Stalk Quietly through the Job Hunting Jungle; How to Get the Word out That You're Ready to Move without Alienating Your Boss

By Bergsund, Richard T. | American Banker, July 30, 1984 | Go to article overview

Stalk Quietly through the Job Hunting Jungle; How to Get the Word out That You're Ready to Move without Alienating Your Boss


Bergsund, Richard T., American Banker


Should you really care if your boss catches you job hunting?

On the one hand, it might be corporate suicide. On the other, your business and personal relationship might be enhanced once your boss knows that you are seeking another position. However, if you linger on that expectation, you might be passed over or even let go.

Are you really being disloyal to your boss if you take steps to find work elsewhere? Does your boss reciprocate your loyalty?

Perhaps you should confront him and be frank about jour job hunting intentions. Maybe you wouldn't even have the problem if the two of you started your relationship with the understanding that the boss would aid your efforts to leave, provided you came to him first with your intentions. "If you ever want out, just let me know and I'll help...but don't tip-toe around behind my back!"

Too late now. That idea offer for assistance never materialized. What a dilemma...to take the risk or not?

There are no pat answers, as circumstances vary and working environments constantly change. Let's assume you and the boss did not develop such an agreement and he did not even hint at such assistance if you desired to leave the organization.

Depending on your level of seniority, there are some basic strategies you can employ to minimize the risk. A chief executive officer may sometimes face the challenge of a job search and approach the issue in a sophisticated, discreet manner to avoid pitfalls with his board of directors. A line supervisor may minimize discretion by answering blind ads for floating resumes to employment agencies.

Regardless of rank -- CEO or supervisor -- the key is discretion. The senior executives with whom we interact know how to properly exercise discretion and will intuitively follow most of the steps that follow. The beginner or amateur manager will probably fumble, inadvertently casting all caution to the winds.

Let's focus on you, the middle manager, where I suspect the greatest risk exists, for it's within middle management ranks that the neophyte manager attempts the transition into major executive status.

Make A List

Make a list of your friends, acquaintances, and past and present business associates. Divide this list into three groups: those you trust; those who will be helpful and are reasonably safe; and those who will be a gamble as to support or silence. The latter fall in a doubtful group, but why not? Maybe they're worth the risk.

Immediately call or visit the people you trust and take them into your confidence. They are your best resources. Send or give them your resume and even ask them for format or content suggestions.

Your initial contact should be personal enough to not require a cover letter. You probably won't mind changing your resume should suggestions come forth. The odds are that those who suggest changes will never know if you took their advice or not.

On the other hand, you may pick up a jewel of an idea and rush out to the printers for a revised resume. Get that potential intimate network working for you as quickly as possible!

Following the first phase, send your resume with an appropriate cover letter to members of the second group. Solicit their help and express the need for confidence. This second phase extends your efforts. It is a way to broadcast your intentions with safety, and a few telephone offers of assistance may occur.

Hold off on the third group until your frustration level dictates throwing caution aside. Repeat the process used for the second phase. By this time, you have decided to forego discretion and "go for it!" Remember, if you decide to distribute your resume indiscriminately, it may surface when and where you least expect it.

Why not think out a year or two, or a job or two ahead? Resumes have a strange way of being resurrected for numerous reasons, so plan ahead of the current need. …

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