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I am at a point where I am not enjoying my current role anymore. I am thinking to start networking within my current company to explore some of the roles that I might be interested in. Am I suppose to inform my manager explicitly about it? If I do so, I am a little concerned that it would alarm my manager even when I don't have anything concrete right now and would do more damage to me.

Note: I am not saying that I intend to apply for a job within my company without telling my current manager. All I am asking is about networking and informational interview type activities and just to discuss my career interests.

  • @FrustratedWithFormsDesigner This question specifically asks for advice and strategy on a very specific situation i.e. how to network within your company, and nothing else. – modest Oct 31 '12 at 15:51
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    You talk about not enjoying your role, and ask about whether or not you should inform your manager. Both of those issues come up in that linked question. That's why I posted that link. I am not saying that this question is a duplicate, but I thought it would still have some insights that you might find useful. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Oct 31 '12 at 15:55
  • @FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Got it! Thanks for the clarification. – modest Oct 31 '12 at 22:28
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In the same position, I would start by talking to my manager about why I'm dissatisfied with my current role. Perhaps there is something he can do to improve the situation. If not, perhaps he'll be willing to help you find another role within the company.

Imagine yourself in your manager's position for a minute. When would you want to hear that someone is not happy in their role? When the individual is about to quit on you? Third-hand through another manager? Or when the problem can still be resolved?

Or, if the problem can't be resolved, would you rather be ready to replace the individual, while helping them move onward and upward? Or would you rather find out when it's too late?

Now, if you're straight with your manager about your dissatisfaction and they're not willing to do anything, that's a different matter. Then you can freely go behind their back and schmooze other managers. If your manager is not happy that you chose to solve the problem yourself, that's their problem, not yours.

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Ideally, your manager should have the best interests of the company in mind. If you are a talented employee and dissatisfied with your current position, it is in both you and your manager's interest (ideally...) to change that situation. This could result in a different assignment entirely or simply shifting responsibilities.

Am I suppose to inform my manager explicitly about it?

You probably do not have to - assuming you have talked with him or her about your current dissatisfaction. Otherwise, you probably should first have a conversation with them regarding your interests (see above).

If you have made no indication of this to your manager, they will likely be a bit hurt if word gets back to them, and this may hurt your reputation within the company. Depending on what level of networking you do people may ask your manager about you, which will likely be a 'give-away' you are looking.

  • You may not be dissatisfied with your position. You could just see an opportunity to grow, further your career, or just change to avoid becoming dissatisfied. But in most companies that I have been involved with not including your manager in a request is a big mistake. They are going to find out about the request anyway you might as well get them on board. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Nov 7 '12 at 15:01
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This is one of those vague "yes eventually" cases. If you have a good repore with your manager, sooner rather than later is better and it should be as pdr describes - it's quite possible that if you are bored your manager can point the way towards something better for you. The managers I've liked the most have been those that said (in word and deed) - "I'd rather have a friendly collegue in another department than an enemy working for me."

But I've had to pick and choose with managers - if your repore with the individual is not strong, you might start with those work connections who are a stronger case of repore - for example, if you have a mentor, particularly awesome collegues or groups that you are close to - you might ask around. I find that it's safe enough, politically to ask questions that boil down to "what are you up to?" and "do you need any help?" - since it's really just keeping your eyes open and seeing what the whole business looks like.

OTOH - if your desperation level has gone all the way to wanting to ask collegues - "Can I work with you? Get me out!!", then it's time to consider what will go better - having your manager hear from another manager that you were probing for a new position or telling him yourself? Trust me, telling him yourself will work better in 90% of the cases. Managers don't appreciate hearing from others that their people are unhappy when they don't know themselves.

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