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I discovered an ad for my own job!

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in Your Office Coach

Q: “I recently learned that my manager may be planning to replace me. I work for an art museum and am very active in my professional association.  A fellow member called to inquire about an opening here after he saw an ad on the association website. I told him that I wasn’t aware of any vacancies, but when I looked up the ad, I essentially found my own job description under a different title. The address for responding is our museum. Although no one has mentioned any problems with my performance, I am apparently in danger of being fired. I can’t believe my boss thought I wouldn’t find out about this. Should I talk to him? Or should I just apply for my own job?"  —Betrayed

A: Either this is a misunderstanding or your boss is a coward. A competent manager would address performance concerns directly instead of conducting a clandestine search.  

Before you jump to any firm conclusions, however, give him a chance to explain. You never know what’s going on behind the scenes.  Management might be creating a new position, or reorganization could be in the works.  

On the other hand, if your job is indeed up for grabs, your boss owes you an explanation. A direct inquiry will force him to come clean and give you a chance to negotiate the terms of your departure.

Although the idea of responding to the ad yourself has an appealing touch of irony, a more straightforward approach will allow you to clarify the situation immediately.

Worried about your own job security? For a general assessment, see Quick Quiz: How Secure Is Your Job?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy February 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

This exact thing happened to me! I was working for a small furniture manufacturing company, left on a Friday, saw the ad on a Sunday and was let go the following Monday FOR no apparrent reason!

And yes….it was complete cowardice!


Susan February 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I’ve worked in several small offices but never one where someone is replaced w/ out at least first being warned there is a problem w/ performance. How would you keep a secret like that in a small office w/out lying? If this is the case, I think ‘Coward’ is a fair word, another might be liar ( &/or shortsighted, unfair, heartless, rude) … I think it is very bad form to advertise at the same assn you know your employee is active in! It seems cold-hearted and bad for morale if this is the way they treat employees.
She said it is an art museum…not a corporation w / trade secrets/noncompetes and all that. I hope it’s a misunderstanding and the museum is expanding staff or hiring someone to back her up, not replace her.


Melanie February 17, 2012 at 11:44 am

I disagree that the boss is a coward. It is common in small offices to look for a replacement before terminating someone. The op should tell her boss she’s aware of the ad. Then she will find out why she’s being fired or if another person is being added.


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