I work at an in-house creative agency as a UX/UI Designer. My line manger is the creative director, I am the only person in the team other than him who does UX UI work. It seems to me he believes that everyone should ALWAYS be working and working outside of work hours as well. However, he is careful to never suggest this out loud or in writing.
I track all my work and give weekly reports, usually when he sends new work I tell hime I am working on X and won’t have time to do Y. His response is typically “oh, you should be able to do that in 15 min” To which I usually respond by explaining the true complexity of the task, how long similar tasks have taken in the past and the tradeoffs relative to the other work I am doing making it clear that I don’t have enough time. His typical follow up is just do the most you can But also work on the other projects.
Let me share some examples:
Example 1: If I come close to 9 o’clock and if while turning on my computer, I begin chatting with a colleague for a few min. He’ll notice, email me some work and say “hay could you look at xyz, this is urgent just came in” (even though its one of his tasks or has been sitting in the task inbox unassigned for a while and I have plenty of stuff to do already.
Example 2: He always sets team meeting to 9am on a Monday or Friday to get people to come in early, even though he himself rarely joins and if he does so its typically towards the end.
Example 3: After tracking my time for months and developing a reasonable model of how long a task typically takes, and present this to him infant of this manager he agreed to take some work off me. But first of all he took the most high-profile work that requires face-time with the CEO, of the three tasks he took on he failed to do any work on 2 of them, took a sick day, called me and asked me to look at the two projects, after he came back the next day and I tried to hand them back he said I was doing a great job already.
Example 4: We track time to bill to clients using an internal system. He regularly drops hints at me to overestimate the amount of work I’ve done for clients e.g. the other week I noted you did this over the weekend make sure you track that. Or I noticed you came in 2hrs early to get this done make sure you track that. Or my favourite: “Make sure you quote for the value provided not the time spent”
I have tried everything I could think of: tracking time, emailing him my daily activity and priorities and informing him of every trade off. Raising the workload issue with his manager. After his manager forced him to look at workloads he ask the team to come up with a number of projects they each think they can work on simultaneously which was 4 or 5, with 3x with clients for feedback and 2x active. But he told me to that this doesn’t apply to my work and that we ought to catchup later.
I hate playing an armchair psychologist but by my estimation he has ADHD, he only works on projects last minute, is terrible at estimating how long something will take, constantly over promises to clients, and routinely avoids doing work by coming in late, having very long lunches, and then doing work last minute outside of working hours.
When I suggested that we ought to get a project manager and work in an agile fashion like the developers he refused. Later I over-heard him say to his manager: “there is good things about agile, but I don’t think its right for UX work”. If I work closely with developers it makes sense for me to use their methodology as I have to attend stand-ups anyway.
Sorry for the long post but I just wanted to illustrate how he consistently tries to make sure that everyone is always working on 110% capacity such that they are forced to stay late or work weekend. The rest of the company outside of his direct reports follows an agile methodology, people don’t setup meetings for 9 o’clock and estimate time in afternoons to account for switching costs, and even a little office banter, which in my option is completely acceptable.
I have started applying for jobs and going for interviews, but since I have a 3-month notice period I am still stuck here for three months, what do I do ?
P.S. I also think my co-workers who are managed by him are showing signs of stress one has difficulty sleeping, another keeps chewing their nails and spoke about how she has started seeing a therapist, and a third is concerned she might have heart issues because she has palpitations.