Last year, Gallup conducted a survey showing that 70 percent of U.S. employees were not happy with their current working situation. The true tragedy is how many people go into work day after day miserable, but do nothing about it--aside from complaining to family, friends, and co-workers, of course.
Does this sound transforming? No.
Stop being the complainer and whiner--this is not the reputation you want to have on the job. Here are seven ways for you to constructively and positively talk to your boss about your less-than-happy work situation so you can move forward with solutions. It just may be that your current position is the dream job you've been hoping for once it has been transformed.
1. The gripe list
For your eyes only... Get all those negative thoughts about your current work situation down on paper. What is it about your job that is causing you so much dissatisfaction and unhappiness? The process of spewing all that negativity onto paper allows you to have that "aha" moment--to understand the real issues or recognize solvable patterns instead of focusing on all those negative thoughts swirling in your head. Might make you feel a little better to vent too.
2. It's all in the preparation
From the insights you discover in your gripe list, prepare yourself for what you are going to say to your boss--along with a list of your ideas for positive improvements. Come up with ideas that not only benefit you, but others as well. If you need help remembering all of your ideas, bring a bullet-point list. It's OK to be honest with your boss and say you're not happy, but no whining, finger pointing, or decimating co-workers or team members allowed. Your feelings should then be closely followed with several positive solutions. You want to turn this into a solution-finding meeting, not a whine-fest. Your boss will be much more receptive if you come in with ideas for improving the work environment, and making positive changes, even for others, as opposed to a meeting full of complaints and blame.
3. Set up a time to meet
This meeting is important for your future happiness, so make an appointment to meet with your boss to guarantee uninterrupted time and privacy. It is also extremely important to communicate to your boss that this meeting is going to be a positive one by telling him or her that you would like to discuss some new innovative ideas you have come up with to make the company stronger or more efficient. You don't want your boss to shut down before you even get there by putting up a wall to repel the predicted doom and gloom that's on the way if you simply ask for a meeting. Last, watch the clock--be on time and don't let your meeting go into overtime.
4. Compose yourself
Feelings of unhappiness can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Make sure you are calm and have your emotions in check before you speak to your boss--not after.
5. Watch the body language
So often when we are unhappy about something, our body language changes to hunched shoulders, a frown, and downcast eyes--you are screaming to the world that you are unhappy. You want your meeting to begin and end positively without the "I'm not happy" negativity. Instead, pull those shoulders back, smile, give a firm handshake, keep eye contact, and find your sense of humor when appropriate. At meeting's end--good posture, firm handshake--say something like, "Thank you for your time, I know that together we can make some positive changes," and smile.
6. Ask for ideas
Once you have had your say and have discussed your solutions for improving your working situation, reach out to your boss. What advice does he or she have to share? Listen to what your boss has to say and actively write down any ideas he or she comes up with demonstrating that you are open to suggestions. Use your time wisely by clarifying your boss's ideas if you don't completely understand.
7. Move forward
If you and your boss were able to end the meeting with a solution that you know will work to increase your happiness, that's great--get started with the agreed-upon changes immediately. When you are going into a meeting with your boss, know that chances are good that a little more thinking, planning, and talking may be required post-meeting--especially once your boss opens up with ideas you may not have considered. That said, don't waste time. Move forward with re-invented or innovative new ideas. You're not happy, so don't waste time--push for an agreement on a solution and act upon it as soon as possible.
Worst-case scenario... For those of you with horrible bosses, and that's a staggering statistic on it's own, the only solution may be to get out as soon as you can. If you have tried meeting with your boss, but your boss vetoes all your ideas and has no real solutions to offer--or worse yet, is campaigning for someone or something else--it is time to find your new dream job and move on.