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

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Oct 06

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.


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?


About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations and now shares them here on Cube Rules.

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