Question about ethics in the workplace

A position has opened in my department that looks pretty great and I’m thinking of applying for it. If I got it I would still be working in the same office space around the same people, but my specific work group would change along with my supervisor and probably desk assignment.

I’m wondering when I should mention the application to my current supervisor. If I don’t say anything she’ll find out almost immediately anyway, and I’m concerned it will not be great for her to hear it from someone other than me. On the other hand I don’t want to give her the impression that I’ve got one foot out the door (even though I really hope to get both of them out asap) so starting the conversation is difficult. I’m sure she’ll ask why I want to move into another position, and I don’t know how to answer that given that I may not get the gig which would mean keeping the job I have with a boos who knows I want to leave.

Any advice or experience to share?

If I were you, I’d take her aside and tell her . . . reassuring her that you’re not unhappy with your current job, or with her as your supervisor. Don’t give the impression that you’re actively looking to jump ship; instead, explain that this is a rare opportunity to get a position that utilizes more of your training and talents.

Find out if there is any way (with Human Resources, or with the hiring supervisor/manager) to delay notifying your current boss until you know you’ll get offered the position. It’s very reasonable that these kinds of things should be kept as confidential as needed until things progress to the point that your current supervisor needs to know.

If you were working for me I couldn’t care less that you are looking to move on. I actively encourage everyone that works for or with me to look for any opportunity to further themselves even if it is at the expense of my convenience. I even suggest opportunities to people if I think it will suit them or gain them valuable skills. That’s what you are meant to do as a boss - help everyone that works for you be the best person they can be.

This, I also did this when I was a manager. I always hoped that my co-workers would actively seek to better themselves.

One of my “underlings” did exactly what you want to do, but did not get the position. We worked together to figure out what he needed to do to get the next one. He had the training and some experience when the opening came up next. He got the job! We were both happy. I had trained someone else to replace him, so I was not negatively impacted. We all won!

I suspect that you already know how your supervisor will react to you posting for this job. I know how I would react, but I am not your supervisor.

I would say something like “Do you think that would a good spot for me?”

It’s noncommittal, makes her think you value her opinion, and would put her on your side in getting the job if she agrees.

This is what I said to her today (thanks for the good opening line). She gave a hard wince and said “I’d hate to lose you but of course you’ll be applying for it, why wouldn’t you?” So she’s a good boss and I’d be sorry to leave her, but I’m doing it anyway.

Thanks for the advice everyone.

You did the right thing, talking to your current supervisor. If the company you work for is worth their salt, the hiring manager will talk to your current supervisor anyway, to get feedback on your current performance, before even considering to hire you for the new role.