“How should I tell Senior Management I don’t want to work for my new boss?”

Question: I’ve been working for my current employer for 14 years with steady promotions and pay raises along the way. I’ve never received a bad review. Today I was assigned to a new boss who, to be frank, is someone I really can’t stand. He has a tremendous ego, he always tries to make himself look good at the expense of others, and I have seen him step on many others. How can I tell Senior Management that I don’t want to work for this person?

I’m sure you will tell me that in today’s job market I should be grateful just to have a job. What do you recommend I do?

Caroline
Novato, California

Answer: I do believe that in this economy, as in every economy, every employed person should be appreciative of having a job. But that does not mean that an employee should not take steps to maintain that job as a job that is enjoyable, in which the employee is productive, and in which the employee would like to remain.

If you have been with your employer for 14 years, with steady promotions, and steady pay raises, and never received a bad review, you are unusually VALUABLE and VALUED. Very few employees have such great, long-term records on the job as you do. Very few employees have shown such loyalty, such productivity, and possess so much “historical knowledge” as you do. Really: employees like you are very rare, indeed. Don’t underestimate that. And such great value to your employer gives you something: great leverage, or ability to get what you want, from your employer.

I suggest you write a respectful letter to one or two members of Senior Management that follows the following general script, using your own words, thoughts and feelings:

“I have been here 14 years, with steady promotions, steady pay raises, and steady positive reviews. I am loyal, hard-working, and love my job. I would like to keep it forever. However, with the greatest of respect for everyone, I want to request that I be re-assigned a different boss than the new boss I have just been assigned to. Without casting blame on anyone, for there is no blame to cast, I really, really don’t think I can be as productive, as focused, as loyal as I have always been if I continue working under his supervision. Might I be considered for a transfer, so I can continue being the “best employee I can?” It would be very, very much appreciated. More importantly, I believe it would be better for the company, the customers, my colleagues, and even for my new boss, too.”

Of course, you should use your own words, your own thoughts, and your own facts. I always say that, so long as a request is accompanied by respect, reasonability, and a good rationale – here, your continued productivity – there really should be no downside.

Is there some risk of negative repercussions? Yes. There is risk in everything you do. But there is risk, too, in not doing anything to help yourself, especially where, as here, you have told me that you foresee losing your job if you continue to work with this new boss.

Give it some thought. Perhaps take counsel with loved ones. But don’t think yourself to be powerless. To do that is to hurt yourself; and you can’t blame anyone for that.

Hope this helps. I really do.

Best, Al Sklover

© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

If you would like to obtain a “model” memo to help you report
hostility or harassment by a manager [click here].