What do you say to your boss when you feel unsupported?
April 29, 2014 8:55 AM Subscribe
Help me communicate my dissatisfaction with a business decision that impacts my professional development. Related: is this even a good idea?
posted by jph to Work & Money (25 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have worked for a big prestigious state bureaucracy for almost four years. During that time, I became licensed to practice law. Like most bosses, my executive director has been theoretically supportive of my progress... eventually... down the line... someday... But the fact is that he benefits hugely from having an attorney in his office, and now there are some very basic cost and time factors associated with my license. He's not willing to pay for any of those things, and I even recently had to use personal time to take a mandatory ethics course to maintain my license.
Recently, I was asked to do something (uncompensated) for another branch of the bureaucracy that would be a nice feather in my professional cap. The verdict came back yesterday that I would need to use personal time to do that, and that I'd need to disclose it in the state conflict of interest database. Now, setting aside the fact that they clearly don't understand the idea of what could possibly constitute a "conflict of interest" (since this is unpaid, and all in service to the same state institution!), this seems really punitive to me. It would be virtually no cost to them to let me take two half days. Instead, they're insisting that I use my accrued personal time, essentially paying for the privilege of taking on this extra activity for the institution.
Okay, so the writing is on the wall and they're communicating clearly to me that they don't support my professional development. So I'm putting my ducks in a row and planning to take my ball and go home. I feel like I need to respond in some way to express how disappointed I am and how unsupported I feel, but I don't have the right words to do that - and I'm not even sure that's a good tactical move.
On the one hand, I am unsupported, and so the clear answer is: screw what you should "say" and find a new job with a boss/firm/institution that supports your professional development.
On the other hand, I don't want to just roll over, play dead, and slink off to a new job when I finally find one - without first at least letting them know that I feel unsupported and giving them the opportunity to make it right.
On the third hand (so many hands), I don't want to poison the well and make my current position more antagonistic than it already is.
How to navigate?