Last week I met with a young man, who after 8 years with the same company, determined he’s not progressing any further and shared with me that he’s going to begin looking for a new job.
We discussed what he might like to do in his next role; he was realistic and approaching the subject sensibly until he told me he planned to tell his boss about his plans. It was at that point I told him in no uncertain terms, that it is almost never a good idea regardless of how good a working relationship he thinks he has.
At face value this sounds okay and if you’re not happy with some aspect of you job, such that you might leave as a result, it is always wise to approach the issue with your manager in an attempt to resolve whatever might concern you. But once you’ve made the determination to find a new job, it is not a good idea to tell your manager of your intentions – nuh uh, no. It is naïve at best or just plain dumb and a potentially self-destructive gesture.
Until you have a signed job offer letter and or a signed contract with a start date, maintain your poker face and hold your cards close to the vest. In the case of the young man with whom I was meeting, his assumption is that he will find a job quickly, but what if it doesn’t happen so fast, or it doesn’t happen at all? The potential consequences are too great, so don’t do it.
I know another person who did the very same thing recently and almost overnight the working relationship with her boss quickly soured because he took it personally. Now she feels pressured and recognizes she’ll have to leave sooner than she thought because her good intentions backfired.
Here’s the problem: once you’ve made clear your plans, real or contemplated, a bond of sorts has been broken; suddenly you find yourself outside the circle of trust, looking in. You might even be shown the door sooner and before you even have another job and, for what, because you wanted to be nice?
Your best option is to go along as though nothing is wrong and all is well, and at such time as you secure a new opportunity, it is then and only then you should inform your employer of your plans – period.