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    My Boss Just Asked Me If I’m Looking for Another Job. What Should I Say?

    Your boss calls you into their office.  “Are you looking for another job?”  Gulp!  Now, what?

    Why are they asking?  How should you respond?

    In all likelihood, your manager suspects you’re looking and is seeking to confirm that hunch.  Asking that question for no reason seems unlikely; assume they’ve heard or sensed something that prompted their question.

    Let’s assume you are looking or interviewing.  Admitting you’re looking for another position could make you appear disloyal or uncommitted to your current job.  Instead of lying or being forthcoming, you could dodge the question. Ask why they’re asking.  “Why do you ask?”  Or, “Should I be looking?” With either dodge, you could gain insight as to what prompted their question.

    Your boss may say, “Well, I’d heard you weren’t happy and were out looking.”  Do you use this opportunity to voice your concerns that have you looking for a job?  It depends on your boss.  If they say something such as, “Let’s talk.  I value your work,” then perhaps you discuss why you are looking for other opportunities.

    If you choose to discuss it, don’t dwell on negatives.  Talk about seeking continued challenge and professional growth.  It’s not uncommon for workers to change jobs and/or companies many times in their careers.  Don’t be surprised if you’re asked whether you’re looking; be ready with a response.  Good luck!

    Randy Wooden
    Randy Wooden is Director of the Professional Center by Goodwill of Northwest NC. Randy launched The Professional Center by Goodwill of Northwest NC, the first program of its type for any Goodwill®, in 2012. His experiences in career coaching, executive recruiting, business ownership, as a hiring manager and as a job seeker have afforded him the opportunity to view the hiring process from all angles. He developed and provided on-air talent for the Internet’s first daily, live television program targeted toward job hunters. He shares job search tips through a bi-weekly newspaper column; regular appearances on television, radio; and frequent public speaking appearances. Contact information: rwooden@goodwillnwnc.org, (336) 464-0516
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