Focused and concerned black man in smart casual shirt looks at laptop screen

It’s not uncommon for somebody to be job searching when they are meaningfully employed. Some people may find themselves in a moral dilemma about whether to tell their current employer that they are actively job searching.

Unfortunately, whether you should tell your employer or not isn’t an easy answer. It all depends on what your relationship is with your current employer. If you have an open and honest relationship with your boss and believe they’d be supportive, then tell them. That said, you must be sure your boss will support your decision to apply for other jobs. If you’re not 100%, then you’d be better off not saying anything.

I, like many, have applied for positions with different companies while I was employed. Each time I handled it differently. I had a manager who supported my career, and when I applied for a job with a different organization, I told her. The position paid better and had more responsibility. When I told her, she took it very well and immediately offered to be a reference.

When I was applying for jobs during a different time in my career, I didn’t tell my employer. I knew that he wouldn’t take the news well, and informing him would risk losing my job. It also would have burnt a bridge. I liked my boss; however, he could take things personally, which would have made things very awkward.

One thing you want to keep in mind before saying anything about your job search is that regardless of your relationship with your employer, your loyalty could be questioned. Trust and loyalty are two fundamental aspects of the employee and employer relationship. Telling your employer that you are actively looking for new employment could jeopardize that trust. If you are unsuccessful in finding a new or better job, your employer may look at you differently, and your growth throughout the company could hinder or stop altogether.

There is no correct answer. Telling your employer that you could be leaving the organization shows a sign of respect. However, it could also upset your manager, and your time with the company could become very uncomfortable.

So, whether or not you tell your boss you are actively job searching depends on who you report to and your relationship.

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