Author Matt Smith , Feb 19, 2019 10:23:24 AM

Recently a candidate, a talented young man which I had been working with for a month or so, made me aware he was no longer looking for a job and wasn't interested in hearing about opportunities anymore. From a professional point of view this was disappointing. I could definitely have secured him an improved role. However I was happy for him because he did the right thing. He did what a lot of us don't do when we are unhappy at work. He told his boss, eventually.


To give some context to this story

The candidate (let’s call him Stan), was unhappy in his job. He felt he was underpaid (which he definitely was) and he understood that the development methodologies his company used were a little old fashioned and not really fit for purpose (Stan is a Web Developer).

He told me about this. I asked if he had spoken to his employer about these things. He said he hadn't but he isn't sure that would change anything anyway. I suggested he should.


  • Maybe they could change the situation to better with Stan’s expectations, maybe Stan’s boss didn't even know there was a better way to do things!

  • I needed to be sure that Stan was clearly looking for a new job and not just looking for a new job offer to use as bargaining power with his current employer.

Anyway, Stan is a good guy and I was sure he wasn't using me. The phone call I then had with him justified my faith.

He had spoken to his employer. Their reaction was to put changes in place, to look into new ways of working, and to increase his salary in line with his colleagues and the market value. This is a story of not just a good guy (Stan) but also a good employer. An employer that listens, that cares, and that is flexible.


This is why starting a conversation with your boss can be beneficial

The value of Stan opening his mouth isn’t a better salary or even his improved working practices. It's about him being secure in the understanding that he has a good employer that will listen to him and help him. This is worth much more than a few thousand francs extra a year. However, not all bosses are receptive to feedback, so what if it didn’t work?

Well, then he was secure in the knowledge that he should be looking for a new job. Again, not because of the money etc. but because he didn't have an understanding employer which would support him. We have all had that boss that we don't trust, that we feel is out to get us or that we just know will cover themselves instead of listening to our woes. So what do you do in that situation?

My suggestion

If you don't feel comfortable talking to your employer, then you need a new employer. We spend so much time at work, so we need to be in an atmosphere we can feel comfortable and valued in. Moral of the story, be open with your employer and how you feel, be open with each other, change never came from a closed mouth. If it doesn't work out then you know where to find me.

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