After listening to the Career Tools podcast on the basics of why you should never expect your manager to place confidentiality with you over their responsibilities as an employee of the company...

I thought of a situation I am in now.

As a middle manager, my boss has told me that he plans to leave the company in ~6 months to move back overseas with his family. He also told me that he does not plan to give notice until the last second so as to not jeapordize the project we are currently on.

This IS going to hamper my ability to be promoted as he will not be around to write the performance review I deserve, and I anticipate that the Director will naturally choose my more senior peer with no other clear reasons for me to bypass him.

Do I out my current manager and risk losing his respect in the remaining months we will be working together?

Do I attempt to trumpet my good work over the top of my current manager so that the Director will notice and consider me despite being less senior?

Do I keep my mouth shut and take it on the chin?



stringl's picture

Hi Rick,

this may be too simplistic, but could you ask him to write performance reviews for you and the rest of his team before he goes? And to make sure he has time to hand them over to the relevant person, I guess the Director.



jhack's picture

There is no guarantee that he will, in fact, leave in six months.  If you leak this, and you're wrong, it would be a serious blot on your reputation.  Even if he does leave (after you out him) you can be pretty sure that the promotion won't be yours - your indiscretion will reflect poorly on you, and will be used by others.   Really, what do you have to gain by leaking this info?  I can't see an upside.  

That doesn't mean you can't ask for a review.  Take it one step further:  write it yourself, and ask him to edit it and submit it on your behalf. 

Have you considered sharing the "how to resign" podcasts with your boss?  They're full of great advice, and it would help you if he followed the advice in those casts.  

Finally, your best path to promotion is to perform your duties with exemplary effectiveness.  

John Hack

mmann's picture
Licensee Badge


First, I'll echo John's reply.  There's no benefit in revealing your boss' secret plan.  In fact, your boss is probably correct that it'll disrupt that big project he's referring to and make your team look bad.  A bad team means no one will get promoted.

Second, I can't help noticing that your assumption is a glowing review will get you the desired promotion.  This may be true, but your boss may have  a different perspective that could augment, or perhaps even replace the review as the primary means of getting the promotion.  I think you should ask your boss what you can do to improve your likelihood of getting promoted into his position when/if he leaves.  Ask him if he has some time to discuss a career decision with you.  Explain the circumstances with no hint of 'outing' him, and ask him what would put you in the best position for moving into his role.  Ask him if there are gaps in your skills that could be remedied before he exits.  This would be the place to ask him if he'd write a glowing review for you before departing, and also where you'd share the MT 'How to Resign' podcast.  Remember this is a career decision, and as such, you need to identify the choices [What] and apply the 'Who' and the 'When' to them.

Third, consider your relationships with your peers.  Do you know the names of their kids?  Remember the John Lucht's "Second Fundamental Principle of the Career-Building Executive: Pursue the 'If Not Me' Objective."  If your peers are asked who their first two choices would be to occupy that role, you want everyone to name you as their second choice, (they'll all name themselves as first choice).

Good luck!  Let us know what you decide to do.