I'm bored at my job. I haven't learned a thing in the year that I've been there and I'm rebuffed whenever I request to be able work on a task that I would find more interesting (after having my daily tasks finished or well-in-hand, of course), or suggest a small project that I could take on that I believe would contribute positively.

I've repeatedly expressed my frustration, especially since I've been stuck with my least favorite set of responsibilities out of the rotation we work through for far longer than the normal rotation. I've been told that I'm doing such a good job that I am extremely valuable at that station.

Long story short, I'm outta there. There are enough other reasons for me to want to leave that I'm not considering requesting additional compensation for my boredom/stated value to the company. I also know that this has been an issue in the past (I've become friendly with an old employee who quit for exactly this reason) and is quite unlikely to change (based on conversations with my senior supervisor).

I anticipate an exit interview, or at least some kind of grilling from the boss, at which time I would like to be able to explain, clearly and firmly, that I'm leaving because I'm bored out of my skull, don't see any prospects for professional advancement, and wish that I could have done a lot more for the company. I feel like I've expressed this pretty explicitly already, but I suspect that it hasn't come through as clearly as I think.

I'm looking for suggestions as to how to get these sentiments across diplomatically. I'm also willing to accept "don't bother, just tell them you're moving on" as an answer, which is actually what I'm leaning towards.


4 Answers 4


A few thoughts based on the effects:

  • The neutral case to state the positive things in the new job and let your management try to intuit the reason, assuming they care. "I'm leaving for a better opportunity and a greater challenge" Because it's nice and vague, they won't take it as a criticism, but you risk the problem that they won't get a subtle hint that you were bored out of your skull. It's a neutral - if they liked your work, it doesn't burn any bridges of you coming back to work there at some time in the future.

  • A more pointed approach is more risky - "I feel my pleas for a greater challenge were not recognized or not taken seriously, so I lost faith in developing my career within this company". The goal here is not to assign blame ("you didn't listen to my frustration!", "you pidgeonholed me into a boring job") - but to be a bit more direct on where the ball was dropped. You felt you asked and got turned down, repeatedly, and this is a real gap. If they could change it, maybe the next guy won't quit. The real risk here is that if your bosses refused your requests for a challenge because they felt you couldn't take on more work and do it well, then this statement will seem irrational to them. If they agree that you aren't challenged, you risk very little.

  • Even more pointed and more risky - "from observation and experience, this company has no interest in developing employees past a certain point. I know I'm not the first and if practices don't change, I'm unlikely to be the last who left because I saw absolutely no reason to stay. If I can't learn new things, develop new skills, and be a greater benefit to the company in the process, then I owe it to myself to find a place that supports my ambition." Riskier because you're basically saying "look, you guys don't pay attention, it's bitten you before - whether you knew it or not - and I've been networking with other employees enough to see a real trend".

How pointed you get about this has a lot to do with how much you think you may ever want to return. The more pointed you get about the management issues, the more your manager may feel attacked and uninterested in ever rehiring you. That's about the only real risk I can see here.

While companies do take exit interviews seriously (at least sometimes) the truth is if you couldn't make change happen from within the organization, it's unlikely you'll make it happen by quitting and being clear about the reason.

  • I suppose there is an element almost of spite, born of frustration, in my desire to explain my departure. Your breakdown of the levels of frankness is very helpful. Number two seems like it might be the right way to go, although your end note about being unable to change the organization (and why should I want to?) rings true to me.
    – user3511
    Commented Feb 9, 2013 at 8:04
  • 2
    Good answer. Like @JoshCaswell already touched on, my advice is to resist the temptation to "give them a piece of your mind". It's spite and frustration and you will regret it afterwards. I also wholly endorse the last paragraph of the answer. The culture of a company is not going to change by you leaving, it's too engrained. If they weren't sensitive enough to pick up the vibe when you were there, your leaving won't cause any deeper soul-searching. And quite frankly, why should you care? You're out of there.
    – pap
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 11:55
  • 1
    I'll offer one counter thought - when there is a BIG attrition, and the company sees a palpable loss because of it - then it's not unusual for managers to dig throught their recollection of the "why?" of exit interviews. At that point, you may have post-humous impact if you were eloquent enough for them to remember what you said without feeling offended by it.... but you'll probably never know. Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 15:18

Focus on getting a good result for yourself. In the exit interview, or generally upon leaving, most people want to leave with a good relationship with the other people who are likely at some stage to re-appear in your career in future.

