It’s time to move on–but how do you break it to your boss? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

It’s time to move on–but how do you break it to your boss?

Get PDF file

by on
in Admin Pro Forum

Question: "What is the best way to tell your boss that you are looking at other job opportunities? We have a great working relationship; I'm just ready for something different." - Debbie, Executive Secretary

See comments below, and send your own question to

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber Kurz January 21, 2016 at 6:30 am

You can simply tell your boss that you are moving. You can also refer the agreement you signed during joining the company like we have signed collective agreement and we have to follow the procedure mentioned in agreement. You can also check out for your area at


Trisha January 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm

My experience has always been that as soon as notice is given you are escorted to the door. Some employers don’t want “short-timers” hanging around any longer than they have to for many reasons such as fear they might sabotage files, steal trade secrets, or remove company property. Your best bet is to quietly look for another position; get the job; and then give notice.

Also, be sure to check your company’s policies as you might be in a classification REQUIRED to give more than two weeks notice. It would be a shame if you let the new job know that you could start in two weeks only to find out your company requires four weeks notice in order to leave that job on good terms for all.


Helen December 17, 2015 at 4:43 pm

Never tell ahead of time! Look quietly until you find something, and for heaven’s sake, don’t post it to social media until you have given your notice. A considerate employee, especially at a high level, should give at least 4 weeks notice, more if possible. A low level employee can give 2 weeks because their position is probably easily filled. If you are important to your boss, then please give at least 4 weeks. It takes at least that much time to post the position, find applicants, and interview, never mind train a replacement.


Rachael December 18, 2015 at 12:20 pm

I agree Helen that you should not tell ahead of time. And you should not give too early a notice either because from what I’ve seen, managers who are upset about people leaving do abuse these people. What do they care? The employee is leaving anyways, right? So they overwork them, ask them to prepare this manual and that report and a list of all your responsibilities (which they should have known, but they don’t!), etc.


Rachael December 13, 2015 at 8:01 pm

That’s great that you’re looking out for your success, but many bosses don’t see it that way. They see it as a threat to them and their company, and they either try to get you out ASAP or get you to stay, if they can buy you. Neither one of these is good for you. If you’re ready to move on, your boss does not need to know-unless you are friends. Once you find a position elsewhere, then let them know with 3 weeks’ notice (2 is the norm, 3 is what extra milers do).

I’ve seen cases where the boss makes the employee’s life a living hell just because they made their exit public. Doing that too early can throw you in the hot seat. Be careful.


AF December 4, 2015 at 9:10 am

I would personally be extremely cautious about letting a manager know that you might be moving on. As the saying goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”. You can have a great working relationship with your manager, but they may have a totally different reaction if you let them know that you are looking around. I have known many people who, after they either announce they are looking or have secured another position, are asked to leave on the spot. Some companies just prefer things to roll out this way. Depends on your company’s culture. My advice is to be very cautious with this one.


Mark December 3, 2015 at 5:38 pm

My response is based solely on your adding that you have a great working relationship. I would let the boss know sooner rather than later that you are exploring other opportunities. I did that at my last job, and it felt good knowing that I wasn’t sneaking behind my manager’s back. He greatly appreciated my honesty and he supported my decision since he knew I was capable of far more than they had to offer. Conversely, I had someone working under me who did a similar thing, telling me at the start of the year that with her new degree, she didn’t think she’d still be here by year-end. And she wasn’t. I greatly appreciated the heads-up. Another person gave me even more of a notice, telling me in 2013 that he thought he’d be leaving by the end of 2015. Not because of a degree like the other person, but rather because he just felt like it was time to move on soon. He left a couple months ago. With both these people, we still maintain a good relationship, but for those who come in one morning and out of the blue tell me that they are giving two weeks notice, the post-employment relationship is non-existent. But all that being said, I would not have given the same answer if you did not have a good working relationship with your boss.


Emmy White December 3, 2015 at 5:22 pm

If you like your working relationship, but would like different opportunities, have you explored the possibilities of doing new things within the same company? If you like the boss, but want to move to a different kind of work altogether, I agree with Madeline. Don’t just discuss the possibility that you might leave, secure the job first then let the boss know you are leaving and why.

If your wish for new horizons is because of a problem where you currently are, give the boss a chance to fix it if they value your relationship as well.

You are probably a mainstay and repository of company information, so do your best to allow for transition time with a decent amount of notice. If you can arrange with your new employer to also be occasionally available to help your replacement via a phone call, that would be awesome too.


Madeline Case December 3, 2015 at 4:48 pm

First off, if you’re planning to leave the company, make sure the new job and company have been secured and that you are definitely hired. He or she might not like the fact that you are moving on. If it’s internal and looking for another area of the company, discuss this with your boss. Surely, he’d be supportive for you. This probably depends on how long you’ve been with the company.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: