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How to Tell Your Boss You’re Not Happy at Work

By | Jennifer Winter |

In an ideal world, our jobs would be challenging, engaging, and rewarding all the time. But, as I’m sure you’re already aware, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes this calls for a drastic change—like finding a new job—but other times, it may just take a small tweak to get your career back on track to a more satisfying path.

So, how, exactly does one do that? Well, one incredibly simple way that’s worked well for me might surprise you: Tell your boss you’re not happy.

I know, it probably goes against everything you’ve ever been taught about moving ahead in your career, but take it from me, sometimes bosses have no idea their employees aren’t totally loving their work. And, if you do it right, both you and your boss will thank you for speaking up. Here’s how to do it.

Make a List

I love lists. They help organize your thoughts, and they provide a nice outline for tough discussions.

I found them especially helpful a few years ago, when I decided to approach my boss to let her know I wasn’t totally loving my work. I’d been working for the company for a few years and had loved my job until our company started to go through several major mergers. I knew part of my dissatisfaction was related to the mergers, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. My job description hadn’t changed, and I wasn’t working unreasonably long hours, so it was hard to place what was wrong. So, I started jotting down everything, big or small, that made me twitch each day, for about a week.

When I reviewed my list, some things immediately popped out at me. I was now working with a new group, which was located in a different time zone, and because we had certain deadlines to meet, I noticed I wasn’t going to the gym or taking lunches as often as I used to. Other things weren’t quite so obvious—at least to me—which ended up being really useful when the time came to chat with my boss.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to:

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