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How to Approach Your Seniors When You Are Unhappy with Your Job

Posted by Ramsha Tausalkar

March 2, 2024

Easy steps to communicate your unhappiness without losing your job.

Often, when we are unhappy at work, whatever the reason — the most daunting task of all can be approaching your seniors.

Will they yell at you?

Will they dramatically throw up documents in your face?

Will they fire you?

Well, the good news is, your seniors, for the most part, want you to be happy. Yes! A happy employee is often a productive and energetic employee. So, the management usually ensures that they function in a way that keeps their employees satisfied. If you are unhappy, they also have conflict management and resolution units to deal with your issues. But the first step is talking to them.

And understandably, that is the toughest of all.

To help you, here are some ways that you can approach your senior when you are unhappy with your job:

1. Be prepared and know what you have to say

The very first step would be to introspect and understand your discontent. Ask yourself:

  • Is my discontent work-related?
  • Is there a practical solution to this?
  • What can I do from my end to make this work?
  • What will be my next action if there is no solution to my problem?

Once you have figured all this out, you will have clarity and be more focused when conversing with your senior. It would help to document your concerns so nothing is left out. If you manage to come up with a solution by yourself, that’s even better. Chances are your organization will be happy to green-light the steps needed!

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2. Choose the right time, place, and way

Like they say, timing is everything. Approach your seniors when they are relaxed or already busy with something. Look for a time when they seem relatively comfortable, open to conversation, and are not working on anything hectic. 

Approach them in person. Conversations over text or call often lead to misunderstandings or may even be accidentally missed at times. 

Approach them with a smile, but still convey your concern. Always start the topic with positivity, no matter how upset you may be. 

Schedule the conversation with them, as springing it on them may take them by surprise. This will also give them ample time to prepare and converse with you at their own pace.

3. Be clear in your communication

When the time for the actual conversation arrives, here are a few pointers that will help you breeze through it:

  • Have a problem-solving approach: Look at your issue as something that can be solved and that you are willing to do what it takes. You will likely put your senior off if it sounds like a rant session with only complaints.
  • Stick to the point: Your written pointers will come in here. Veering away from the matter may never actually lead to a solution.
  • Be receptive and open: Listen to what your senior says instead of being defensive.
  • Be cautious of your body language: Like your words, ensure that your posture and actions are polite.
  • Be well-mannered and kind: Don’t be passive-aggressive or bitter, and don’t make personal attacks. When we are wronged, we often end up in a fight with the person in front of us, but if you want to retain your job, you don’t want to say anything that may be held against you.

Suppose you deliver everything well, and your boss is receptive and understanding. In that case, you will likely devise a solution catering to both of you. However, on the off chance that things don’t go well, here are the next steps you can consider:

  • Consult HR: The HR department will step in and devise a solution, or they will take the necessary measures to resolve the conflict.
  • Set boundaries with your senior: If a professional relationship has gone sour or is not working out anymore, you are not obligated to maintain it. Set appropriate boundaries with your boss and move ahead.
  • Consider other options: If the unhappiness is too much and there’s no way out, see if you can apply for a different role within the same company or change departments or teams.

All in all, approaching a senior to tell them you’re unhappy is intimidating. However, you can quickly get through this with patience and tactfulness.

Final Word

While employees can take the proper steps toward communicating their concerns, organizations must set up a healthy work culture. The HR team plays the most crucial role in creating an open atmosphere. It helps to outsource HR to firms with expertise in employee management, especially if you are a small business or a startup.

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Want to know more about setting up HR policies? In addition to HR, benefits, recruiting, and payroll through its PeopleOps, Escalon’s Essential Business Services include FinOps (CFO services, taxes, bookkeeping, and accounting) and Risk (business insurance). Talk to an expert today.


Ramsha Tausalkar
Ramsha Tausalkar

Ramsha Tausalkar is a freelance journalist and media aspirant. She has also been a food content creator since 2016. Mainly, she is a writer; from technical content to poetry. She best describes herself as a creative aspirant, with her hands on everything: from video to audio and from technical content to poetry. When she is not pursuing one of her many interests, you can find her petting a cat or reading up on random articles on the internet.

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