Looking for a New Job: What if Your Boss Finds Out?

There he goes. Giving you the ‘side-eye’. He knows something is up!

*In some states the law says an employer does not have to have a reason to let you go. Those rules are clearly on the employers side. Hey, being human, he or she might wake up one day — not in the best of moods mind you, and think: “whose life can I ruin today?”


I’m sure we’d all like to at least believe people — especially those in management — are more professional than that. That they are capable of separating personal feelings from professional actions.

Though I do leave room for the occasional idiot.

And how many times have those same employers said to you, “Don’t take it personal. It’s just business” as they showed you to the door? Oh, don’t worry about “getting your stuff.” Its already been handled. There it is, right there in the box by the door.

Well let’s just hope they remember that when they walk by your desk and spot you on a job-seeking site.

“Nothing personal sir or ma’am. It’s just business.”

Now clearly, you shouldn’t be doing your personal business on your employers time or equipment. That’s just good sense. But the point is, people do.  So what if your boss somehow learns that you are looking for a new job?

What do you do now?

We’ll get to that. But first, here’s what you DON’T do.

Don’t lie and try to deny it. pinocchio resize

Everyone has the right to want more. And some of us even have the nerve to go after it. Whether its a better position or a bigger house, we all have ladders we want to climb. Greater responsibilities we’d like to take on. So own it and don’t apologize for it. Take responsibility for it.

Dillon Orr of Get-A-Resume.com said we shouldn’t deny that we are looking for a new job if we get caught by the boss. Nor should we “overreact. He says employers just don’t want to be blind-sided. And shares this little tidbit with Madame Noire:

“Reassure your boss you won’t leave her in a lurch; inform her you’ll give her sufficient notice and will be available to help in finding your replacement.”

Not only would such an approach be respected, but imagine the great reference she will give you for showing such accountability.

I recall working in a position where I was highly respected. I’d been there for years and when I decided I wanted to leave, I told my employer and even helped find my replacement (who I ended up training, by the way).

Orr elaborated that once you’ve explained things to your boss, feel free to continue your search, but make sure to let them know you are still very committed to your current job and that you will continue to give your all.

“Always make sure that your current employer is marked on your resume so new, potential positions don’t reach out to your current employer for references quite yet.”

Whew! So THAT’S taken care of. And it makes sense too. Just own up. Show up. And continue to do your work after your offer to assist in finding your replacement.

Now what if you didn’t necessarily get caught looking for your new position on your employers time or computer. Say you listed your resume on a job site or mentioned your plans on social media? Places where your boss might be looking as well.

“…if you post your resume on Monster, you can make it confidential and your contact information and references won’t be displayed. You can block your present company’s name by entering an end date of present for your current position,” advises About.com Careers

I need to go on interviews. Should I call in sick to my current job?

Be careful with using that excuse excessively. See if you can schedule your interview times around your lunch hour, offers MadameNoir. If that’s not possible, before or after work might be better options.

And be careful about how you dress. If your current job allows for a more casual dress and all of a sudden you start wearing suits, well…can you spell DEAD GIVE-A-WAY?  Maybe you should change out of your interview clothes before you return to work.

Good luck out there. Just use your head while it finds you!



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