Should You Lie to Your Boss About Your Job Search?

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When you’re searching for new employment, it’s perfectly understandable that you might want to keep your search private—at least from your current employer. If your boss finds out that you’re in the market for something new, it could very easily become a problem for you—leading to fewer opportunities at your current position, a soured relationship with your employer, or even your termination.

Trying to keep your job search private is important, but not guaranteed to be successful. Your boss may become suspicious, despite your best efforts to ensure otherwise. And when your boss gets suspicious, he or she may confront you about it.

The Pros and Cons of Lying

“Are you looking for a new job? Are you thinking about leaving our company?” When your boss asks you questions like that, it can be difficult to know how to respond. Sadly, there is no one answer we can offer, because it just depends on a lot of factors: Your boss’ temperament, your current relationship, whether you really think your boss would fire you, whether you think your boss might actually help you in your job search, and so on.

One option is to lie—to say oh no, of course not, even if you actually are on the job market. The Grammar Chic team does not encourage anyone to lie, though neither do we wish to tell you what to do; instead, we’ll simply invite you to consider the pros and cons.

There are really two pros. One is that you can use a lie to get more information about the situation. Oh no, of course I’m not looking for new work—why do you ask? That question can help you discover why your boss is suspicious—if a co-worker spilled the beans, for instance. In addition, a lie might buy you some time to keep searching before your boss becomes suspicious again.

The cons, however, are that lying could damage your relationship with your boss, should you be found out. This could lead to a burned bridge—i.e., no reference or recommendation, later in your job search—and it could also lead to a touchy work environment in the here and now. It may even make your boss want to look for a reason to fire you.

Alternatives to Lying

If you choose not to lie, however, there are some alternative options available to you:

  • You can answer your boss’ question with another question: Why do you ask? Leading with this, and evaluating your boss’ answer, can help you determine how you might further respond.
  • You can tell your boss you are looking at positions related to your own, as a way to appraise your career and see if there are more responsibilities you could be taking on—perhaps a semi-truth that might help you more than outright lying.
  • And of course, you could simply tell the truth outright—hoping for the best.

Again, this is really a decision to be made on the basis of how well you know your boss and how you read the current scenario. As you weigh truth versus lying, though, we recommend that you weigh all the pros and cons—and consider the alternatives.

For more job search tips, we invite you to contact us today: Call Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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