Should You Tell Your Boss You’re Looking for A New Job?

You’re looking for a new job and wondering if it’s better to sneak around or be forthcoming. It’s a common problem with no easy solution. Different situations require different actions. Let’s explore the pros and cons of telling your boss you’re looking for a new job. You can weigh the advantages and make the best choice for your situation.

The Pros of Telling Your Boss You’re Looking for A New Job

  • You don’t have to lie. Let’s be honest, one of the most difficult aspects of keeping your job search a secret is that you have to lie to your boss. Those interviews disguised as dentist appointments and long business lunches can wear on a person’s conscience.
  • You can help train the next person and give your beloved boss a head’s up. It’s good for a business to know what to expect so they can prepare. If you tell your boss you’re looking for a new job, they can ease into the transition much more successfully.  It can also make life easier for your co-workers.

The Cons of Telling Your Boss You’re Looking for A New Job

  • You may alienate your co-workers. In a perfect world your co-workers would be grateful for the heads up. However, much of your work may now land on their shoulders because your boss stops giving your responsibilities. Additionally, they may simply resent the fact that you’re trying to leave them.
  • You may miss out on good assignments while you’re job searching. Your job search may take some time. During that time you may likely find yourself out of the loop and your responsibilities dwindling. Your boss may treat you like you’ve already left.
  • Your boss may let you go on the spot. Sometimes people take this news as a betrayal. Your boss may simply fire you and now you’re stuck without a job in the midst of your job search.

The Pros of NOT Telling Your Boss You’re Looking for A New Job

  • Nothing changes until you’re ready for it to. This is one of the primary reasons people don’t tell their boss. You don’t have to worry about people treating you differently or a decrease in your responsibilities until you give them the news.
  • There’s no lag time. There’s nothing worse than telling your boss you’re looking for a new job and then having that job search take months. In the meantime everything at work is awkward and you begin to feel like a loser because you can’t find a new job.

The Cons of NOT Telling Your Boss You’re Looking for A New Job

  • You’re stuck sneaking around. This isn’t fun but it’s often the price you pay for changing jobs and wanting to move your career forward.
  • You don’t have the benefit of using co-workers or your boss as a reference.

In most cases people come to the conclusion that they shouldn’t tell their boss they’re searching for a new job. It’s often the safest and least uncomfortable choice. The one caveat to all of this may be if you know that your company is facing massive layoffs. Heck, in this situation your boss may be looking for a new job too. If you choose to tell your boss you’re job hunting, tread lightly and make sure you’re not burning any bridges before you make the announcement.


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