If you’re not completely satisfied with your job, rest easy — you’re not alone. At some point, we all come to feel discouraged and disengaged, and while that’s often a sign we need to move on and find something new, there are sometimes ways we can tweak our existing jobs and rectify the situation. How do you do it? According to freelance writer, editor, and career consultant Jennifer Winter, it’s tough, but it’s not impossible.
In a great Daily Muse post titled “How to Tell Your Boss You’re Not Happy at Work,” Winter outlines three tips for having that difficult conversation with your supervisor. Before she gets to her three suggestions, though, she offers to pieces of prefacing advice. First: Make a list of the reasons you’re unhappy. Sometimes, when you have the sense something is wrong, you might not be able to pinpoint what, exactly, it is. Best to organize your thoughts before chatting with the higher-ups.
Second, Winter says, schedule a meeting. Since you don’t want to scare your boss, don’t use that old “we need to talk” line. “Say you have some ideas on ‘improving your turnaround time on a project,’ or ‘boosting morale around here,'” Winter suggests. And then, once the meeting rolls around, do the following three things:
1. Come With Solutions — No boss wants to simply a hear a big old list of your complaints. At the same time, you don’t want to downplay the reasons you’re unhappy — otherwise, what’s the point of the meeting? The idea, Winter writes, is to propose solutions to some of the problems you’re facing.
2. Ask for Advice — For each problem, talk to your boss about how you’ve attempted to solve it, and explain why your efforts have yet to yield the desired results. Then, ask for advice on what you should do next. “The idea is to make your boss aware of the situation so he or she can help you find a solution,” Winter writes.
3. Ask for Help — This is along the lines of No. 2, only here, you’re telling your boss that you’re no longer feeling motivated and engaged, and that you’d like to find a way to get your head back in the game. “Keep the discussion as positive as possible, making sure the focus is not on the fact that you’re unhappy, but that you’re trying to get back on top again,” Winter writes.