February 20, 2009

Getting Caught Job Searching by the Boss...OUCH!

I was talking to a client recently (Let's call her Anne.) about her fear of losing her current position. If you're feeling really nervous about your job due to the economic meltdown, then, it's time to be pro-active and start looking. You just can't put a price tag on mental and emotional health. 

Well, that's just what Anne did. She posted her résumé on every major job site. That's when she got called into a meeting with her boss (Let's call him Bob.). Bob had found her résumé and wanted to understand why she was looking for another job. What would you say in this situation? 

I would recommend using a line like the following (modified to fit your style, of course):

"Bob, the reality is that I'm uncertain about the future of this company or my job given the current economic environment. This is not personal. I was just trying to make sure that I was ahead of the game, in case anything drastic and unforeseen were to happen."

Luckily, Anne and I had already discussed this possibility, so she was ready for Bob's question. Nine out of ten times, your boss is going to be completely understanding given the context. I know some people think that posting your résumé all over the place could get you fired, but the reality is that most states are "at-will" states. This means they can fire you for good cause, bad cause or no cause at all. That said, most employers wouldn't fire you for trying to remain employed in a crisis state, and neither did Bob. And now, Anne has a little more peace of mind. Priceless.

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