How to Ask Your Boss for a Reassignment – Like a Pro

Estimated reading time: 8 mins

It is very common these days for professionals in a workforce to feel that they are in the wrong job. In times when companies are trying to function with fewer resources, employees often find themselves in situations where they are over-qualified, under-qualified and even unqualified for the duties that they are trusted with. If you find yourself in any of these categories in your existing job, it is perhaps time for you to have a conversation with your boss to find a more suitable position. However, having this talk might not be a walk in the park and you will have to prepare for it. In this blog post, I will help you do just that!

Take a Deep Breath and Consider the Worst-Case Scenario

Talking a deep breath is a great way to calm your nerves. Give yourself some time to compose yourself around the issue that you want to discuss before taking any action. Read how meditation can be the key to your personal development. You should also give yourself some time in considering the worst-case scenario if you have this conversation. Being prepared is the best way to calm those tensed nerves of yours. However, if your fear persists then perhaps you will need to take more time to sort out how you would like to approach the situation in your mind before talking to your boss.

Take Ownership of Your Situation

You need to realise that no matter how bad your current situation is, you did opt for it on your own and no one forced you to accept the job or take these unwanted added responsibilities you find yourself in now. You need to understand that you are not enslaved to your job, your boss or your company and that you are paid to provide a specific service. Hence, if the relationship seems to have hit the rocks then there is nothing wrong with being truthful and trying to renegotiate. In fact, if you have a sensible boss then chances are that s/he will respect you more for taking control of your own career.

Decide Where You Want To Be and Why

Whenever you will have the conversation, it is likely for your boss to want to know the things that you want to do in a new position. It is a good idea to be prepared with a detailed plan of your own, because if you do not know what you want then you should not expect your boss to know either.  Have an idea of the kind of direction you would like to take within your organisation. It is possible for your boss to offer another idea but you will have to make sure that his/her proposed opportunity aligns with at least some of your short-term goals and will have a positive impact on some of your long-term goals as well.

Create Your Pitch but Never Make a Whole Script

It is important for you to know some key points you want to make when you have this conversation with your boss about a reassignment. You could make a list of items but try to keep your pitch brief. It is very acceptable to bring a small list into your conversation to help maintain a clear focus, but do not write out a whole script of how you would like the conversation to be. Your pitch will need to come out as natural and authentic as possible.

Set the Perfect Time

You should know your boss’s style and the meeting should be set at a convenient time for him/her. Does s/he like formal meetings in the office or is it better to have a more casual time over coffee or some drinks? You may want to ask around if you are unsure about anything. Once your plan is in place, you should set up a 30-minute meeting to discuss how you can help in improving the business. That will need to be a big part of your entire pitch anyways.

Your Goals Need To Be a Win-Win

Before going for the meeting, figure out how the business can improve by your proposed changes. It can be increased employee morale, greater productivity or simply the company’s bottom line. If you are finding it difficult to come up with anything then perhaps it is time to adjust your goals accordingly. Of course, your ultimate goal will be to enhance your career. However, any your suggested moves will need to have a positive impact on your company’s business and you will need to be prepared to talk about both.

Do Not Just Speak, but Also Listen

Remember to not take this conversation as a plea or some kind of an interview. It will need to be a professional two-way conversation between professionals who have set one common goal: to help make your business better. That is why it is important for you to understand that your boss will have his/her own objectives and goals and that will need to remain in your head when you walk in with your own goals and how you intend to make these changes. Adjust your pitch accordingly and listen to your boss. The essence on your pitch will need to be that you are trying to enhance your own career by making a positive contribution to your organisation. You should be able to walk away successful if you keep that in mind throughout your conversation.

Know When to Make Your Request

If you have a habit of requesting a reassignment then you need to know how often is too often to move. Look at your specific reasons for the reassignment and make sure that your reasons make sense not just to you, but also your boss. Up until quite recently, it used to look bad if an employee switched jobs, even within the same company more often than once every two years. While the IT industry has made changing jobs frequently more acceptable, doing it too often might make it look like a problem (or make YOU look like a problem to be exact). Therefore, it is prudent not to ask for reassignment and transfers too often. This might make you look unproductive and unstable. Think careful about any reassignments to make sure they match your long-term employment and personal goals.

Know Your Reasons to Do It

There can be a variety of reasons for you to ask your boss for a reassignment. Below are some to help you build your case:

  • Not Challenged Enough. If you feel bored and unchallenged, you will need to ask your boss for additional responsibilities and duties to demonstrate initiative. Showing that you are up for a challenge and successfully doing this may earn you a raise!
  • Not Being Compensated. Always keep your employment portfolio updated with your accomplishments and trainings well noted. Be sure to use this information to request a reassignment.
  • Problem with Your Supervisor or Co-Worker. You will need to work things out through before requesting a transfer; otherwise, you might face the same problem in the new department. However, if you suffered sexual harassment then a transfer is perhaps the prescribed official remedy. Check out this blog post on how to Fight For Your Rights As An Employee.
  • Looking for a Promotion. Remember that transfers do not usually constitute a promotion or pay raise. Change for the sake of change might seem a bit irresponsible. You might want to consider working for an agency that offers a selection of changing job avenues as they pay more for the travel compensation. Healthcare professionals such as doctors do locum jobs along with their full-time jobs and get paid much higher for it.
  • Want To Work Overseas. It is a great idea if you want to work in a different country. Your employer will need to sponsor your transfer and you will need to check out the specifics such as work visas, travel and passport requirements, etc.
  • Health Reasons. It might be that your current job site is in a city with harsher climate conditions and there is another office location with warmer climate. Pregnancy can mean that some departments are unsafe to work in and that can be a strong reason for your move

Prepare Your Reassignment Request Letter

Once everything is sorted and your boss has given you the greenlight, you might have to also send through a formal transfer request letter. Below is a sample letter that you could use:

[Name of Supervisor or HR Director]

[Name of Company]

[Company Address]

[Date of Letter]

Dear [Supervisor/HR Director]:

The [name of department], department of [name of company] is accepting applications for [job title] and is considering internal hiring. I am submitting my CV for your consideration for a reassignment to this new position.

I have been working for [name of company] for the last [number] years/months, as a [your current job title]. I am glad that I have found an efficient and professional organisation with good communications. This organisation is supportive of its employees as well as their development. Now, I want to continue to advance my professional growth with your firm, which will also help me move my career ahead.

I have made the following major contributions to the company thus far and I believe these can be used in the new position to good advantage:

  • Contribution A
  • Contribution B
  • Contribution C
  • Contribution D

I hope that these accomplishments coupled with my increasing skills will bring further profits and productivity through this new position. I look forward to continued development and growth within this firm throughout my career.

I thank you for your consideration and look forward to serving the company in fresh and ever expanding capacities.

Yours Sincerely,

[Your Signature Inserted Here]

[Your Name Inserted Here]

[Your Job Title/Department Here]


These are my thoughts on how you could ask your boss for a reassignment. Do share your experiences with our readers in the comments section below. I also encourage you to have a look at our blog post on how to deal with a boss who always undermines you.

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