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My problem is that I want to change my career by transferring to another department in our company where the job fits me.  But I cannot do this without feeling disloyal to my boss who has been very wonderful to me.  She is an ideal boss.  She has taught me all that I need to know and to do in my selling job which I have held for three years now and where I got my promotion to sales supervisor after only 1½ years.  This is why my co-sales reps are envious of me.

However, I hate selling as a job and don’t see myself doing it in the coming years.  I’m an accounting graduate but entered the company thru a sales representative job which was the vacant position at that time.   There was no vacancy in the Finance Department where I wanted to put my accountancy background to work.  My strong motivation to make a sale to hit my quota is really to please my boss who thinks I like selling as a career.  She used to close a sale for me when I was calling on difficult customers.  I have been able to consistently hit my quota really with her help and with my strong desire to make her happy.  She is now our national sales manager but she continuous to look after me.  She is mainly responsible for my promotion to sales supervisor after only 1½   years.  Even now, she continues to help me with my problems regarding hitting my area quota and problems with my problematic sales reps.

I’m very sure that selling is not my cup of tea but I don’t have the heart to tell my boss who always encourages and praises me at every opportunity, sometimes to my embarrassment.

There is now a vacancy in the Finance Department but I can’t even apply for it because my boss might be hurt.  What shall I do?

Ms. Distraught


You know what you want but you don’t want to do something about it because you are already assuming that your boss will feel hurt if you tell her that selling is not the career you want to see yourself pursuing.  It is she who is leading and shaping your career, rather than you.

Fortunately, you have a choice, and only you can make it.  One option is to remain where you are now and feel miserable.  You are only fueled by your desire to please your boss and live up to her expectations.  Your motivation is extrinsic, i.e., coming from an outside factor.  The second option is to take a risk by telling your boss about your desire for a career change and making the move.   If you choose the first option, then you are prepared to suffer the consequences of being in the wrong career.  If you choose the second option, you will likely enjoy the rewards of being in the right career and the sense of fulfillment you will experience.  Being in the right career will motivate you to continuously improve yourself, your skills and work behaviors.  Your motivation is intrinsic, i.e., your interest or preference and personality, your aptitudes and skills.  You enjoy what you are doing and look forward to doing it everyday.

As it is, because your boss likes you, she sometimes handles your difficult customers and solves job-related problems for you.  What would happen if she is not there to “rescue” you?  Besides, her doing tasks for you is not helping you develop your important selling competencies.

So, how do you tell your boss?  First, be determined to make this career change NOW that there is an opportunity to do so.  Second, make an appointment to see her.  Third, tell her the truth that, although you are hitting your quota regularly and grateful for her great assistance, selling is not the career you want for yourself, that you are not happy performing the tasks of a sales representative before and now as sales supervisor, etc.  Fourth, ask her to allow you to apply directly to the head of the Finance Department and will appreciate her endorsement.  Fifth, regardless of whether she gives you her “blessings,” apply to the Finance head and hope you will be welcomed into the department.

Are you willing to leave the company if you are not hired by the Finance head and pursue your accounting career elsewhere?  Whether you will be accepted in the Finance Department in your company or you are taken in another company, are you willing to take a lower position as a staff?  If you do, then you are really serious in pursuing a career change.

God bless you.


Josie Santamaria