Let me begin by first telling you how much I enjoy the MT podcast; I find it to be an enormously helpful resource in challenging my thinking about career and management issues.

My question is about how open I should be with management about my looking outside the company for new employment opportunities. I work at a large high tech firm as a marketing manager, and believe a good career roadmap is available to me within the company, but mainly at headquarters or the city where I currently live and work. Neither of these locations are desirable for me long-term, so I've been looking at opportunities in another region where I lived and worked prior to taking on my current role.

There are some opportunites there within the company, but not as many as in the main offices.

I have kept my job search to myself, but am not sure if I should be more candid about my desire to relocate, given that a desired relocation would communicate a certain likelihood of my leaving the company. Should I wait until I get an offer to bring this up, or should I be up-front about this desire now and possibly put my current job growth at risk ?

Thanks for any advice on this subject.

jhack's picture

Very tricky. Do you discuss your career goals with your boss? How open are you about your long term goals (including location, etc)?

If you've never discussed them before, telling them you're interested in relocating is very risky. If you have, you can frame the discussion in terms of "I was thinking about moving back to Saskatoon, and would like to explore opportunities in the company there, or alternative work lifestyles that would allow me to continue in my role while living there."

There is no value in saying that you're looking outside the company. Your goal is to relocate, not to find a new job.

Sometimes, there's a tradeoff between lifestyle and career ladder. Maybe you're in such a situation?


tomas's picture

You should be able to discuss your desire to relocate with your employer without having to tell them that you are actively looking for outside opportunities. The risk is that it will change the way you are viewed by your manager, but if you are committed to making the move then that should not be an issue. For example, you might be less likely to be promoted in your current team if they know you are not a long term prospect there.

I wouldn't recommend waiting until you have an offer before talking to your company about options. It is just too difficult in terms of timing, and comes across as an ultimatum. You don't want to be in a situation where you have a week to accept an offer and then expect your employer to be able to respond in any meaningful way.

It is certainly more professional to discuss this with your manager now, rather than springing it on them at the last moment or just leaving for a different job when there was a chance they could have moved you internally if they had only known.

karaikudy's picture
Training Badge

BLUF: If you had made up your mind, communicate EARLY of the decision to look for outside opportunities.

I had a similar situation 2 years back.When the growth opportunities were more outside the organization,I had expressed my desire to look for the outside opportunities to my boss during the Informal conversation. Of course, I had begin to get clear indications on way things were going then that I had far outgrown my present job profile. Usually[b] location and positions that offer a phenomenal growth as reason for the move are understood and accepted by the company.[/b](I changed job once location and the present job change for excellent growth prospects) I agree that the conversations with your manager have to happen sooner when you have made up your mind so that it gives them the options to consider alternatives.

Of course, it is very essential and critical that the job search process does not bring in distraction and performance issue in the present job. (Not even a perception in peoples mind). I had this bad experience about that 2 jobs back in 1999, when myself and my manager reached a situation where I decided enough was enough and to move on. Although I kept the job search to myself and did everything of the present job requirements. My manager had a lot of grouse when I put my papers and felt that I had not done enough over the period (3 months) that I did the job search and rated me very low on the performance review that happened after I had resigned(He had to complete the annual cycle and I too agreed to undergo the pain). Its another matter that we both were not even on speaking terms during that time. He is the only person in the world who would never make it to my network and I would never like to see his face again. (Thankfully, we are now 1200 Miles apart that our paths would never cross and he is at the twilight of his life cycle).

Good luck.


asteriskrntt1's picture

There is no 100% correct answer. There are only scenarios that may or may not play out.

In theory, if you have a strong positive relationship, are doing one on ones with your boss, your boss probably knows you are not 100% happy living where you are and you can discuss it further.

That being said, your boss may not have slept well for 6 days, the cat may have died and the kid has gone into drug rehab, so the last thing he/she wants to hear about are YOUR needs and the conversation goes downhill.

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

I wouldn't tell them unless you're actively looking, or maybe even receiving job offers. There could be an exception if your boss and you are really close, but think about it. What is your boss's job? Her job is to take care of the company. Once you tell her you're on your way out what does she have to do? She has to start preparing to replace you. So, she starts looking and finds somebody. Now, you don't have an offer yet, but she has someone to replace you. Guess what could happen next. :)

If she doesn't respond this way, she's not doing her job. Until you're actively doing something about it, keep your desire to move to yourself.

bflynn's picture

Whether or not you tell them depends on your boss and your judgement of how quickly you can move in the market. The safe route is not to tell them immediately (but start your preparation).

I vote for not telling him, even if you regularly discuss career strategy with him. As soon as you tell him, you become a lame duck and you have no power anymore. That loss of power will impact your ability to be effective and starts a clock ticking. If you don't move quickly out of the company after telling your boss, everyone will start to wonder whats going on and why you're still here. Additionally, your boss is likely to begin transitioning your responsibilities to others to prepare for your departure. Even if you're not ready to go yet, it may reach a point where there is no reason to keep you on.