So, what do you say when your boss invites you into his or her office and asks you if you’re looking for a job… when you are? Do you try to live up to the standard your mom taught you, “thou shalt not lie?” Or, realizing that you’re likely to get fired if you tell the truth, do you lie and deny that you were looking for a job.
Most of the people I’ve read… career coaches, counselors, etc. will tell you that you should admit you are looking for a job, explain the reasons why and see if they can be rectified or fixed. B—l S–t! Don’t you dare do that.
Now I know Sr. Mildred, my first grade teacher at the very Catholic grade school, Monte Cassino, will turn over in her grave when she hears that I’m going to teach you to lie. And you may have to go to confession for telling a lie, but the consequences of telling the truth in this particular case are terrible.
Most companies with any sense, once they find out you are looking for a job are going to fire you on the spot. If they don’t fire you on the spot, they’re going to figure out a way to replace you as soon as they possibly can and then let you go.
Most of the time, when someone’s supervisor calls them in to ask this question, the supervisor really isn’t quite sure if the employee is looking for a job. If they were certain, they’d probably fire the person without asking any questions. They have probably heard a rumor through the company, aren’t really certain, so they ask. Unfortunately, most of the time the fact that an employee is looking for a job reaches the ears of a supervisor because the soon-to-be unemployed employee shared the fact they were looking for a job with someone in the company. Stupid!
I can’t tell you the number of candidates I’ve had over the years that swear up and down they have absolutely no idea how the boss found out they were looking for a job right before they were fired. 99% of the time the employee told one of their “trusted” cohorts they were looking to leave and never imagined it would get around to other people in the company. So, one lesson is to never, ever, ever discuss your job search with someone you work with. I don’t care if everybody in the company is looking to leave, don’t discuss it with anybody you work with.
Unfortunately, if you’re asked this question and you are looking for a job, you have no choice but to deny it. Please don’t try to tell me you just don’t want to lie. Maybe you don’t want to lie and maybe you’ll feel great about telling the truth even though you get fired. Maybe… but if you are like most, you can’t afford to be without a job. This job market is just way too difficult. So, please try not to get yourself in a situation where you’re faced with this challenge. But if you do, you have to protect your job.