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How to Express Dissatisfaction at Work

Every job has its share of things that irritate you, but when an issue affects your ability to get your job done, it might be time to let your boss know. The way you express your dissatisfaction is as important as the problem itself. If you are angry or focus on petty issues, your boss might not take your complaint seriously.

Think Before You Speak

Complaining when you’re angry or upset might make you feel better, but it isn’t the smartest thing to do for your career. If you constantly complain or complain about minor issues, you just might be labeled difficult, and that label won’t help you advance in the company. Talk a walk or get a cup of coffee if you feel you’re about to explode. When you’re calm, think about the severity of the issue. If you started the day in a bad mood, a minor issue might have seemed more important than it actually was. If the problem directly affects your job or your health or safety, it might be worth mentioning.

Solve It Yourself

You won’t win points if you go to your boss immediately every time you face an issue or problem. If you have a disagreement with a co-worker, talk to the person about the problem. Explain your viewpoint and ask for hers. The Gulf Business website suggests that you don’t approach your co-worker to vent or blame her, but instead focus on why the problem occurred. Try to find a solution that’s acceptable to both of you instead of asking your boss to intervene.

Is It Me?

It’s awfully embarrassing to complain to your boss about an issue and be told that you’ve made a significant contribution to the problem. Review the situation and think about what role you might have played in escalating the problem. If you don’t think you can be objective, describe the issue to a friend or family member and ask for his opinion. Just because you’ve contributed to the problem doesn’t mean you don’t have a valid complaint, but it’s important to take ownership of your role when you discuss the matter with your boss. If you do, he might be much more receptive.

Focus on Business

One of your boss' primary concerns is ensuring that his department is successful. If you appeal to this interest, you’re more likely to obtain a satisfactory result to your complaint. You might feel overwhelmed after recent layoffs reduced the size of your department. While you legitimately feel stressed, tired and burnt out, your complaint might be more effective if you tell your boss that you’re concerned that the department won’t meet its quarterly goal if you don’t get some extra help.


Working at a humane society allowed Jill Leviticus to combine her business management experience with her love of animals. Leviticus has a journalism degree from Lock Haven University, has written for Nonprofit Management Report, Volunteer Management Report and Healthy Pet, and has worked in the healthcare field.