My friend pointed out that despite all the credentials and ability, a big group of us were trapped under a glass ceiling in middle management and had no path or connections to anything better.
Middle management is a lonely no-man’s land. Workers hate you for keeping them on task. They are infantile and just want to run out the clock enjoying distractions. Management has to babysit them so they can slowly produce results while trapped in an inhumane fluorescent-lit stable of cubicles.
Middle management operates at the pleasure of executives who demand systemic results, but do not get their hands dirty in the details of what’s actually going on. Middle management masks and translates the situation back to them and gives the impression that their dictates hold sway. New initiatives take a long time to show the slightest movements. Executives are forever demanding and rarely thankful for middle management.
Its a thankless job. You’re always on call, answering emails and phone calls at all hours as the only adult who can keep things on track. There are constant meetings, juggling multiple projects, and making sure teams have what they need to stay productive.
No matter the details of employment, middle managers serve the regime. They follow orders of their commanders and whip the laborers into obedient shape. Endless mazes of a resilient bureaucratic structure mean almost nothing makes an impact. Each worker is designed to be replaceable, which zaps the morale of anyone attempting extraordinary efforts. Great success is treated almost the same as a bad result won by laziness, so there’s no incentive to achieve a superior outcome.
All the education and certifications amounted to nothing in this meaningless corporate form. The strategies and latest innovations were all empty jargon of no benefit. The only thing arguably real was the money, which was basically earned by fraud that provides mediocre services marketed and billed as exceptional services. With almost no actual products being created, companies just sell low quality services to one another and bill high rates to stay in business.
We were spending decades of our lives as middle managers, making things efficient but without any fulfillment or reward. We could have bailed out years ago and spent that time relaxing in a warm third-world beach or quiet cabin in the country, but we were too diligent to give up early.
And so I sat there, day after day, feeling the weight of my meaningless existence bearing down on me. I longed for something more, for a sense of purpose and fulfillment that I knew I would never find in this corporate wasteland. But for now, all I could do was endure, counting down the hours until I could go home and try to forget about the empty dread that consumed me every day.