How to Tell Your Boss That You’re Unhappy at Work

You’re happy to have a job and thankful you can pay for basic expenses, but after a while that’s just not enough. Going to work, paying bills, going home, and then doing it all over again the next day can become miserable if you don’t like your job. Do you find yourself watching the clock and wishing you were somewhere else most of the time? You have company. Roughly 50.4% of Americans are unhappy at work, according to a Conference Board Job Satisfaction Survey. The good news is, there might be something you can do about your misery.
If you’re at a point where your job is making you feel unhappy, instead of immediately looking for a new job, one solution is to talk to your boss about it. A simple conversation could lead you to a more satisfying work experience.  If you think you’re hiding your feelings about your job, you’re probably wrong. Chances are your boss already senses your dissatisfaction. Coming to work late and looking less than enthusiastic to be at your job make it pretty obvious. Why not have the talk before things get worse? Here’s how to tell your boss you’re unhappy at work.

Identify why you’re unhappy

not happy at work, tired man in office in front of laptop
Be able to explain what’s wrong. |

Before setting up a meeting with your boss, have a clear idea of what you want to say. What specifically makes you unhappy at work? How long has this been an issue? Can you identify the exact turning point when you noticed your feelings start to shift? Your supervisor will have plenty of questions, so make sure you’re able to clearly articulate what is wrong. If the problem is that your boss is just clueless about your job and what you do, you’ll need to sit down and create a set of shared goals so that you can both get some quality work done. Consistently being on different pages is sure to lead to a frustrating work experience.

Choose your meeting time carefully

meeting at work
Choose a productive hour. |

When you set up your meeting with the boss, make sure to have it at the right time of day. Choosing the wrong time could have a negative effect on the outcome of your meeting. Make sure to have your meeting at a time when you’re both thinking clearly (Monday and Friday mornings are out). Productivity expert Andrew Jansen said mid-morning meetings on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday are best.

State why you’re unhappy

unhappy worker
Be respectful when stating what’s wrong. | Thinkstock

Now that you know exactly why you aren’t feeling great about your work, think of the best possible way to get your message across. Try to state your concerns with a positive attitude. Even though you’re taking this time to share what’s not going well for you, always be respectful. Also resist the urge to blame your boss for what isn’t right with your job. Blaming will make your supervisor feel defensive. Consequently, he or she will be less likely to listen with an open mind. Explain why you haven’t been excited about work and calmly state how you have been feeling about your job.

Don’t just complain — bring solutions

businessman presenting at a meeting
Take initiative to make things better. |

No one likes a complainer. If you’re going to speak with your boss about what is making you unhappy, you need to balance this out by presenting a list of solutions. Show that you care about your job and that you’re willing to take the initiative and do what it takes to make things better. Don’t just put the onus on your boss to solve all your problems for you. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to take responsibility for your career.

Have a backup plan

fired from job
Know things might not get better. |

While things could get better at work, things could also get worse. Your supervisor may start to feel that you have your own interests ahead of the company’s and may start to find ways to get you to leave. This isn’t going to be a pleasant experience for you, so if you sense something like this is starting to happen, it’s time to make plans to work elsewhere. Revise your resume (this is something you should be doing on a regular basis, anyway), brush up on your skills, and start looking for your next job. If you still like working for the company, you could also see if it’s possible to transfer to another department (provided there are openings).
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