When I switch jobs I have colleagues that we get along and keep in touch. When we meet I'm find myself in a situation where I have to explain about my current employer and the job I do and to give feedback whether is a good place to work or not.

I usually find myself stretched between the two absolutes:

  • The job is particularly uninteresting. Not having much in common with the colleagues, the pointy-haired clueless bosses, short deadlines, unneeded late nights, bureaucracy, etc. This is almost always true. But being honest it's not the worst job ever. It's software engineering, pays well, work from home. I don't want to be a pretentious Prima donna and should be grateful for just having a job.

  • "Amazing opportunities", "exceptional colleagues", "cutting-edge technologies" and being the optimistic show-off. It's the honeymoon description of a job, I've been in this situation but the last time I left after just a few months. Also it looks very superficial. You can see such flattering words in the farewell e-mails that just makes me sick. Let's be honest, I don't want this marketing fluff.

What's a good way to express slight dissatisfaction but general gratitude from a job to a person who's in your shoes?

  • 5
    Why do you feel like you need to either grumble about your job or praise it as wonderful? Why can't you simply talk about the good and the bad?
    – DaveG
    Jan 9, 2021 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


Chasing the perfect job, in my younger years, I found myself in your shoes more than once. What I learnt from that is one very important point: never badmouth. Ever. No matter how bad that company is, let people (family, acquaintances or professionals) read/learn about it by their own professional channel or news network. Don't be that kind of person, the king of rant. It may not only backfire sooner or later, but also leads nowhere. No need to praise either.

I'm either happy (very good job and place), neutral (just for the bills) or not happy. In this case, I'll adapt my tone and sentence to what I want to convey.

  1. Nice place, nice people (or "That's OK for the moment"), hope it'll carry on like that in the future...
  2. Ya know, I work to live, I don't live to work :)
  3. Well, different job, same story, w'all know that, don't we ?...

Of course, with your own words, these are just mine. People notice the punchline most of the time. What you need to do, anyway, is to quickly move away from the topic. This is the closest I can get to your question and the "honest part". You're not lying to these persons, you just make yourself pretty clear about the topic: not interested in telling more thant just this, and you let them understand what they want. Make the conversation a small talk by being as generic as can be. Because you don't have to explain all that happens with many details.

If they insist (this happened), just cut it short: "I'd really want a better topic to discuss with you pal :)". And, no, you don't have to explain, or justify, or give feedback. Professionals will know what you mean, they should stop right away, but if they don't, just cut it short again: "There's really nothing interesting about that you know...". Back to step #1. No more than 2 rounds and they get your point, and switch to something else.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.