When they ask why you're leaving, you can say something like: "I received an offer which I found interesting."

If they ask what is interesting about it, you can talk about the level of responsibility, the tasks, the scope, etc. Talk about the new role and what's interesting, and do not compare it to the current role, even implicitly - ie don't say "more challenging", just say "challenging". If they ask for a direct comparison, evade that, and redirect it back to a description of the new role, independent of the current role.

If they ask if they could have done anything to keep you, this is where you have an opportunity to gently explain the things that they could have changed that may have kept you interested. But remember, your goal is to keep them onside for the future, and have them see you as a positive person who they could have benefitted from keeping. Now that you're leaving, changing their approach doesn't matter to you any more.

Finally, remember that their view of you may be different to your own view of yourself. If they don't regret losing you, then your opinion won't carry any weight. If they think of you as just being bitter about not getting what you wanted, and they think you weren't ready for that, then it's also not going to carry much weight. Sadly, it's really hard to have an impact on management in an organisation until you have fulfilled their personal criteria.

  • 1
    +1 for "I received an offer which I found interesting." This is a good way to answer without exposing yourself too much. That is, rather than state whether and why you first went out looking for a job, you could simply state the end-result of the process, which after turning in your resignation, should have been totally clear to everybody anyway.
    – jdb1a1
    Commented Feb 9, 2013 at 19:40
  • 1
    This seems to be essentially the same advice as Kevin gives, but the concrete details are more helpful. "...have them see you as a positive person who they could have benefitted from keeping" is indeed my goal -- I just need to focus on "I have this new opportunity I can't pass up" rather than "You morons, you should have done X."
    – user3511
    Commented Feb 9, 2013 at 21:18

Just say a better opportunity came along. If they press you, you can tell them why the new offer was attractive and let them make the comparisons themselves.

There's nothing for you to gain in the exit interview. But if you are too forthright, you can lose the goodwill of people you are leaving behind. Someday they may be working for some company you would like to join.

  • 2
    Good answer. Tell them why you believe your new job will be more interesting, don't complain about the job you just quit being boring. If they're smart, they'll join the dots. If they're not, well, just forget about them. Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 23:05
  • 1
    You're suggesting, essentially, a non-answer -- an evasion of the topic -- when "Why are you leaving?" is put to me? Just describe the new job rather than the old one, and deflect the topic entirely?
    – user3511
    Commented Feb 9, 2013 at 7:59
  • 1
    @JoshCaswell yep pretty much. I agree with Kevin, there's nothing to gain in an exit interview, and a risk of burning bridges. I've always made it my practice to say as little as possible. Commented Feb 9, 2013 at 21:08

I think it really depends on your relationship with your employer, but in general, the point of an exit interview is to try to fix problems that occur. If you work at a decent employer, they should be receptive to negative feedback as long as it is presented in a way that indicates you are trying to help them to understand the problems that lead to you feeling it was time to move on. It's key to make sure you present it in such a way that you are trying to help them as an organization who you are thankful for your time with, even though that time has now past.

I did this with my previous employer who I also largely left for reasons of boredom as well as some more serious issues that they needed to work out and I was actually given a standing offer to come back if I ever wanted to, despite my rather direct and pointed complaints. Delivery is key.

  • Would it be possible for you to be more concrete in describing your "direct and pointed complaints"? I may not have been clear enough in my post that figuring out the delivery feels like my primary problem.
    – user3511
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 19:25
  • 1
    @JoshCaswell - it was a year ago now, so I don't remember the specific details, but generally you want to include both the good and the bad and explain why the bad was enough to make it feel like it was time to move on. Don't blame, keep an attitude of liking the people and wanting to help. It's really hard to judge anyone's particular situation though because it's a complex thing based on your relationship with the people involved. Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 19:47

You must log in to answer this question.