I had mentioned to my boss that I'd like to change roles.. it seems he wasn't too excited about it as he stalled and reneged on a few verbally-agreed upon meetings(with another boss, for whom I could work).

Well, he said that the job-role change can be brought up at my performance review meeting. Which somewhat seems strange to me..

Is it OK? Should I be cautious here and simply say something like "Although I find my current role interesting , I'd like a more challenging role..?

  • 3
    How long have you been in your current role? There really is no way to address this situation adequately without knowing if it has been 3 months, 1 year, 5 years, etc.
    – enderland
    Oct 1, 2012 at 15:18

4 Answers 4


This really depends on corporate culture. In some companies, it may be inappropriate to discuss changing job roles during a performance review. In other corporate cultures, this may be perfectly acceptable.

The way you can tell is either to ask your boss, ask HR, or talk with colleagues or observe the norms of the company.

In this case, the answer is clear. Your boss asked you to discuss the change during your performance review; thus, it would be perfectly acceptable to do so during that time. :)

In terms of what you should say, being positive is always good. Saying you want more challenges is definitely better than saying your job sucks and you hate your boss. Indicating that you're ready for more challenges is a good way to bring up the subject.


Sounds like the performance review is the perfect time.

My biggest advice would be to be open minded and ready to be productive no matter what comes your way. I can see a boss wanting decided, planned, one on one time to discuss no matter whether the situation is bad or good. Either way, people's careers are important and they deserve time to take in thoughtful feekback and ask questions.

Since the situation comes filtered through your view, I can't really tell you whether your boss is deliberately blocking meetings with other bosses who might offer new positions, nor can I tell why.

I'd definitely bring it up, but probably from the somewhat cautious angle of "this is what I want, what do you think I need to work on to get there?" - it comes across much better than "when I can have a promotion?"


In a performance review meeting, would it be inappropriate to talk about switching roles?

Not at all. This is a great time to talk about your future growth with the company. As others have said define your goals with what it would take to get you to a position you want to be in.

I had mentioned to my boss that I'd like to change roles.. it seems he wasn't too excited about it as he stalled and reneged on a few verbally-agreed upon meetings(with another boss, for whom I could work).

It sounds like your boss may not want you to change your role. There could be many reasons for this.

  • You could be practically irreplacable in your current role. There are some people that just naturally take to certian roles and are extra productive there. It takes time to train a replacement and often the replacements never come close to the productivity of that star.
  • The manager does not think you would be good at that role. This may be justified or not. Some managers have difficulty seeing beyond the boxes they put people in. Any job that isnt basically the same as the one being performed they believe is a risk of failure. And the manager sees a failed promotion as a failure of themselves, or that it reflects poorly on them. This also may or may not be justified based on the company culture.
  • There are real costs associated with a change in positions. There are training costs for you and for your replacement. There are costs assocated with getting you set up to do the new role, as well other costs. Many managers get bonuses, or have goals associatated with their review to the profitability of their area. These costs tend to pressure managers not to allow to much change in their areas.
  • There are other reasons that are real though less valid from a business stand point as well.

But the bottom line is your manager is delaying talking about your position change. If your review is coming up in the next month or so I would not push the issue. But it is not inapproriate for you to discuss this with your manager at a time other than your review. If your review is 3+ months out then I would try to get your manager to sit down and talk about the change before the review.

If the manager refuses I would have a discussion with your HR rep. They should be able to help you understand how career planning works within your company. If you have alternatives to waiting for your review. I would go into the meeting with HR as a time to ask questions. I would not try to throw your manager under the bus. As soon as you do the HR rep is likely to change from someone trying to help you to an advocate for your manager.

  • Learn the process
  • Define your goal
  • Make a plan of action to achieve that goal using the process
  • Act on your plan.

It is entirely possible that your company will make it difficult for you to change roles. You should prepare for that as well. You need to know what is most important to you.


Typically as a part of the performance review process there is a discussion of goals for the coming year. Theses goals can be metrics (reduce defect rate by 10%), or they can be based on tasks (complete phase II of the big project). One or more is usually labeled personal development.

Sometime the personal development helps the employee, sometimes it helps the company, but frequently it helps both. Many times goals are about training. The employee wants the company to send them the a training class, or to pay for a college class.

This time make the personal development goal one that will get you moving towards the job switch. Take a class, assist another group to learn part of the job. This is the perfect time to discuss it. You are supposed to be talking about what was good about the past year, and how can you improve.

Typically there is a time period of a few days or weeks where the employee is supposed to do a self review, and to wrie their goals. Use this time to plan this transition.

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