It's been over a year and a half since I took this new job. Couple of months back I mentioned (politely but firm) to my boss that I want to try something else (I gave specifics regarding the department and positions I want to be in) within the company/department since I do not really like the work. (I decided to give at least a year since joining to really assess if things are going to improve, but they didn't so I decided to take the issue to my boss). My boss said that he will talk to his own boss (let's say my super boss) and see what he has to say. I speak frequently to my super boss since he was the one who originally hired me.

I waited for 4 weeks but I did not hear anything back from my boss. I inquired about it and he said that my super boss did not have anything much to say (very surprising response). To till this date (over 6 weeks) I have not heard anything back from either of them.

So after being here for a year and half, here is my assessment:

  1. My boss really does not have much authority and on top of it he is not a good boss material and more importantly not a good leader.

  2. It seems that they have a hard time hiring technical people for this position because most of the technical folks do not want to do this kind of job. (At the time of hiring this was not made clear upfront for the obvious reason).

  3. I have already started to look around for openings within and outside my company.

  4. In my opinion a good boss would be supportive of employee's career interests. However, I have been told that there is NO career development/path in this department.

  5. My boss and my super boss are both very happy with me (as they mentioned it in my review) but that does not surprises me at all given the above details. Yes, I truly think I am over qualified for this job.

My preference is to stay within the same company but in a different role. So given the above, my question is should I bring this issue directly up with my super boss so that I can really understand what's going on? Or should I just remain quiet and keep looking for jobs until I find one?

  • 1
    The obvious talk to your "super boss" answer. If you have please include his thoughts.
    – Colton
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 22:32
  • Just replacing you is easier than replacing you and then finding a spot for you in the department you want to switch to. As Peter said, cover your back. Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 14:41
  • @NoamN.Kremen - For sake of clarify, I am not asking my current boss/department to help me find a place in another department. I already know which department I will be targeting and I am already doing my homework.
    – modest
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 22:15
  • be happy you have a job... If you can find another one, good for you, but don't start burning bridges until you've another position secured.
    – jwenting
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 9:15
  • "I am not asking my current boss/department to help me find a place in another department." -- well then what did you ask your boss to do, that he didn't respond to? You want to apply for other posts internally, you don't expect him to help with that. They could have made encouraging noises at you, which would be nice, but it's not surprising to me that neither of them has much to say. What are you waiting for, their permission? Anyway, I hope the situation was resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 8:14

5 Answers 5


It seems that they have a hard time hiring technical people for this position because most of the technical folks do not want to do this kind of job.

I know this problem well. As an employee I've been in that same situation and as a supervisor I've had to put people in that situation. Don't look at it completely as 'me vs. them'. Understand that someone needs to do the job and you're who they have at the moment. It sucks, but that's where you're at.

Is there any way the job could be made better? What about it makes it painful for a technical person to do? Is there any way you could split your time between that and something more interesting to you and would that satisfy you? Give your boss and superboss ideas for solutions. Tell them how the position could be made more attractive, if not for you, for technical people in general and then if it's still not what you want, give them ideas for how to hire someone that might be right. Tell them your reasons for why you think technical folks don't want to do the job. Always point out the benefit you could be to the company in a different role, but continue to do the best you can at the job you hate to show you're a team player and that your priority is simply doing what the company needs at the moment.

Take ownership of the problem yourself and try to help solve it. That's how you get ahead in the business world. If you can show that you were able to come up with a solution to this that is good for the business, it shows leadership and problem solving ability. That's what companies want in their crucial positions. That's how one day you could be your superboss' boss.

There is also the possibility that nothing can be done. The economy at the moment (and even for the past year and a half) certainly doesn't allow many companies to just move an employee to something they like and backfill the old position with a new hire. If you can't identify another open position for you to take and the company isn't doing a lot of technical hiring, you're probably just out of luck until that turns around. That's the sign that the only way to solve this problem for you is to find another job.


First, cover your back and try to spot some reliable opportunities in other companies.

After that, be really honest about this situation to your 'super boss' to let things be really clear, making him infere that if nothing changes then it's almost certain that you'll leave. For that reason you must already have some Plan B, because a negative response could also imply that your super boss start being suspicius about your everyday commitment in your job and take actions before you do.

IMHO, it seems you have a clear view of the situation and possible (and reasonable) ways of handle it.

All the best.


Ok, so you want a different position. Did you tell your boss what position you want? Is there currently an opening? If no to either one of those, then you're asking your boss to find a fulfilling position for you, without your input. That's like asking him to read your mind (and ignore the times you lie to yourself).

Assuming that there is an opening and you've told him you want it, and you've seen no action, not even an interview with the would-be new boss, you can't assume it is your boss's shortcoming. HR is involved, as is the other boss. The opening might have requirements that you lack (or that you boss is willing to overlook in this position, but the would-be boss isn't willing to overlook). The list of reasons is long, and finally, yes, your boss might just not want to re-fill this hard to fill position.

Considering that you describe your boss as "not good boss material" and "not a good leader", I'd say that you probably don't have your boss's ear. Boss's don't transfer people they consider problematic, as they are busy building relationships with other bosses. Getting someone's "bad apples" is a real relationship killer, and even if you are a performer, remember it's your boss's opinion of you that your boss will be acting upon.

If, after a few days of attempting to see it from other eyes, you feel that your boss really is the roadblock, going to his supervisor is not going to work. You see, your boss's supervisor isn't going to jeopardize a working relationship with your boss just so he can fulfill an obligation that you think your boss has to you.

  • As mentioned earlier in my post, I specifically said what positions exactly I am looking for (departments and nature of work). Currently, there are no openings but I have spoken to hiring managers of my preferred departments and they said there are good chances there might be one in near future. Based on your comment, it seems to me that even if there is position open and the would-be boss is willing to hire, I still need to help my current boss to fill in my role. Is that true?
    – modest
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 3:52
  • @modest Well, then my post mostly misses the mark. I think I'll delete it.
    – Edwin Buck
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 17:50

If you are 100% sure you want to take another direction, try getting in touch with people who work the desired area or department. Establish a connection and fluent communication with them, and perhaps with the management/leadership of that area, so when the time comes and there's a job opening, you will be considered.

Do not contact the manager of your boss without including him. Probably remind your boss or just check for updates: "Good morning [boss name], do you have any updates regarding my development plan/career path" etc. This will work as a reminder and even though he might not be able to do something immediately, he'll have that on his mind.

Hope it helps! It's really hard to stay firm and be polite at the same time, but there is a way!


So given the above, my question is should I bring this issue directly up with my super boss so that I can really understand what's going on? Or should I just remain quiet and keep looking for jobs until I find one?

I never advise folks to intentionally go over their bosses' heads. That said, perhaps a friendly, non-accusatory chat with the guy that hired you would be useful. It might at least give you another viewpoint on the situation.

Don't be surprised if your "super boss" doesn't jump in and remedy the situation to your satisfaction. Few bosses want to play negotiator between their direct and indirect reports and undermine their direct report's position.

You should keep your options open, continue looking for a job that more closely suits your needs, and try not to burn any bridges in your current position.

  • >friendly, non-accusatory chat with the guy that hired you would be useful. @Joe This has already been done since I usually have a one-on-one with my super boss every other month or so and I told (hinted and then directly hinted) him that I would like to do something else.
    – modest
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 19:26

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