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Question:  “In my company, applications for promotion are not confidential. If I apply for a position in another department, human resources will send an automatic e-mail message to my boss. The policy also says that I must let her know if another manager invites me to interview. I have a degree in management and several years of supervisory experience, so I am interested in becoming a manager. Should I tell my boss that I plan to apply for jobs in other departments?"  Looking for Promotion

Marie’s Answer:  Broadcasting an external job search would be politically stupid, but an internal search is a different matter. Here are some things to consider:

•    "Never surprise your boss” is a basic workplace commandment. If you are planning to transfer out, your manager needs to hear it from you, not via the grapevine or an unexpected e-mail from HR. 

•    Managers sometimes take it personally when employees indicate an interest in leaving.  However, your boss will probably understand your desire to be promoted. After all, she sought advancement herself.

•    If you treat your boss like a mentor, she may be able to suggest some strategies for achieving your career goal. Talk with her about your interest in management and remind her of your qualifications. Perhaps she will put in a good word for you.   

If you fear that your manager might block your application, ask your human resources specialist for help. I can guarantee that you will not be the first person to raise this issue.

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