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At my last job, I never told my boss that I was miserable (I didn't start miserable; it was a program started by upper management that made me miserable). I quietly looked for another job, then gave my notice. After the fact, I felt like that was an unfair thing to do to him (he was a good boss, and the policy was not his fault).

Now, at my new job as a software dev, I'm working with a lot of non-devs that are fresh out of college and extremely frustrating to work with (some are barely literate). The other devs I work with are great, and not all of the non-devs are like that, but the bad ones are the ones that monopolize all of my time. I guess the reasons why I'm unhappy at this job, though, aren't really relevant to this particular question.

I'm not actively seeking another job right now, but there's a part of me that expects a ragequit any day. Should I tell my boss how unhappy I am at this job or should I just quietly take it while looking for another job?

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Completely off-topic: "After the fact, I felt like that was an unfair thing to do to him (he was a good boss, and the policy was not his fault)." - It's not too late to tell your old boss that, and he might like to know :) – marcelm Mar 26 at 12:57
up vote 57 down vote accepted

I don't think that you hate your job. It sounds more like you feel frustrated at your job because of specific types of interactions with certain people.

First of all, you need to identify each specific type of unpleasant interaction you have with each type of person, and for each of these describe specifically how you feel. This also means not attributing malice or negligence to that person.

Then select an one very specific particular type of interaction along with the very specific feelings it produces in you, and prepare to talk to your boss. I would phrase it as a question. For example,

Hi Boss. I'd like to ask for your advice. I have been working on delivering the Fubar software release, and a few people from outside our team who don't understand the software often ask me questions. I have given explanations and showed them manuals, but they keep returning with the same questions, and they take a lot of time. I find it frustrating to answer the same question over and over, and I am afraid it will make me deliver the software late. Do you have any suggestions for how to avoid or reduce this type of frustration and fear?

Now the boss has a choice. With your feelings, he can:

  • validate and empathize
  • ignore them.
  • deny that those feelings exist.

With the situation the boss can:

  • do nothing
  • offer some advice on how you can deal with the situation
  • intervene directly to correct the situation.

The best bosses will validate and empathize (even if they don't agree), and they will offer advice or intervene directly, depending on the situation. You probably want to stay with a boss like this.

The worst bosses will deny that the feelings exist or make you feel bad for even having them, and will do nothing to correct the problem or ask you to "suck it up" or "use common sense". Most bosses aren't like this, but if your boss is like this, it's time to consider looking for another job, and you won't feel bad doing it.

The toughest challenge is if you have a boss is somewhere in the middle, e.g. he validates your feeling but does nothing to help, or denies that your feelings exist, but intervenes strongly. These kinds of bosses are hard to stay with and hard to leave. You'll have to think more deeply about what you want out of this job, and whether dealing with this kind of boss is the price you're willing to pay.

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3  
I think of myself as a good boss, but in this situation, I would be tempted to tell the OP to suck it up. His complaint is that he has to help his coworkers. Cry me a river! Yes, some of his team-mates are not as smart as he is. The alternative would be a company where he was the stupidest one. Grrrr. – Malvolio Mar 27 at 16:59
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@Malvolio I feel there's more to it. If I'm trying to help someone but I'm not helping, there's a problem. Might be their attitude, might be me being a poor helper, might be something else. Chances are it's something that could be managed. – Kos Mar 27 at 20:29

Are you noticing a pattern here? I am.

You haven't given a timeframe of your actions so we don't know how long you spend at each job. Be aware that by changing jobs often, you come dangerously close to being perceived as a job hopper. You can find plenty of articles online with the pros and cons of that practice.

Anyway, the pattern is that when your job becomes difficult, you quit. To answer the title question, no, you shouldn't tell your manager that you hate your job. You are infuriated by working with sub-literate fresh-out-of-college devs, imagine your manager having to manage someone who actively hates their job.

What you should do is have a chat with your manager. It's part of their job to make yours easier but they can't do that if they don't know there's a problem. Let them know of the issues you face, and if that doesn't go well, then you should start thinking about looking for greener pastures.


Edit: Addressing OP's concerns raised in the comments:

You assume that I'm job-hopping. I was happy with my previous job before a policy change, and I was there for quite some time. I just went from one job that I was unhappy with to another. By definition, it takes three to make a pattern.

I didn't assume you were job-hopping, only that you were close to being perceived as doing so. Indeed three make a pattern and I only had two samples to go by. Arguably I could've made the first paragraph less ambiguous. But that was an aside anyway.

