View Full Version : How do you tell your boss...

Anne Lee
2-29-12, 9:50am
I am in the process of making a job move. I am ready to spread my wings and try for something a little bigger, a little better paying. I realize that this might not be the BEST time as there are a lot of qualified people unemployed right now, but I'm not in any hurry.

The standard advice of putting the word out that you are looking is a little awkward since I didn't want to say anything to my employer until I at least have an interview. I know when she mentioned applying for a different job it left all of us a little unsettled until it became clear she hadn't gotten it. I've done "ground prep" with her but the "oh-by-the-way-I-am-applying-for-a-new-job" conversation is not one I am looking forward to - not that she will be mad or vindictive but just because it makes things so uncertain. In a small organization there is enough uncertainty without having one of your senior staff being 100% rock steady there.

How do you have that difficult conversation when you are looking but are waiting for the right job? It could be next month, it could be a year, heck it might not be at all.

Any thoughts?

Miss Cellane
2-29-12, 9:59am
I have never said anything to anyone at my current job until I have the contract signed for the new job. There's just too much risk involved in letting your present company know that you are looking for a different job.

There's only been one time when the new job wanted a recommendation from my current employer, and they made it clear that I was their first choice candidate for the position before they asked permission to contact her.

The standard amount of notice in the US is two weeks. If your current employer wants more notice than that, you would have to negotiate with the new company to start the new job in 3 or 4 weeks, instead of 2.

2-29-12, 10:06am
I've never mentioned anything ahead of time, either. I've usually given 3-4 weeks' notice when I was ready to leave, however.

2-29-12, 10:59am
I agree with the others. I never discuss leaving with co-workers or a boss. I don't think it's wise. You may be perceived as a short-timer and miss out on new projects or promotions, even if you decide to stay. Or you could be the first to go in a round of layoffs. Even if you are friendly with your boss it still isn't a good idea.

2-29-12, 1:14pm
Yup, I echo this, as a boss too. It does unsettle people. Everyone knows we all have the right to find something better and move on. Keep it private.

2-29-12, 2:51pm
Yes, we never tell until we are on the way out.

DH did tell his direct boss when we filed our immigration paperwork -- just to let her know that we wouldn't know when we would be given the go-ahead. She protected him and didn't tell, and when we did know, she said to give as much notice as possible. We were able to give one week -- and she was fine with that, but requested a letter dated two weeks from the last day.

It worked out great for us.

BUT that is a special circumstance.

2-29-12, 9:25pm
I agree with everyone else. I would never let my current boss know I was leaving until it was a done deal unless my goal was to use it to negotiate more money to stay. In that case i'd wait until I had the other offer lined up and then approach it as an "I'd really like to stay, but..." conversation with current boss.

Most employees today in the US are "at will" employees which means that either employee or employer can terminate the relationship for any reason or no reason at any time. If the boss knows now that you're looking it's very possible that they will start looking now for your replacement and you could find yourself out of work sooner then you would like.

iris lily
2-29-12, 10:34pm
I don't think I'd tell.

The last time I changed jobs which was 2+ decades ago, I DID tell my boss, mainly because I had a slew of interviews and I knew I'd be moving on quickly. If it had been a situation where getting another job was going to take more than, say, a few weeks, I would not have talked about it. It was also a period where I was getting married and selling my house, so with that flurry of activity the boss was sure to notice something with phone calls and sudden absences.

I wish you luck in this next phase, hope you find work that you'd really like!

3-1-12, 2:16pm
I wouldn't say anything until the new job commits. Last time, once I had the new job for sure, I went into my old boss's office, pulled 2 Kleenexes out of the box, gave one to him, and said, "I got a better offer". But then, we had that kind of jokey relationship.

3-2-12, 7:29am
I've had to tell my boss I was looking twice - when the prospective employer insisted upon interviewing my boss before making a job offer. In the first case, I told my boss that I wasn't unhappy with my current job, but was concerned about some upcoming turbulence in the employment situation at our workplace. He very graciously agreed to interview with them and our relationship at that time was not damaged, even though I didn't get the new job (whew!).

The second time, both my boss (different boss) and I were unhappy with the company, although we ourselves were actually quite good friends and had been before he was my boss. So, he interviewed with the company and I did get the job. I left with his blessing, and he left the company about three months later.

Fortunately for me, both situations worked out. I, too, wouldn't tell the boss until and unless I absolutely had to, and then I'd be using the "I am ready to spread my wings and try for something a little bigger" phrase.

3-3-12, 5:59pm
I agree with everyone else who thinks it should be kept quiet until you actually find another job. In my current situation it's a bit differen though since many of my 'peer' colleagues and I are working below the level we are qualified for, so our boss knows that we are always on the lookout for other positions which better match our skills. He's just realistic, I suppose.

Anne Lee
3-4-12, 9:29am
I'm weighing the trade offs of not saying anything until it's a sure thing with her hearing through a different channel. I've had to tell quite a few people to line up references and start the networking. It's one of those situations where it can bite you on the backside either way. :/