Work is always a good source of brain-hurts.
I need to request approval to travel to a conference (first of several this year). The way travel works, you either set aside funds for it in your project budget or you use general budget X. This year we have significant cutbacks so using budget X is not an option. No problem, since I set aside enough travel budget to cover all the conferences /meetings I should attend this year.
Well this year travel is being heavily scrutinized so now I need approval from two levels of management. That's fine, of course, cuts down on frivolous spending. The problem is, if the travel is not approved, they take that money away from my budget. So I'm supposed to set aside money out of my already tight budget for trips I consider essential to the success of the project, but if I can't convince upper management then I lose the money. That's painful, but okay, I get it, that money is considered "extra."
Nope, the real brain-hurty part is that apparently there is a set of 'code words' that will help get approval, and 'trigger words' that will almost always earn a rejection. Lest you think a trigger would be something simple like "it's close to where my family lives/I've always wanted to go to that city," oh no. Triggers include "publicizing company research" and "networking with other subject matter experts" and "building scientific credibility" - you know, the actual POINT of a conference.
So for the same conference, as long as I use the exact right words, I will probably get to go. But if I justify it in a slightly wrong way, then no. I feel like the managers have a hand over a buzzer and the minute I say the wrong thing, ZAP, sorry you lose.
Morale is ... not high.