updates: should I tell my boss I’m job-hunting, the LinkedIn monitor, and more

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager! All this week and next, I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. Should I tell my boss I’m job hunting? (#3 at the link)

I’ve got an update after you answered my question in late 2019. My job was being outsourced and I had been promised that I would be moved internally rather than let go, but I was wondering whether I should mention to my boss that I was also looking elsewhere.

As background, I had relocated from somewhere known as one of the industry capitals of the country, to somewhere with only a couple of smaller specialist manufacturers. I decided to use my transferrable skills in an unrelated industry, but after a couple of years it became clear that it wasn’t a good cultural fit for me and I needed to get back into my field, even if it took a while to find the right job.

You said that I shouldn’t tell my boss, and I later came to understand that you were right. A couple of months after this was published, someone in my team resigned, and my boss asked if I would be happy to move to their job. I had an interview with a company the next day, so I felt at that point I had to tell him that I had applied to this and that I wanted to see whether I got that job. In your response to my question, you had said, “if they tell you they’re outsourcing your function, it’s not shocking that you might start job searching, and if your boss has any savviness, he’ll know that.” Well, I’m not sure what it says about the boss but he was shocked and freaked out a little. I borrowed some of your language to soften the blow, and said that if I didn’t get the job I would be interested in the internal move.

I didn’t get that teapot job, and went ahead with taking on my departing colleague’s work, while finishing off the work needed for the outsourcing. It was a bit disappointing at the time, but this was in early 2020, and when we had to start working from home due to the pandemic just a few weeks later, I was relieved to still be working for the same employer with the same boss and colleagues who I was good friends with.

In mid-2021 I started looking again, and towards the end of the year I finally got a job. On the day I handed in my notice, the boss once again freaked out, and called each person in my team to ask whether they had any plans to move on, which is so inappropriate I felt like telling him to start reading your site!

While my work was fine, I’d always felt a bit like a square peg in a round hole (or a tea drinker in a coffee shop), and I’m so happy to be back where I belong. Thank you so much for your advice, you stopped me from making things more uncomfortable than they needed to be.

2. My new job said I could work from home — but my manager is pushing me to come to the office (#4 at the link)

I originally wrote a couple years ago about how to handle a job that wanted me to work in person when they had told me in the interview I could be fully remote). You had said if I had good HR, I could try speaking with them which was great advice except the HR at this company (as well as the company as a whole) was horrible. They paid me less than two other coworkers who started the same day despite me having more experience than both of, the pay was well below industry standard, the owner was a COVID denier, other employees made transphobic remarks on video calls, and multiple people quit in the time I was there with zero notice. I also once had to work from 9 am until 8 am the next day and they tried to cheat me out of my overtime pay when this happened. It was horrible but I stuck at it because I was scared about employment prospects due to COVID being so new at the time and I felt trapped in the job. I was also too burned out to have energy to look for a new job. I refused to go in to the office at any point despite their repeated attempts to make me and I told everyone who worked with me that if they felt unsafe, they should also push to stay home. I never worked a single day in person.

When she could sense I was ready to give notice because of how awful everything was, my boss offered me a promotion to the exact role I was hoping to move into in a couple of years. It felt like an opportunity that I wouldn’t be able to get for a long time anywhere else. I decided to stay, which was a huge mistake — after this was when I had to work the 23-hour day and when I heard the transphobic comments. I routinely saw workers asked to stay until 2 am. They also would not tell anyone I had been promoted or train me for the new role. My last week at Company A there was a Covid outbreak due to someone coming in while positive and not telling anyone. This was in late 2020 so no one was vaccinated yet.

I ended up finally leaving when a friend of mine reached out and told me his company was looking for someone with my exact skillset to come over to help finish a project. I jumped on the chance and have been at Company B ever since. Annnnnd today they announced I am moving into that same role Company A promised and never delivered on! Company B is very big on Covid safety and DEI, plus they pay me significantly more. The first day they asked me if I wanted my pronouns in my email signature, which was so refreshing after the transphobia at Company A (I’m cis but part of the LGBTQIA+ community and I have felt Company B does a good job at being inclusive without being pushy). I am so much happier than I was at Company A.

For anyone else out there who might be in a similar situation, if you find yourself anxious over going to work and ranting to your family every day about how much you hate it…. you are worth more and you should leave if you can! Life is too short to hate everything about your job. I felt very trapped and hopeless until I realized I was capable of getting myself out of a bad situation. I don’t think I would have known what to do if it hadn’t been for your site.

