boss knows about job search?

A reader writes:

My fiance is sure that his boss knows that he’s looking for a new job. He applied to another company and his boss had a “casual” conversation with him about how young people in their industry worry about money too much and look for jobs with only that as a concern. He also assured him that they were working on the profit-sharing (that they’ve been working on for well over 2 years). The next day, they were discussing a trade magazine and the boss once again blankly said, “I used to look for jobs in there.” I guess there’s nothing he can really do other than keep on looking for a new job, right? I wish I could say that they couldn’t fire him for applying to another job…

Well, if his boss does know he’s looking, it sounds like he’s trying to subtly talk him into staying on board, rather than gearing up to penalize him for searching. So yes, I’d say he should just keep on looking, being as discreet as possible — but he should feel reassured by the fact that his boss seems to be encouraging him to be patient rather than taking issue with him looking.

{ 6 comments… read them below }

  1. The Engineer*

    The reasons for leaving are still there, so why stop exploring? If questioned directly I would admit to looking. Then again, I’m always looking.

    It is your life. Do what YOU want to with it. It is foolish to not be the one in the driver’s seat. Should you wait to be fired or down sized before you look for something else? When will you ever look for advancement? At the same time – Consider carefully and never burn bridges.

    “True strength lies in action. Let the weak react to me.” – Unkown

  2. The Ethical Slut*

    I hate when bosses tell you to “not worry about money”. Once I asked a boss to move up activating my insurance 3 weeks because I had fallen on the stairs and could BARELY WALK. Her answer: ‘oh, last time I was sick, I just went to the ER. They’re much better than actual doctors and its free.’ !!!

  3. Ask a Manager*

    The Engineer: I don’t know that they were thinking of stopping looking, but rather just trying to figure out if he’s in a danger zone with the boss. But this does remind me — if the boss directly asks, a good reply is “I think most good people are always keeping an eye on what’s out there, but I don’t have any current plans to leave.”

    Ethical Slut: That’s just crazy — and the ER isn’t free!

  4. Special Projector*

    Two wildly different case studies in my group:

    Manager A applied for and was hired into a different department. When she first approached our VP to let him know she was interested in a transfer, he was lukewarm, as he hasn’t gotten behind the mission of this particular department. When she actually got the job, “lukewarm” went to “ice cold.” She became persona non grata. And she was previously the favorite!

    Manager B is currently being considered for a position outside the department. So far, the VP’s response has been very encouraging and supportive, but the Great Unknown is what will happen should Manager B actually get the job.

    So while I agree in theory with The Engineer, my counsel would be to search for other jobs very cautiously, and unless it’s internal, OFF company time. I would hate for the boss to come down on the searcher for “using company resources.”

  5. dfrederick*

    The old adage “It takes one to know one” might apply here. Managers who themselves are looking for new jobs are sensitive to signs that their employees are looking around, because they’re also on the hunt. This manager sounds like he might be trying to convince himself to stay as well. One approach might be to ask your boss that tough question, and be prepared to open up if he does.

  6. jobs*

    If you feel like changing a job, you should certainly do it. But as for me, I’d be as careful as possible not to let the information leak.

Comments are closed.