucky or have a manager from a country where this sort of treatment would get you fired on the spot, you will have to put up with a 2-class working culture where workers are more like servants and managers are masters.

  • Yea but it’s probably not worth it.
    – Bilal
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 20:38

Disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing about working in Saudi Arabia and the culture surrounding it, my suggestion is based on my experience in Europe and the USA.

You are in a position where both your manger and you, are unhappy with the current arrangement. You don't like to be worked around the clock, six days a week, and he doesn't like how little is delivered. Seems like a perfect case to grab his attention and say something to the following effect

"Hey X,

Listen, I see that you are unhappy with what I am delivering every week. I am also unhappy with the work around the clock, and the fact that, in the end that's still not enough. I think we should talk and either figure out a plan to make a clean break and part ways or revamp both the long hours and your expectations around my work. Because if things just stay as it is, you will keep getting pressure from upstairs for late-delivery, and I will keep getting stressed over the long hours. So let's sit down and resolve it, one way or another, so we can either start working towards improving this situation or on finding my replacement."

You should be honest with the guy, and since you are already considering to quit, this is very much a last attempt to reconcile between you two. I also specifically formatted it so you will only talk about your performance, not the team as a whole - as you should focus on what you, and you only. It also frames the expectations in no uncertain terms, and you've mentioned that finding people to join the team is hard, so this is his incentive to try and figure it out.

Of course before doing anything drastic like that make sure that you actually can quit, especially check your legal/visa situation.

  • I will be doing this, hopefully have a chat with him with similar words that what can we do to reduce the stress and see if there are any changes.
    – Bilal
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 11:24
  • @Bilal Just be sure that you are prepared to quit/be fired, as this is the very likely outcome.
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 11:34
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    You should never quit without another offer in hand, it's much easier to get another job while you're still employed. Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 18:30
  • @reggaeguitar I have just started looking for a better position now. I can't quit because i got mouths to feed. I am just taking the beating for now.
    – Bilal
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 6:44

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