3. My new boss said he monitors our LinkedIn profiles

I took your and the comments sections advice and started looking. I also warned my team that we were under scrutiny. A few weeks later I received a cold call via LinkedIn and after one interview, I landed a new job! Much better aligned with my career path and improves my commute. There’s also an on site barista, how cool is that? Thanks to everybody who chimed in.

4. Giving notice when I have a vacation coming up (#5 at the link)

Thank you so much for answering my letter. One person suggested talking to my hiring manager to see their preference and that when she was in this situation, they preferred she start sooner rather than later. She said that she started her new job and immediately went on vacation and it was fine. That is actually exactly what happened — I ended up speaking with the VP of the group I’ll be joining and he said he would rather I start June 6th and go on vacation the following week than start at the end of June. My new employer pre-loads 5 days of vacation into the system for this exact reason. In addition, I offered to do some onboarding training, etc in the evenings while I’m on vacation so I’m not using up the full 5 days (I have kids, there are always doctor’s appointments, etc.) and they seemed fine with that. I gave notice on a Monday morning which wasn’t ideal, but my current managers seemed okay with it, so all is well. Thank you!

{ 38 comments… read them below }

  1. Feral Campsite Raccoon*

    What kind of cuckoo workplace would require or even allow someone to work a 23 hour shift?

    1. KofSharp*

      Depending on the industry, I can think of 3-6. Industrial Design, as an example: Expectations at a couple of firms are that you show up at 6am and then work until 11pm at a minimum. Then if you say no they try to guilt you into staying longer… or just don’t hire you.

      1. KofSharp*

        I hit submit early. I also saw places in the Industrial Design field demanding 3-5 YEARS of experience for unpaid internships. So the expectation is 17 hours a day unpaid, min of 5 days a week, then instead of sleeping you need to be designing in your spare time.
        Even though I went to school for it, I am not in that field anymore and am using what I learned for a different field entirely.

        1. CeeLee*

          Holy cow! I’m also an industrial designer but I work in the retail display industry. I can probably count with all my digits the times I’ve had to work past 5:30. I’m kind of thankful I never found myself in a company with those expectations. I work my butt off, but during standard business hours. I’m currently looking for a new job and that comment is scaring me! If you don’t mind me asking, what field did you transfer into?

    2. Beauty*

      Veterinary medicine does this sometimes. When I worked in equine we could work all day then be up all night on emergency and be expected to work all day the next again. If this didn’t work for you then you “lack grit.” Funny enough they’re having trouble finding people willing to work in those conditions for half of what small animal pays for 36 hours a week.

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        I know vets have been going through a lot lately. I just wanted to say that this animal lover thinks you rock.

        And yeah those sort of conditions suck.

    3. KateM*

      I think nurses in hospitals here may have 24-hour shifts. My (now long deceased) grandfather was ambulance driver and I understand he had 24-hour shifts as well. One day at work and three days free, something like that.

      1. Cat Lover*

        Oh yeah, I’m in EMS and some counties do 24/48 schedules, or variations of that.

        1. Gumby*

          To be fair, the expectation is that you can sleep during those shifts if you are not called out. How often you get to is variable. (My BIL is a firefighter/paramedic and he usually gets *some* sleep every day even if it is in interrupted short bursts.)

          1. Feral campsite raccoon*

            I’ve never understood this expectation for medical and veterinary personnel. Let’s see a show of hands, who here wants to have potentially dangerous medical decisions made for them by someone who’s exhausted?

            1. Kal*

              I’ve heard (though I have no direct sources for confirmation) that the guy who was a major player in establishing the residency system in hospitals was basically on coke all the time, and expected those under him to keep up with his coke-induced lack of sleep.

              Whether that’s the actual origin or not, somehow it just became accepted to do that and refuses to change despite the major advancements we’ve made in the science of sleep and how utterly important it is to not only sleep enough total hours, but also to sleep during the specific time of day that your body is in its phase where it wants sleep.

              But even recently I’ve run into people who insist that this way is best, because there is science that says that errors increase during and after a shift change, so some people conclude that having one ridiculously long shift is better than more shifts. I personally would prefer that we instead work on improving the procedures around documentation and shift changes, since communication and related errors due to a shift change are preventable. Its easier to accept the exceptions (like surgery where a shift change in the middle often just isn’t reasonable) when that pattern isn’t being treated as the norm, so I could trust my health care team to normally be adequately rested.

