Not happy at work? Here’s what to do:

by | 12.05.22

Being unhappy at work is something everyone experiences at some point. Sometimes you outgrow your position or maybe you have got a new boss who unsettles you. Telling your Manager, you’re not happy is risky – there is always a chance they will think you are leaving. However, talking to your boss can help. If they know there is a problem, they may be able to fix it.

Here are some tips on how to go about it:

Do you have a good boss?

How approachable is your boss? Are they someone you can talk to and discuss your issues with? Before you even approach your boss, you need to assess the best method. You may feel that it needs to be formally done, i.e.: asking for a meeting. Or you could believe doing it casually at his desk or in the lunch area would be better. Having worked for your boss you should be aware of what method he would prefer. Just keep focused and remember only your boss can fix your problem.

Do you need to bite your tongue?

We highly recommended you seriously think about the situation before you approach your boss. Sometimes the tight-lipped approach is the road to take. Are you just having an off day? Is it your colleagues rather than the job that is getting you down? Are you seeking more responsibility? Is your workload too small? Have you outgrown your position? Determine what the real problem is before you open your mouth.

Do appreciate saying you’re unhappy is risky

Once you tell your boss you’re not happy there is a fair chance that your boss will go on the turn. They may think you are going to leave, or they may believe that it could be time for you to move on. No boss wants an unhappy worker. However, if you truly are unhappy you have to take the risk you are going to upset your boss one way or another. But at the end of the day only your boss can help you. If they know there is a problem at least, they are in a position to fix it.

Its not what you say – it’s the way that you say it

When you are talking to your boss choose your words carefully. Avoid saying “I’m not happy”. A better way to start the conversation would be “I think I would be of more value to you if…”. Explain to your boss what would make your job more satisfying and therefore make you happier in your role and as a result more productive. Try not to use the ‘unhappy’ word if possible as it will unsettle your boss.

Do make sure you are prepared for your conversation

If you sit around looking miserable there is a good chance your boss will ask you what is wrong. So don’t leave talking to your boss until the point that he asks to talk to you. You need to be prepared, make a list of areas you feel could be improved which would make you happier in your role and therefore more productive and explain to your boss the benefits. Make sure you are very clear on what you want but also on how the job you do will improve office performance.

Do not make demands

No boss wants to employ someone who constantly makes demands. Nor does any boss want to employ someone who constantly moans. Do not go to your boss with a list of grievances. If you are making a complaint about the way something is done, make sure you suggest a fix. You want to be happy at work so enjoying your job is crucial, but if you start making demands you could alienate your boss and end up getting nowhere.

Do be positive

Unless you want to leave your job, you need to be positive when you speak to your boss. Fight the urge to moan. Communicate clearly and as honestly as you can about why the job is not working for you and what changes, support, training or help you need to happen in order that you can be more productive in your position. Be positive about your future with the Company and how much you want to enjoy your role and have a long-term career with the Company.

Do not be proud

It is always okay to ask for help, particularly if you are unhappy. Sometimes you need you boss’s advice on how to manage tough challenges, it’s part of their job to help you succeed in yours. Having an open and honest conversation with your boss occasionally can make a big difference to how happy you feel.

Do consider if the job is right for you

If you are really unhappy it could be that the job is not right for you, if that’s the case no matter what was changed about the role you would never be happy. Maybe you’ve outgrown the job and are really bored. It could be you simply don’t like what you are doing. If either of these things apply to you maybe it is the time for you to move on and get yourself a new job, but make sure this is what you really want. What you really don’t want to do is jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, so consider this carefully.

We have all been unhappy in our jobs at some point or another. What you fundamentally have to decided is if you could be happy in it if some changes were made and then you have to convince your boss to make them without getting him jittery about your long-term employment with the company. It’s a hard thing to do but telling your boss you’re unhappy can really help you in the long term.

Good Luck

Angela Burton