My boss is unhappy with my terms of employment

Friday January 17 2020

Jane Muiruri, Senior HR Manager-NMG

Jane Muiruri, Senior HR Manager-NMG  

By Jane Muiruri

I work for a company that rarely employs on permanent basis. But last year, because of my exemplary work, I was promoted to a permanent position. My boss didn’t welcome the move, as she is still employed on contract. Now my relationship with her has become thorny, and I’m even planning to quit. I have reported the issue to HR, but no action has been taken. What can I do? Gill

Dear Gill,
Gone are the days when those employed on permanent and pensionable terms would sit back and wait for the farewell funfair at their retirement parties. More organisations are adopting the performance-based contracting, whereby employees’ contracts are renewed based on need, input and performance.

Indeed, some managers are placed on such contracts, so this could be the approach your organisation has adopted. In some professions, placing workers on permanent terms has simply become too expensive.

Psychologically, being a permanent employee gives one a sense of security. But the reality is that there is a termination clause which can be invoked at any time. The focus should be on one’s performance, since no employment position lasts forever. Remember, it is your performance that will keep you in the organisation, and not your permanent tenure.

What makes you think your boss is unhappy about your employment terms? I assume she was consulted, and might even have recommended you for the position. What makes you think she is unhappy with you? Could it be that you’ve grown complacent since you were recognised for good performance?

The reason HR is not following up is because you did not present any specific grievances. Be true to yourself, and list down the specific concerns you have.


It is always better to discuss your concerns with your supervisor before you escalate to HR. Remember that your manager still has a strong influence over your career. Leaving is an option, but not a solution.

Jane Muiruri, Senior HR Manager, Nation Media Group (NMG)