My Boss’ Annoyance with Me

 

The Sage, more commonly known as a plant, is the perfect man who moves when moved, who acts with inaction, according to the Zhuangzi.
The Sage, more commonly known as a plant, is the perfect man who moves when moved, who acts with inaction, according to the Zhuangzi.

In the Fall of last year, I started my office job, the position farcically titled “Executive Assistant to the Assistant Dean.” I was wondering what would comprise my duties; I was told that I’d be transcribing notes from meetings, helping others around the office, and proofreading emails for the assistant dean: doing really important stuff.


Disparaging Words

In the first two weeks, my supervisor gave me my tasks: to show up and stay in the office. Given those basic responsibilities, I suspected that my boss wanted me to initiate my productivity, so with each workday, I checked to see if I could do anything for him. After a couple of days, I approached; he saw, he stared, uttering the usual “I have nothing for you,” after which he told me to shut the door. He then said “you are annoying [for checking in every day].”


Inaction of my Reaction

Although it seemed strange to have my supervisor discourage work ethic by marginalizing my sincere efforts, I attentively stood in his office as if he were giving me an assignment, nodding my head in agreement. Maybe I should have countered him by saying “eagerness to work is pretty annoying” or perhaps defended myself by saying “I just want to be productive,” but really: what would be the purpose for these actions–among other things, bickering, annoyance, contempt. In the end, my actions were empty, and my nature, intact.


 

If you have thoughts about this or a similar situation, let us know about them, and consider following for more anecdotes demonstrating the practice of the Tao.

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