Every time I commit to leaving my current job, something goes nuclear, and it falls on me. I'm sick of it. What is the best way to handle a current boss planning drastic future plans around you, while you've just interviewed for your dream job? Snowflakes inside.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (53 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This morning, I had a terrific interview for the closest thing I've ever considered a "dream job." I clicked well with my two-person interview panel and, after the formal/canned questions were done, they asked me some off the cuff questions (e.g., this is the impossible problem we're facing; what is your analysis/solution?); we had a five minute conversation about mutual hobbies; and then I asked my questions, which lead to about 10+ minutes of receiving advice about how to handle my first year in the position, tips on how to best succeed, discussion of the challenges I would be facing at that specific store, and the qualities that make for the best managers (and they used, verbatim, the qualities and descriptions that I had referenced/stressed upon all throughout my interview). I got the interview in the first place after being headhunted by a well-respected, high-level executive. I also have prior experience working for this company, left on wonderful terms, and always got the very best performance reviews. I feel good about my chances, but I understand that nothing's a guarantee.
My current job is a pretty toxic one (think: sick system/Start Up Stockholm Syndrome), with yelling, public shaming, and through-the-roof stress and anxiety levels. It's a privately owned company with 5-6 employees, including me. There's no HR or anything like that. I've been at this job for over three years and have wanted out for two; I've been actively looking for other work for about a year, but I've had panic attacks anytime potential employers called, and I didn't have the emotional energy to interview. I only interviewed for my "dream job" because I was being held accountable to do so in ways far too specific to get into. After my interview today, all of the stress and anxiety slid away, and I was the happiest I'd been in years. I felt gloriously emotionally checked out and more than ready to move on. I felt like my "old self" again, with genuine excitement for my future. And then something happened that always happens: Boss' problems.
Boss feels overwhelmed with work. Boss relies on me to handle the big projects and generally dig the office out of meteoric holes. We're buried again, with a massive incoming project that I'm the most qualified--by leaps and bounds--to tackle. More importantly, tonight, Boss finally realized that our current personnel set up is ridiculous, given our workload and the complexity of our work, and wants to terminate our part-timers. The plan is for me to recruit and train the one full-timer that would replace the part-timers. Boss also wants to hire another administrative assistant, who I would also train. Boss is going to talk to the two part-timers this week about being let go. I am the only one who is able to train these new people, as our primary admin assistant routinely frustrates people to the point of quitting (I almost did, when she trained me) or crying (at least two other employees that I'm aware of). I'm the only other full-time support staff. I realize I'm not irreplaceable, but I'm damned close to it. When I leave, I can actually see Boss calling it quits and closing the doors, and I know Boss pretty well. I'm not saying I know Boss will, but I think there's a definite chance it would go that way.
(FWIW, this is not a situation where I could (or even would) offer to pick up part-time hours in order to iron out all of these new problems; if I get my dream job, I'll be near instantly whisked away for a month and a half of out-of-town/state training. I don't even know if I'll be able to give anything more than a 2 week notice, which is all I'm required to give in order to get paid my accrued personal time.)
I understand that Boss' crisis is not my crisis, and I need to look out for me. That's why I'm asking this question. The advice I've always read and stuck by is, "Never let on that you're looking for a job, until you've found another job, no matter what." But I want to keep Boss as a positive reference, if only because I wouldn't be happy leaving this job without something in my pocket besides "live and learn." My dilemma is that I'm discussing all these future plans with Boss, while I know that I could be handing in my notice by the end of next week. That seems like a huge betrayal and a surefire way of lighting this particular bridge on fire. I also don't know that sitting on something like this, considering the drastic changes Boss is considering, is something that sits well with me at all. Despite Boss' temper and verbal abuse toward other employees (rarely ever me), we have a good rapport and Boss has taught me a lot.
I'm thinking about going in tomorrow morning and telling Boss, "You caught me off guard last night, and I needed time to think through my options. I've interviewed for another position, which I fully intend to take, should it be offered. There is never going to be a good time for me to leave, and I need to do what's best for me. I'm telling you this because I want you to have a clear picture of the resources you will have going into your planned staffing changes." Of course, I run the risk that I don't get the dream job and then get replaced quicker than I can replace my current job. The job market's rough, and my partner and I would not be able to make do on my partner's salary alone. We've made recent, longstanding financial decisions based on the combined income we have now, which would nearly be halved if I lost my job.
I'm sort of in panic mode, and I don't know how well I'm thinking this out. So: what is the smartest, safest, best way to handle this? Are those three things even simultaneously doable in this situation?