How to tell your manager you don’t like your job

Part of job satisfaction is doing the work you like to do. The more you like your work, the more satisfied you are with your job. But what happens when you don't like your job? Your engagement goes the other way and leads to dissatisfaction with your work.

After three reorganizations, two managers and shuffling of the work flow, it would make sense that your job has significantly changed and you aren't working as well as you could. You would think it would be smart to talk with your manager about the fact that you don't like your job any more.

But here's the rub. You walk in to your manager's office with the perfectly good intention of explaining why you don't like your job any more and offering improvements -- then you walk out of your manager's office having been labeled with a "bad attitude" and not happy with the company.

Ouch.

Some of this can be mitigated, of course, if you have a great relationship with your manager and you have a track record of delivery. Even if you do, how you bring up the fact that you don't like your job any more makes a big difference in your manager's perception of your work.

So how do you tell your manager you don't like your job? You don't.

There is no percentage, especially in this economy, in coming off negative in your approach to your work even with the best intentions. Don't tell your manager you don't like your job; instead, tell your manager what you like about your work and ask for more of that type of work.

This is not as easy as it sounds. You see, you have to know what you like about your work! So this approach is a three step process:

  1. Know what parts of your job you really like doing -- and are good at doing. Sometimes those are two different things, so make sure what you like doing aligns with what you are good at doing. We want this, after all, to translate into better performance review ratings, right?
  2. Determine what else you like doing that you are not doing now that is part of your job description. With all the changes in the department, it is easy to have much of your job changed...so ask for some of it back.
  3. Once you have determined what stuff you like doing, what else you want to do and are good at doing, then ask you manager to do more of those things.

Asking for more work is better than saying you don't like your job. So ask for more of what you like to do and are good at doing. Over time, getting more work you are good at doing will give you stronger performance reviews because you are working from your strengths on the job.

Have you ever told your manager you didn't like your job? What happened?

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Comments

  1. says

    As we think negative thoughts they become beliefs, and when own beliefs they taint our future outlook.
    In every role there are good and bad parts of the job. My advice when you are feeling like those thoughts are turning into negative beliefs is to list everything you are grateful for.

    You must be intentional with your thought life or your negative emotions can turn to bitterness, and when this occurs you may be asked to leave.

    Mark Allen Roberts
    http://www.nosmokeandmirrors.com

  2. carolyn says

    I actually just did what this article is talking about. I was given a new position a year ago, but the company I work for hasn’t done the best job of defining it and it’s left me frustrated that I’ve been left to try and define it for myself. I’m working with them now to try and get a better handle on what the expect from me and how I can be more productive.

  3. Avatar of Scot Herrick says

    @ carolyn — and I hope you are adding your input as to what you think the expectations should be as you are the person closest to it! But approaching this as how to “best use your job skills” is much better than saying you don’t like your job and risking the “bad attitude” label.

    Nice going.

  4. tracie says

    I worked for a small (under 200 employees) company for 3 years before I was asked to interview for a new position as Product Manager. I got the position, and quickly realized I didn’t like it. Problem was I couldn’t determine exactly WHY I didn’t like it. I would come in 5 minutes before my boss and leave 5 minutes after he left, and in between that, found every excuse possible to be away from my desk. After almost 6 months, I realized I didn’t like it because it was in essence a sales job, and I hate sales. So my manager allowed me to discuss it with my previous department manager, and I was allowed to transfer back to my previous position. It worked out for me, but only because it was a good, close knit company at the time, and they valued me as an employee. I don’t recommend this to anyone unless you KNOW you can keep your job!

    • Avatar of Scot Herrick says

      @tracie — you are very fortunate, both for the openness of the management and there were openings back in your previous department. I’m very happy this worked out for you.

  5. Fawad says

    I work as senior web developers in one the UK’s biggest travel company. I recently move from e-commerce department to IT and lowest grade in IT is grade 6 (high pay and benefits) but my grade is 5 because I was in e-comm. department. There are lot of factor involve I’m frustrated with my job these days. I have few questions after reading your article and I’m hoping you will help me.

    1. Salary and grading issue, as minimum grade in our IT department is 6 and it been 6 months now my manager keep promising me about grade and pay rise but no result. (Please advice shall I seek legal help as it breach of department policy?)

    2. My new team members although are higher in grade but I’m more highly skilled and experience then them, nobody listen my suggestions and inputs in meetings and projects and keep ignoring me which is really frustrated. (Please advise me what shall I do? Shall I tell my manager that I ‘m not happy with my team members behaviour or ignorance?)

    3. I’ve been with my company from last 3 years but my performance and salary never been reviewed. (What shall I do?)
    There lots of other factors but these are most affected in my daily work life. My performance in my company is a highlight and most of people know me because I have delivered number of successful and complex project since I joined.
    I would appreciate your help.

    Regards
    Fawad

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