Q: I’m looking for a new job and my boss knows I’m mentally checked out. He even asked recently if everything’s OK. Can I just tell him I’m looking so I don’t have to sneak around and make excuses for my absence when I’m interviewing? It would make it so much easier.
A: First, congrats on your job search, it’s always so liberating. Now, as for your question about telling your boss, proceed at your own risk.
I wouldn’t do it.
Sure, it may feel lighter to not have to constantly take PTO when you’re leaving work to interview, but it could backfire. What if someone internally leaves and you can get promoted into another department for a significant pay increase? But, what if you told your boss you’re looking to leave? You’ll probably get passed over for that potential internal opportunity.
Or what if it takes longer than you think to land a new job as you search for the right fit and then it’s salary review time but, oh yeah, you mentioned to your boss you’re looking to leave. There goes a potential pay increase.
I’m being completely serious with these scenarios, and these are just two situations; there could be so many more. It’s really not to your advantage to share with your boss, or anyone for that matter with whom you work, that you’re looking externally. If that were me, I’d keep it discreet and only tell your boss you’re leaving when you’re giving your two weeks’ notice.
Q: I haven’t seen my parents (who live across the country) since before the pandemic. Finally, I am making plans to see them in late December. I asked my boss for time off, even in September, and she said no. Her reason was that other people in the department need to take off during the holidays too, and it’s a not first come, first served situation — we need to all wait until it gets closer and only take three days off, maximum, per person. Is this fair?
A: Several thoughts popped into my head when I read your question. The first and most important one is, without knowing other information about your boss and other situations, I would start looking for a new job. And without knowing information about your job, is there a valid reason why you would all not be able to take more than three days? Sure, as a leader you wouldn’t want your entire department out of pocket, but during the holidays that’s typically, not always but typically, a super light workload with a skeleton crew.
Can you speak to your boss again and explain the situation further? Explain that you will be available remotely if any emergencies arise? And that if you wait until it gets closer, your travel costs will skyrocket and that you need more than three days for the cross-country trip?
Also, you may want to approach a colleague or two whom you trust while speaking matter of factly about the situation. Find out if your colleagues are planning to take time off. If they’re not, or if someone understands your situation, maybe you can approach your boss as a group with the solution so there’s coverage while still allowing you to travel to see your parents.
— Tribune News Service