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Caught Red-Handed: When Your Boss Finds Out You’re Job-Hunting

By | Adrian Granzella Larssen |

Maybe your co-worker accidentally let the cat out of the bag. (It happens.) Maybe your interviewer happens to be your boss’ brother. (It’s a small world.) Maybe you left your resume in the office printer. (Wait, seriously?)

In any case, your boss has gotten wind that your last few “doctor’s appointments” have actually been interviews. And now you’ve found yourself face-to-face with her in a closed-door meeting, being asked, “So, I hear you’re looking for a new job. Is that true?”

Now, while this sounds like an expletive-inducing situation, let me assure you that many an employee has walked out of these meetings unscathed (and with employment in tact). In fact, I am one of them. And while those meetings certainly weren’t fun (yes, this happened to me twice), they both ended far better than you might think. Here’s my advice when you’re caught red-handed.

Be Honest

Repeat after me: Do not lie. Yes, you can sugar-coat the truth (more on that later), and you can certainly laugh the question off during water cooler chats with your nosy co-workers, but if you’re in a one-on-one situation with your boss, don’t even attempt some version of “What are you talking about? I would never consider leaving the company!”

For one, you’re not as sly as you think you are (sorry), especially if your boss has any kind of intel that you’ve been job hunting. Plus, the truth is you are considering leaving the company, and you probably will—soon. And you probably still want your boss to be a reference.

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