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Human Behavior

Should You Tell Your Boss You’re Unhappy?

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I’ve written before—several times—regarding bosses and their relationships with their subordinates. If you’ve seen those articles, you’re familiar with one of my “favorite” statistics related to that relationship. This particular statistic comes from feedback from more than 11,000 candidates my company milewalk has interviewed: four out of five employees have cited their boss as one of their top three reasons they are open to leaving their current company.

As eye-popping and completely believable as that statistic is, the fact remains that there are entirely too many inept bosses in the world. What’s worse is that many of you work for one of them.

Whether it’s performance appraisal time, end-of-the-year-salary-review time, or any given Tuesday, many of you face the internal anguish related to whether to “speak up” regarding your happiness. My answer is “Yes” with a few qualifiers.

Those qualifiers are what ultimately make the difference when expressing yourself because how you say what you say is just as important as what you say.

Your work-related unhappiness generally comes in a finite number of forms. You are either tired, bored, underappreciated, underpaid, working in an environment that is void of growth opportunities, commute too far, travel too much, work too many hours, are crammed in a small office (if you have one), and so on. I’m sure you get the picture because you’re probably living it Monday through Friday while I smile as I write this on a Saturday.

When you share your feelings, make sure to highlight what you want rather that how upset you are regarding what you don’t want. For example:

  • It would make me much happier if I had more opportunities for growth. Mr. Boss Man, can you help me identify those?
  • It would really be helpful if the organization showed appreciation for the effort of its employees. Ms. Boss Woman, it doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. Any small sign would go a long way.
  • Is there any possibility I could telecommute one day each week? It would really help with my productivity, blah, blah, blah.
     

Notice I did not once use a negative word or badmouth the employer (even though they likely deserve it). You either need something that’s missing or need to remove something that’s present. Those are your entire list of choices.

You know your operating environment and can adapt for what realistically works. The most important point is that it’s more beneficial to express your feelings positively and with respect than to gossip and behave like a jilted school child.

One for the road…

Some of you might have noticed I write a daily line called Today’s Line to Live By (book coming soon!). I’ve been writing these lines daily for the last three years and releasing them via my personal Facebook Page. A few weeks ago, I started releasing them via my Facebook Author PageTwitter, and LinkedIn.

I released one a week or so ago that I think is a nice supplement to the message in this post. I’m a big fan of trying to fix yourself, the incumbent, or your house (or whatever expression you want to use) first before moving on to something new:

“The next time you peek over the fence thinking your neighbor’s grass is greener than yours, try fertilizing and watering yours before you sell the house.”

Whatever you do, do it with a smile. If nothing changes, move on…

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