Two months ago I accepted a new job, and I'm coming to realize that this was a mistake.

I have no issues with the company or my coworkers, but I find the work I do incredibly uninteresting. More complicated or different work within the team wouldn't help; I don't think there is anything I can change within this position that will change my feelings toward the job.

However, I noticed that my company has a lot of job openings, and many of these other positions actually look quite appealing.

How should I tell my boss that I am unhappy on his team, but that there are other positions in different teams in the company which I feel I would be a better fit in?

I have no problems with the team; it's the work that I find uninteresting. Unfortunately this work is exactly what I signed up for. I was uncertain I would like the position when I took it, but decided to give it a chance. I think I can say for certain now that my original suspicions were correct.


4 Answers 4


Many companies do not allow internal transfers until you have 6 months to a year with the company.

From the organizational perspective there are good reasons for this. They want to make sure you are someone they want to keep by having a long enough performance record that they feel you are a valuable asset to the company and that you don't have trouble getting along with people. Further, hiring managers who have the less desirable jobs need to have people stay in those jobs for at least a few months to get some value out of their hire. Does this mean they lose some good people who don't want to wait out the time period before transferrring? Yes and companies are OK with that because losing one good person who can't wait four more months until he is eligilble to move is less disruptive to an organization that having one person bounce around to several different opportunites in a short period until he finds one he likes. And if the second and third try don't work out either, that person might be a job hopper who is never happy anywhere and nobody wants those.

So before you even consider applying, make sure you are eligible to apply. You should have been told company policies or been given a link to published policies when you came on board. Go look them up.

If this is a large enough company that there will often be openings in other areas that look interesting, then wait out the time requirement if there is one. There are much worse things than being bored and changing jobs just might land you in a worse place. Unless you have some highly valuable and unique qualifications most managers won't poach someone else's staff when they have been on board such a short time. They know how much they hate to lose someone so quickly. So in general I would wait until you have at least 6 months in before looking at applying for at internal jobs.

Now this might not be true in two special conditions. First, if your existing job is going away then applying for other jobs internally and externally is indicated. Second, if the positions themselves are for a new project that is going to be something the company is going to regard as much more important thn the current project, then you might have a shot at it (if you are eligible to apply). This is particularly true if the project is expected to be a big money maker. In this case, it is less risky to take on the known qualtity (you) over the unknown quantity (the guy from outside) for the high priority project and let the lower priority project have to find a new person. However, you still will need to compete with others internally and those who have been there longer may have the edge.

If you like the company and would like to transfer to another job, it would make sense to get to know the managers of those other projects and to make sure you make a name for yourself dong the work you think is boring. You want to appear to be a hot prospect and someone reliable who is a team player. If your boss has some projects where you might work cross-functionally with people outside your team, volunteer for those. If you have an awards program, do what you can to win an award. Suggest a Lunch and Learn program be set up that developers in all the different departments can attend and then volunteer to give some of the sessions. Write some blog entries about things which the other teams might find useful and then find a way to give them the link to the blog. In other words, find ways to promote yoursef and get known outside your small part of the company. Then your chances of being picked for the internal trnasfer are much greater.

  • Is the 6-12 month period usually included within contracts or HR policies? I've never come across this before and am quite interested in it!
    – Dibstar
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 8:57
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    Larger companies usually have a Handbook which is available on the intranet and/or at HR. It's usually not part of the contract, because the contract is for the job you have, not for jobs you don't have. Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 11:05

This needs some delicacy:

Most companies have trial periods (typically 90 days) for just that case. You want to avoid hiring the wrong person for the job and this gives a way out if all else fails. However, pulling the trigger in the trial period also indicates that the interview process failed and that's a serious ding (for someone) since the result is a lot of wasted time, money & energy.

Firstly your responsibility is to figure out a way to make this work. Analyze what you like and don't like about the job, what were the misconceptions that you had during the interview (you accepted the offer after all). What specific things could be done to make this job more attractive for you? Why did your boss think you'd be happy in this job?

Once you have this all properly analyzed and understood you should have discussion with your boss about it. Ideally you have some specific suggestions to which she can say yes or no. He most likely will have some suggestions and ideas on his own, so consider and discuss those.

This needs to be worked through to it's ultimate conclusion, i.e. either there is a way make this work or both you and your boss mutually agree that this is just not a good fit and the interview process wasn't doing what it was supposed to.

Then and ONLY THEN, you can bring up alternative opportunities inside the company. Every hiring manager that you apply for will as the VERY FIRST STEP call your current manager and ask what's going on. The message needs to be "Great guy, I'd love to keep him but it's just not a good fit for him because of so-and-so. He was very professional and accommodating during the whole process, I fully recommend him". Anything else probably gets you disqualified right away.


The likelihood that you would be a serious candidate for the other position(s) is quite low to zero.

Hiring from the outside brings with it an overwhelming level of risk. Threats include the candidate was not as skilled as the interview/resume/hiring process suggested, that although properly skilled not a high performer, and not a fit within the organization. Fit goes both ways here: either the org does not like you or you do not like the role/org. Since you would be exposing a lack of fitness for the role--in this case you not liking the role--their threat is being realized.

It is not a hard leap to assume that the organization would generalize this risk into the next role, as well, whether that is real or not, reasonable or not. They're human, they are already coping with a ton of risk and uncertainty, they're going to hedge their bets so that it favors them.

Not only this, but many orgs have policies where new hires cannot change until after a certain period of time. So this may stop you, too.

If you like the company, more opportunities will open up; they always do. Put your time in and then look for other opps down the line.

  • I disagree. Life is short. Don't stay at a position you don't like if opportunities exist elsewhere.
    – DA.
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 18:00
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    I think you missed my last paragraph, where I started with, "if you like the company...." Indeed, this guy is free to look, but inside the company I think his likelihood is low to zero. Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 18:05
  • I guess it depends on the company (and size) but in the 'better' companies I've been in, it was always encouraged to apply internally.
    – DA.
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 18:09
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    I think that's true generally. The qualifier with which this guy is dealing is that he is new to both his current role and to the company. That's the driver behind my answer; else, I'd agree completely with your thinking. Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 18:11
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    I disagree. In our company there's often a lot of "cross-transferring" between a few different departments. We have a primary call center for our basic services, a "customer service" center for technical support, and other departments that use similar tools for outlying areas of service, like account management, QC audits, installations, etc. People, even newbies, transfer between these positions every day, eventually settling into a position that is the best fit for their personality and skillset.
    – KeithS
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 18:16

If you, as a new employee have regular (monthly, every 2-4 months) reviews with your boss, that might be the best time to bring it up. It's expected that there might be some adjustment time for a new employee in a new role, so if they ever ask you

So, how have things been going these last couple of months?

It might be a good time to say something along the lines of

I think things are going well, and I saw an opening for $PositionABC and I'd really like to know how to transition to that!

The key to doing this, I think, is saying it right. You might want to avoid emphasizing your unhappiness/misery in your current role and just focus on your enthusiasm/interest for the other roles.

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