Does It Ever Make Sense to Tell Your Boss You’re Looking for a New Job?

Maybe you’re dissatisfied with your salary at your current job. Or maybe you’re tired of doing the same series of tasks day in, day out. Either way, there often comes a point when you’re ready to leave your present role and move on to another one. And while that’s something you might choose to discuss with family members, friends, or even some trusted colleagues, it’s probably not the sort of thing you should run by your boss.

Or is it?

While it’s generally not a good idea to tell your boss you’re looking to jump ship, in some situations, looping your manager in might work to your advantage. Here’s how to know when to share that information with your boss and when to keep quiet about it.

How’s your relationship with your manager?

When deciding whether to tell your boss that you’re looking for another job, the first thing you need to ask yourself is how solid your relationship is. If you and your boss get along well and your boss has a strong tendency to be in your corner, then it might pay to divulge the fact that you’re unhappy with your current situation and are looking to take your talent elsewhere.

The reason? Once your boss understands why it is you’re looking to leave, he or she might take steps to prevent that from happening. Imagine that compensation is the main driver of your decision. If that’s the case, your boss might do everything in his or her power to get you a raise in order to keep you. Similarly, if you feel your career isn’t going anywhere, your manager might take steps to get you a promotion so that you stay with the company. Remember, if you’re a valued employee with a good reputation, your boss will be motivated to get you to stay, and admitting that you’re looking elsewhere might serve as the impetus your manager needs to take action.

You might be wondering: Wouldn’t it make more sense to air some grievances than to open up about a job search? Sometimes. But while going the former route is a safer bet, the latter is more likely to get results.

Of course, all of this assumes that you have a good relationship with your boss and that you trust your manager to act in your best interests. If you don’t, then you should absolutely keep your job search a secret, because the last thing you want is for your company to let you go before you’ve found a replacement role.

Finally, if you are going to inform your boss that you’re on the hunt for a new job, do so carefully, and decide what you want to get out of that conversation. If your goal is to sway your manager to get you a better deal internally so that you’re able to stay on board, guide the conversation in that direction. But if you’re positive that you want to move on to another company no matter what, make that clear so that your boss doesn’t spin his or her wheels fighting for you but rather takes the news for what it is: a courteous heads-up.

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