The pattern I refer to (par. 2) is deduced by info you omitted: By not disclosing any conversation(s) with your manager at either job, I assumed none had occurred. The spirit of my answer was that you should talk to your manager before taking permanent measures, preferably without using terms like "I hate my job"

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12  
If you have similar problems in three jobs, it isn't the job that's the problem. – keshlam Mar 25 at 21:00
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You're making a lot of assumptions that are neither true nor relevant. – Andrew Mar 25 at 21:35
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@Andrew Assumptions are my way of filling in missing information. By all means, if you think I've misjudged you (and can be bothered to do it), edit in the relevant info in your question – rath Mar 25 at 21:39
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Let's start with this: You assume that I'm job-hopping. I was happy with my previous job before a policy change, and I was there for quite some time. I just went from one job that I was unhappy with to another. By definition, it takes three to make a pattern. Is it that unrealistic to imagine that there might be legitimate reasons to dislike a job? – Andrew Mar 25 at 21:44
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More to the point, though, it's not relevant to the question. Your focusing on an accusation against me instead of what the actual question is. – Andrew Mar 25 at 21:46

Sounds like you're still a relatively young guy, probably a few years out of college.

I've learned this the hard way, and in particular, your story rings close to home to mine as I was once young like you. But, what I've come to learn is that attitude is everything in life, including your professional one.

Not a lot of people have the luxury to be in their "ideal" job, or whatever fairytale dream a lot of young folks chase anyway. I don't mean to be pessimistic, but every job, and I mean...EVERY job will come with its headaches, no matter what. So what are you willing to you tolerate? And are you willing to reframe your mindset/attitude towards the things you can control?

I used to be young and naive, I held onto a lot of frsutration inside, I didn't talk to my boss about anything, because I expected things to be spoon-fed to me. I contemplated "rage-quitting" every single day I was there, I even dreamed about how I would have such a grand "Eff You!" exit, but in the end, all the baggage just eats you up inside, and you gain nothing from it.

I apologize for the tangent, but to your question about whether you should tell your boss that you're unhappy...I say yes, definitely, but frame it in such a way that it is constructive and can be beneficial to both parties. Simply saying "I'm unhappy, this job sucks, the freshies are wasting my time, blah...blah...blah..." only makes you look immature and unwilling to compromise. Humility is big here. Everyone, starts off a "beginner", but where you end up down the line in your career is largely a function of attitude, tolerance, and open communication. Anger/hate is baggage; life is too short to be pissed off all the time (+1 to those who know the reference), so actively and constructively communicate, you never know, you might end up actually liking your job after some adjustments. Good luck!

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There's actually a decent chance that I'm older than you, but the point does still stand. I was in academia before my previous job, so I'm relatively new as an office worker. Thanks. – Andrew Mar 25 at 23:43

Now, at my new job as a software dev, I'm working with a lot of non-devs that are fresh out of college and extremely frustrating to work with (some are barely literate).

the bad [non-devs] are the ones that monopolize all of my time.

It sounds like there are specific aspects of your job that you find irritating. I don't know much about your situation, but I think that it might help to have a chat with your line manager to review your role and responsibilities.

A badly defined role can do wonders to make an employee quit.

This chat might clarify the extent of the help and support you are supposed to be giving to those 'non-devs'. If helping them out is expected from your role, then you should definitely keep doing it and eventually find a more satisfying role elsewhere. But, if it turns out that you don't really have to spend so much time with them, then it's important to understand who is supposed to coach and train these 'non-devs' to help them get up to speed.

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If you think you're in danger of quitting at the drop of a hat, then you should probably feel out the job market.

But this is definitely something you should talk to your manager about first. It's part of their role to make sure all staff are happyish with their environment if possible.

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My short answer is no, you should not take this to your boss and no, you should not be looking for another job. What you should be doing is solving the problem yourself, directly talking to the ones who are troubling you.

I had an employee once who kept coming to me with problems. It took a lot of my time, and I was short of time. Instead of feeling rage, I told him clearly and honestly that I believed in him to solve these problems -- he's smarter than I am. I spelled out my expectations without sugar coating, without being mean, and without beating around the bush, hoping he'd infer what I wanted. He got it, and was a great developer after that, and we are friends still.

You can use the same approach. Be honest and clear about them monopolizing your time. If you want distance, say so. Use the words you'd be comfortable hearing if you were on the receiving end -- no need to be hostile.

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