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I have been working at company X for nearly a year now in a software related role. Around 3-4 months into working at X, I began to feel the role was not as advertised and a lot of the work I have been doing from then up to now is both menial and does not resound with my skills in the slightest.

When I felt I could no longer shrug these feelings off, I had a meeting with my line manager, (let's call him J) to discuss how I was feeling and what improvements could be made. A couple of months passed and I felt nothing had improved so I arranged another meeting with J to discuss the same thing to no avail. At this point, J's boss spoke to me privately ensuring that me that the work and my overall situation would be improving soon.

Fast forward till a couple of weeks back from now, still nothing. At this point, I arranged a meeting with our HR department to discuss the possibility of moving departments as I was very unhappy and did not want to leave, as X was a great company. Needless to say, HR was very accommodating and I actually felt listened to for once in a while which was nice. The problem now is that I haven't heard back from them for over two weeks.

I feel disappointed that I am not being taken seriously despite many meetings being arranged between quite a few different people over a 3-4 month period. I'm not quite sure what the next steps look like for me, but I want to at least try to follow up with HR. How can I do this without coming across like I'm bothering everyone with my problem?

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    There's a thing that I want to know, are you using arguments when you talk to them ? I mean you can't just say I want to change department because I feel that I can do more and end of the story. If there's a good project in another department and they're SHORT OF PEOPLE, because they can't have a department with 100 people and leave the other with 1, you can ask about changing department using arguments like : I know about the other project, my skills in doing this and that may prove to be useful, and then it's up to them to decide the if you can be of use or not.
    – Noblesse
    Mar 26, 2019 at 8:46
  • The company needs someone to do X. You've shown that you're capable and at least nominally willing to do X. Any departure from the status-quo requires additional effort from HR and/or your management, which they're clearly not invested in spending. You need to make the decision as to whether you're going to continue to put up with it, or whether you're going to look for something new.
    – brhans
    Feb 7 at 13:51
  • Have you, in any of these discussions, asked about the timeline? Tried to suggest some dates?
    – Stian
    Feb 8 at 15:11

6 Answers 6

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Time to move on.

You've brought this up, they told you they are gonna help you, but they didn't. Repeat 3 times.
You now expect another result the 4th time?

As long as you keep putting up with this, they will too. They've shown you what they think you're worth to them by not trying to at least try to accommodate your wishes (after 3! conversations about it).
And if you indicate that you can do more than basic tasks, but they still don't try to check out the potential? Not very smart IMO.

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Is your company big? It might be an issue with the company size as companies with sizes over 100 employees may have trouble keeping track with how employees are utilized.

You do not want to leave, or do you feel that you have no options leaving? Working for a fabulous-sounding company does not matter if you're not growing in there in terms of skills to say the least.

Seriously consider leaving.

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  • smaller companies can also have limited management resources. Had the same issue as OP, in a company managed by 2 partners with ~20 consultants. "Hey boss, [discussion] can I get a response before the end of the month, it's important? end of month [excuses with commercial work and holidays] -> netx month the same -> next month I resigned, and I made a good hop in experience and salary.
    – Pac0
    Feb 8 at 17:02
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HR departments can be notoriously slow, especially in bigger companies, but given you've attempted to resolve this with multiple people for several months now, I'd hope they would at least try to expedite the process. Definitely do a follow up with them to find out where they are at in the process and when you can expect a response/follow-up (they really should have given you this the first time you met with them, not left the situation open-ended).

The key thing you will want to bear in mind when they do eventually get back to you is that you don't want more empty platitudes. You can reasonably expect that they will come back to you and explain that nothing will change immediately, but at the same time don't accept vague promises that people will try to make things better in the future or that it's something they're working towards. Instead, you'll ideally want to come away with some formal plan for what will change and some firm timelines for when. Then you have something to hold the company accountable to if they continue to do nothing, and more importantly, you give yourself a firm cut-off point where you can say you've tried everything and enough is enough.

In the meantime, certainly brush up your resume and start looking at other opportunities. You have to accept that there is at least the possibility that this isn't something the company can, or is willing to, change.

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    My experience is that HR won't just move you to a different department these days. You'll need to find a team with an opening and apply for it. There may be a "career counselor" that has the list of internal openings, but they won't do much other than asking the other lead to consider you.
    – pboss3010
    Mar 26, 2019 at 16:10
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The way I dealt with a similar situation in the past was to find a posted job opening in another department and simply apply (using the internal job transfer process) for it, ideally after talking to the manager about why you would be a great addition to their team.

