There’s only one problem: You haven’t told anyone at your
current job. Should you?
It’s a difficult decision, one that can have a major impact
on your career, and there are arguments to be made on both sides. Here are four
questions that will help you determine whether to be upfront with your current
employer or keep your cards close to your vest.
1. What Is Your
Relationship With Your Manager?
In most jobs, your relationship with your manager plays a
major role in how happy you are from day to day. You might be friends who go
out for drinks after work, professional colleagues who interact only in the
office, or anything in between. You likely have a good idea of your boss’s
temperament and might have seen how they have reacted when other employees have
left the company.
So, if telling your boss is going to send them off the deep
end and make your professional life miserable until you get that new position
that could be an indication to hold back.
On the other hand, if you have a more open relationship,
telling your manager might be the way to go. Then, your boss can serve as a
reference, or you may be able to discuss ways that you can improve your current
job so that you might not want to leave after all.
2. What Is Your Company
Similar to gauging your boss’s reaction, you have to know how
the larger group you’re in – your team or the company as a whole – will take
the news. Some companies expect employees to put in a few years before they
move on. Others expect a longer commitment. Still others are used to the
revolving door of new hires. Where your company falls on the spectrum and how long
you’ve been working there should factor in to your decision.
3. What Are the
When you’ve determined how your boss, your team, and the rest
of the company might react, it’s time to consider what those reactions mean.
You should answer this question from both angles: What are the consequences if
you tell? And what are the consequences if you don’t?
If you tell them you’re looking, will your boss freeze you
out of potentially interesting projects? Will the company start excluding you
from team events? If so, it might be wise to refrain from saying anything until
your search comes to an end.
On the other hand, your boss may realize that they haven’t
been helping you reach your fullest potential and start giving you more
rewarding work. Likewise, your company may realize your value and offer
incentives for you to stay.
There’s also the issue of how closely knit your industry is.
Is there danger that your boss or someone else in your company could hear that
you’ve applied elsewhere from a company you interviewed with? If so, coming
clean early might be the wisest move.
4. What Does Your Gut
After careful consideration, you probably know in your heart
the right decision. If you’re just getting started interviewing and the search
isn’t serious, then you might feel like you can hold off on sharing the news.
If telling your manager will have negative repercussions, then your decision is
But you might feel like your work is being affected by the
secrecy, or you may not want to have to lie about leaving the office earlier
than usual to get to an interview. In these cases, being upfront may be the
right decision. Despite any other consequences, at least you know everyone’s on
the same page and has full information.
After answering these four questions, there is one thing to
keep in mind before making your decision: You have to look out for yourself.
Make sure you do what’s in your best interest and what’s best for your career.
After all, if you don’t, nobody else will.
Amy Klimek is the vice president of human resources at ZipRecruiter.