We've all found ourselves in a job that no longer fulfills us, or that presents us with challenges (or coworkers) that make us unhappy. We have some choices in this situation: we can be quiet and take it, or we can quit and look for a new job, or we can meet with our boss and try to work it out.
It's this last choice that can often be the best one.
Here are seven steps 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. Make a gripe list.
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. Keep this list to yourself, but use it to build the script you'll use with your boss.
2. Prepare your script.
From the insights you discover in your gripe list, prepare an outline of what you are going to say to your boss- - along with a list of 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 to your meeting. 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 a time to meet.
Let your boss know 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.
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. Keep an eye on your body language.
So often when we are unhappy about something, our body language changes to hunched shoulders, a frown, and downcast eyes -- we're screaming to the world that we 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, 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 now.
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. 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.