If your company is so small that there is no published process for applying for an internal transfer, then you might want to discreetly ask around and find people who have switched departments to ask them how they accomplished that.

The trick is not to express that you are unhappy, but to show that there is another open position where you can contribute more to the company.

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At 3-4 months. In most jobs, you are still learning the product and the environment, and are likely to be given tasks targeted to helping you learn those. As you demonstrate competence in those you'll get more substantial tasks. If you really think you're ready for those now, talk to your manager about it. Changing assignments means another learning curve period and may not accomplish what you want as well as a bit of patience and focus will.

BUT: Assuming you can't get this fixed even with your manager's assistance:

You should still start with the managers, not with HR. Let your current manager know you'd like to change departments and ask if they could keep an ear out for openings in related groups or other projects on site. You don't necessarily even have to say why beyond the fact that you're feeling some burnout and think a change of focus would help you do your best work. (Though if management is aware of and sympathetic to your issues, that can help a lot. Your manager may even be able to fix the problem in the current group if they realize it's affecting people this badly.) Talk to first-line managers of groups that interface with yours and ask if they might be interested in your moving over, or if they know of a group that needs your skills.

And, yes, if there are internal job listings by all means use them to help find and apply for the positions you are interested in.

Difficulty of transferring is often proportional to how many steps up you have to go to find the manager who oversees both projects. But I successfully requested and got a jump between divisions (after a lot of interviewing with groups nearer me in the management tree...), so it can be done if management agrees that you're a good candidate there.

They may tell you that you can't move until some milestone has been passed. But simply knowing that you will be moving may help you cope until then.

If management tells you there really are no internal openings, then it's time to start thinking about looking outside.

And if management is not admitting an issue exists and at least trying to solve it, then you may have to go to HR. But remember that their first question is going to be "couldn't you work this out through your management chain?" Managing their people is what managers are supposed to be doing, after all.

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First, do not take yourself seriously, do not take on a rigid, demanding approach or demeanor over this. Laugh at it, even if you have to force a laugh, just to break that rigidity. The first step is to NOT take yourself seriously, or the job so seriously that you are focusing on what is not quite right about it.

At a new job it is not uncommon to be given menial work and float around for a bit, as other people need to adjust also and get things in order so that you can begin to take the more serious tasks on. Just put this out of your mind, have the only condition for the job be that it is tolerable for right now.

Now, a guaranteed way to quickly move up in the hierarchy within a company both interpersonally and in terms of the tasks and position you have there, is to do your best at whatever task they give you, and never question why it was given to you, EVER. Never complain that a task does not match your skill set... new employees in a sense have no skill set, regardless of their experience, this is something you demonstrate at work when given different tasks.

The boss or people in charge are looking for people who:

  1. Do not shift blame, but take immediate responsibility and are not afraid to admit a mistake, instead working immediately to correct the mistake. Mistakes are inevitable, it is how you handle them that is important and builds TRUST.

  2. Avoid all forms of drama, gossip, having talking circles out by the smoker's area about what everybody hates about their job that day, do not entertain any form of ruminating on why the job is bad or not as good as it could be, this guarantees a stagnant position in the company.

  3. Do not bring other people's mistakes to the attention of the boss, EVER. Even in the event that you might be perceived as the one who made the mistake when you didn't, if you find yourself in a position to fix the mistake without telling anybody that it was not your mistake, then you start to move in to the true alpha level of employee. The fact is, eventually people will naturally learn that you fixed a problem when it wasn't even your fault, and didn't even complain about it. This will get you a raise or better position in the company like nothing else will.

Treat every task as though it is equally the most important task there is, do everything as best you can, and remember, do NOT take yourself seriously, that is what you want other people to do, when we do that ourselves we prevent them from doing it, and we undermine ourselves and the social connections suffer.

Do not think beyond these immediate rules or commandments, do not think "I will do this for 6 months like this but after that I will demand more." I cannot stress enough how damaging and counterproductive it is to take oneself too seriously or to be rigid and conditional in your behavior. Always be professional, polite, do not gossip or point out others' mistakes - that is the hallmark of a quality employee that they will want to compensate better to make sure they stay with the compnany. When we first start a job, we are always a nobody, it doesn't matter who you were when you first walked in. If you can remain humble and professional and easy to manage from a managerial perspective then you will catch the attention of the executives or bosses of the company.

You have to operate on faith, ignore the ego, and be an ideal employee to the best of your ability. If you can do that, you will not have to ever ask for a raise, and you will liklely be given privledges within the company that others will not be given.

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