Should You Tell Your Boss You're Looking for a Job?

Lauren Krause
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Job hunting can be a dangerous business when you're already employed. While no one could fault you for trying to advance your career, some employers look askance at administrative professionals who are actively seeking out new employment opportunities when they're supposed to be happy where they are. Whether or not to tell your current boss about your job hunting, and how to go about it when you do, is worth a look.

Whether or not you should tell your present employer about your job search depends on the specific circumstances of your office and your position within it. If your company has announced layoffs, or if an extensive reorganization is in the works, a good recommendation from your supervisor will not only help you at your next job interview, it should be easy to get. Obviously, nobody blames the admin staff for an office closure, and no sensible person should fault you for job hunting before the deadline. Any boss should be happy to provide you with the references you're going to need while job hunting.

Another situation in which your employer will probably be understanding is when you've decided to make a dramatic change to your career. An administrative professional who decides to study nursing or wants to become a concert pianist is clearly chasing a dream, and the normal human reaction is that of encouragement. Job hunting within your present company's field, however, can be taken differently.

When you're job hunting within the industry or looking for a job interview for a position similar to the one you have now, it's likely that the problem isn't a closing office or a dream you'd like to chase. The implication is that the company is no longer a good fit for you. Your boss might not like that implication, and it's possible you'll face consequences if your job hunting is discovered. Some employers choose to interpret alternate job hunting as a betrayal and can even go so far as to give negative reviews to those they perceive as disloyal employees. You could even find yourself facing termination for little or no reason.

Clearly, discretion is the watchword for successful job hunting among the already employed. While some circumstances merit a full-speed job search and any decent employer would understand and encourage other situations, it's always possible to go wrong by sharing too much information. Before you share the state of your job hunting endeavors with your current boss, gauge the circumstances carefully and only share what you must until it's time to put in your notice.



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  • Pamela Weaver
    Pamela Weaver
    Very cut and dry. It makes a lot of sense.

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