Should You Tell Your Boss You Are Looking For A New Job?

14 Oct 2014 | Naomi Marshall

You want to start looking for a new job. The million-dollar question is…should you tell your boss you are looking, before you actually have a new role? This is a tricky one as there are so many factors to take into accountwill my boss lose respect for me, will they try to finish me up then and there, will they ‘turn’ on me?

What it all boils down to is trust and the relationship you have with your boss. You need to take into account the style of person your boss is, what their attitude to work is and consider what has happened with previous employees who have left prior to you.

By law you don’t have any obligation to advise your manager that you are seeking new employment. Remember it is not a crime to seek a new job. People change jobs every day. However, we can appreciate that when it’s your turn to start looking around (and especially if you’ve not looked for quite some time) you can start to question what the right behaviour is in this situation.

Telling your boss you are looking to leave prior to securing a new role should be a decision made wholly and solely by you. Listening to your friends, partner, mother etc. and what they think, or what they have done in the past can tilt your view and sometimes send you into a tailspin.

Your job, how long you have been there, how you have performed (hence, how valuable you have become to the organisation) and your bosses personal views all need to be taken into account and no-one is better equipped to make that decision than…YOU. Trust your instincts.

Telling your boss can have positive and negative effects. They may be happy for you, allow you time off and show complete flexibility for interviews and even assist you through the process. Your boss may even turn around with a counter offer, saying they’ll do all they can to keep you (although don’t get too excited and ahead of yourself on this point as it’s becoming less and less common.

On the flip side, for some bosses hearing an employee is seeking to leave can essentially flick a switch in them. In their eyes, if the employee is ready to look around to leave, they’re heart is no longer in the role/company/culture. They’re as good as gone. It’s illegal for an employee to be asked to leave simply on the grounds that they suggested that the time had come to start looking for a new role. However, a manager’s negative attitude towards an employee is something that can (and unfortunately) does happen. Especially younger or less experienced managers who are not equipped with the maturity or experience to handle a situation such as this.

So there is no straight answer. If you feel the need and it makes you feel better by letting your boss know that you’re interviewing, then personally I think that is an endearing quality. If this is the path you take, then our advice is that it’s all about the delivery of your communication. Use your words carefully and explain to them your reasons for a change (don’t point fingers at other people, make the reasons about your needs).

Likewise, as mentioned earlier. It’s not a crime to look for work, however always take the mature approach and remember to NEVER, EVER burn bridges. If you think you will never see your boss or colleagues again – guess again! It’s amazing how those you want to avoid the most pop back into your life when you least expect it.

Are you starting to think about looking for a new role? Why not get in touch with the team at Sprint? We’d love to have a chat with you about your next steps.

Naomi Marshall – Director
P: (02) 9271 0011
M: 0422 139 910

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