7

I know not to say anything in an exit interview. However, I'm not at that point, although I'm not happy at my job and am attempting (though not as hard as I could be) to leave. Instead, I am having weekly 1-on-1 meetings with my manager, in which I basically say nothing about my dissatisfaction - just provide some updates about what I'm working on.

My complaints are primarily cultural: needlessly loud workplace, distractions and interruptions abound, so they're not specifically things that my boss would address. There's nothing wrong with the work that I'm doing, I'm just not able to do it as effectively as I believe I would be able to do in a better environment. In fact, my boss is one of the main noisemakers, particularly of what I'll refer to off-topic noise (pop culture outbursts, playing music, etc. as opposed to loud but work-related discussions that are slightly more tolerable), so raising this concern could be offensive.

In this situation, is it advisable say anything? What if the situation was different - is it advisable to say anything negative in these meetings ever? Or do I just maintain a good relationship, say that everything is fine, and eventually give notice?

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    @MichaelPickett headphones don't work - for one, I want to be able to hear in 20 years, so wearing them 10 hours 5 days a week is a problem for me, and they just aren't that good at blocking highly varying noise within close proximity, as opposed to constant background drone. More importantly, headphones cannot create a quiet environment, only a differently loud one. – ghouston Nov 22 '16 at 4:56
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    If you never bring stuff up, how do you expect anything to ever improve? – Erik Nov 22 '16 at 7:00
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    @Erik I don't expect it to. I expect to leave eventually. – ghouston Nov 22 '16 at 8:41
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    It's a general comment. If you care about something, talk about it. If you don't, why even ask about mentioning it? You don't care either way. – Erik Nov 22 '16 at 8:43
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    If you are on your way out anyway, why bother to risk making things worse for yourself? Just keep quiet and find a new job. – WorkerDrone Nov 22 '16 at 12:38
11

You are having a serious crisis if you lack the resources to get your job done and you are not able to communicate this to your boss. Your lost productivity, which in the extreme would get you fired or lead you to quit, is a much more imminent risk than your boss not liking how you ask. And apparently you are weak in the "soft skill" of "communicating something slightly distressing with your boss."

So in general - Yes! You need to be able to communicate this effectively with you boss.

But more specifically

My complaints are primarily cultural: needlessly loud workplace, distractions and interruptions abound, so they're not specifically things that my boss would address. There's nothing wrong with the work that I'm doing, I'm just not able to do it as effectively as I believe I would be able to do in a better environment.

You will need to get specific.

  • Do you need fewer people walking over to your desk? Usually you want to wear headphones (with nothing playing even, this is just the cultural way of saying buzz off) and some strategies to deal with stupid questions.
  • Book "do not schedule" blocks on your calendar
  • Can you work in a different location, if you have a laptop?

Then you think about more serious requests. Like a laptop or work-from-home relationship, as you get to them.

The less sure you are that a grievance can be addressed, the more softly you bring it up. You do still want to bring up some of the stickier grievances since your boss may surprise you.

4

This depends incredibly on the company culture and your relationship with your manager. If you have an authoritarian manager who is doing 1-to-1s only because someone in HR told them to, then you're probably best just keeping quiet. On the other hand, if you have a good manager who honestly wants to improve their team, then absolutely speak up - your manager can only fix a problem if they know it exists.

As with everything, the key is about communication: explain what the problem is, and why it's causing an issue for the company. For example,

I'm feeling my productivity is being affected by the noise levels in the office

makes it clear to your manager that what you're trying to do is to improve the value you give to the company, but in return you need something back: maybe that would just be moving you to a different seat in a quieter corner of the office, or maybe your manager will raise that they're the one setting the culture and change it. Or maybe nothing will change, but at least you tried.

3

My complaints are primarily cultural: needlessly loud workplace, distractions and interruptions abound, so they're not specifically things that my boss would address. There's nothing wrong with the work that I'm doing, I'm just not able to do it as effectively as I believe I would be able to do in a better environment.

Your boss' job is to make sure that the people he manages can be as effective as possible.

Also, if there's anybody with the power to change the nature and culture of your workplace, it's him. He can change the workplace, put you in different rooms, set up rules to prevent interruptions during certain times, whatever -- it may seem hard in practice, but he's got a better chance than you do.

So tell him, and give him a chance to do his job. You can always look elsewhere if he ignores your concerns.

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