    4. Meh*

      My former career required a particular license holder to be on premises any time business was operational – we were 24/7. For that reason I had a bed in my office. Very many 36 hour days. Sigh.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        OP 2, congrats on getting out of the old place then.

        I can totally see 24 hour shifts in caretaking, veterinary medicine (both large and small) – but I have to admit confusion about visual effects needing a 24 hour shift.

        1. Minimal Pear*

          It’s a huge thing in video game making–when it gets close to when the game is going to come out there’s often a lot of “crunch” where everyone is working way overtime to get the game out on time.

          1. OP #2*

            Yeah! It’s bananas to read all your guesses (doctors, EMS, vets, you know people actually saving lives…) but we were regularly working until 3 am for a mobile game update! And the answer is always the same: poor project management from execs to save money.

            I’m out of there and sidestepping to a different industry entirely and it’s been great :)

            1. KofSharp*

              I’m so glad you got out! Unfortunately a lot of art industries are… still stuck in the “if you don’t do this do you TRULY love art?” Mindset. I keep seeing older artists with commercial contracts talk about long lasting injuries due to the treatment.

        2. Filosofickle*

          It doesn’t need a 24 hour shift, as in literal coverage. It’s to meet crazy deadlines. Many creative fields expect a lot.

          1. OP #2*

            Ours was a literal 23 hour shift. We didn’t have any coverage, it was “work until we are done” and it sucked !

            1. Filosofickle*

              Oh, I worded that badly! I understood that. You (literally) worked a 23 hour shift because you had to, to meet a bonkers deadline. But it wasn’t for a “coverage” reason like for medical care. It was only “needed” because your bosses / deadlines sucked.

        3. allathian*

          Yeah, and I’d hate to go to the ER to be seen by a doctor on the tail end of their 24 hour shift. When you’re that tired, you are as impaired as if you’d had enough to drink to be over the legal limit.

      2. many bells down*

        Yeeeppp my spouse is a game dev and has absolutely spent 24 straight hours at the office on more than one occasion (not any more though).

    5. Anon1*

      I’ve done this exactly once, but it was a question of avoiding a major loss of power generation at a utility company. Real emergency, not fabricated emergency.

    1. Mirve*

      I assume they gave notice Monday morning for a last day Friday in two weeks, so 9.5 days instead of 10 full days notice. Thus, not ideal, but okay.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I did that at a job once. Considering the number of changes to job classifications the did to people with way less notice, I was being pretty generous.

      2. Raboot*

        I dunno, I assumed they just meant it’s inconvenient timing for the company, not that Monday morning are problematic in general. Monday morning for the Friday the following week seems standard to me.

    2. LW4*

      I’m that poster, I’ve always been told two weeks means a Friday if my last day is going to be a Friday. They weren’t thrilled about it but I think they knew I was unhappy and weren’t surprised.

      1. Happy*

        That seems odd to me. I’ve never heard of that and in all of my previous jobs, it was typical to give notice on a Monday and then have your last day be Friday of the following week.

  2. VP of Monitoring Employees’ LinkedIn and Indeed Profiles*

    All updaters: Congratulations on your new jobs.

    Special note for #3: Thanks for inspiring my AAM handle!

    1. Berkeleyfarm*


      Yes, congrats to all for their new jobs.

      (Honestly, yeah, if someone was monitoring mine and said it, I’d be a lot more active.)

  3. Anonymous Manager*

    There are a few circumstances where I think it makes sense to tell your boss you’re looking: one that comes to mind is if you’re an intern or otherwise very junior position at a small firm where there’s an expectation that your “next steps” are not necessarily going to happen where you are and your bosses are mentors who expect and root for you to leave the nest.

    But apart from that narrow circumstance, I don’t think there’s much to be gained from telling your manager you’re looking. I’ve been “the manager” in this scenario, and it’s really stressful to hear that someone is looking, then they ask for training or for the company to pay for a continuing ed course, and it’s like…do I go to bat to get that paid for only to have them leave the second they get the certification? What are my loyalties to the person on my team, who I want to succeed, vs. the expected loyalty to the company that signs my checks? Will I get in trouble if it’s discovered I knew they were a “flight risk” but approved the training anyway? It’s just a ton of needless stress when ignorance would be bliss for all parties involved. (To be clear, I do not care if “the company” loses money training someone; companies aren’t people no matter what the Supreme Court says. I’m more worried about my own standing/job security).

Comments are closed.