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When, if ever, is it good/OK to tell people you’re job hunting in your current place of employment? For example, is it ever a good/OK idea to: tell a friendly coworker, either just for moral support, or to ask them to keep an eye out for opportunities, or help you brainstorm your strengths so you can position yourself well for what’s next?
What about with a superior at your current job? Is there a useful way to bring this up in the form of negotiation to get something you want at your current job? Or does it just put you at risk to let them know you’re looking elsewhere? I have been told that in the world of academia, it’s typical to tell your institution that you’ve been invited to interview elsewhere in order to renegotiate your position. But it’s hard for me to picture doing this in working environments I’ve been in.– Patron V.B.
Special shoutout to Patreon donor V.B. for this question. And props in general to all of our Patreon donors, who gave us so much valuable feedback on our pilot episode.
Did you agree with our advice? Tell us what you think in the comments below!
Episode transcript (click to reveal)
Theme Song 0:00
If you need some dough
You don’t know where to go
In this patriarchal capitalist hellscape
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Because bitches get riches
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And so can you
I’m Kitty. We’re the bitches in Bitches Get Riches.
We’re two women with opinions on the internet.
And we are here to share those opinions with you.
Our time on this planet is limited.
So let’s get started.
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Patreon donors are the heroes of this podcast. We love you all so much and we could not do this without you. Our gracious donor asks, “When (if ever) is it good/okay to tell people you’re job hunting in your current place of employment? For example, is it ever a good/okay idea to tell a friendly coworker either just for moral support or to ask them to keep an eye out for opportunities, or help you brainstorm your strengths so you can position yourself well for what’s next? What about with a superior at your current job? Is there a useful way to bring this up in the form of negotiation to get something you want at your current job? Or does it just put you at risk to let them know you’re looking elsewhere? I have been told that in the world of academia, it’s typical to tell your institution that you’ve been invited to interview elsewhere in order to renegotiate your position. But it’s hard for me to picture doing this in working environments I’ve been in.” This is a great question. Before we answer, let us give thanks to our benevolent corporate overlords.
The sponsor for this episode is our Patreon donors. In particular, we would like to thank VB for sending us this question.
Forever and ever. Amen.
Okay, so let’s get down to this because I have a lot of thoughts. How about you?
I do too. Yeah.
Okay, first of all, I want to share a brief story about a friend who shall remain nameless. We will call her Sarah. Because that’s her fucking name. Sarah, last year, was bored with her job and wanted to get a new one. And she basically said to her supervisor, “Hey, I’m looking for a new job.” And then like a week later, before she had, you know, really even gone on a job interview her boss had people in the office interviewing to replace her and Sarah being the naive little thing that she is went weeping to her boss and was like, “Wait, but no, I don’t have another job lined up yet!” And her boss was like, “Yeah, but you’ve told me you’ve got one foot out the door. So I’m just trying to get ahead of this whole replacing you thing. You can’t blame me.” So that’s a perfect example of you know what happens when you tell the wrong person at work that you want to get a new job.
Yeah, I think, you know, interestingly, I have a sort of counter anecdote.
Let’s hear it.
You remember my first boss, whose name is Naomi.
So hey, Naomi. Oh, god, I would love if she would listen. Okay. So Naomi was a woman who ran her own business and she gave me my first ever job. I started out as an intern with her. And over time, I became the manager of her studio, and she paid me as much as she could possibly afford to pay me, but she was still a very small business. And that really capped out at about, I want to say like, maybe $25,000 a year, and she just could not do more. And she was well aware that living in a large city, that was a fine amount for a student in college and maybe a year or two out, but that realistically, in the long term, she knew she could not keep me. So when I got to the point where I really needed to be making more money in order to get the rest of my goals in place, I told her like I’m ready for this. And she really came through for me, she recognized that I had given her many years of great work at a very affordable rate, and she dug deep into her contacts. She got me a lot of freelance work by introducing me to her industry contacts. So I think a lot of this has to do with what’s your relationship with the person. And what are your goals in that job search. I think there’s a really big, distinction here between trying to use something as leverage in order to improve your current situation, versus truly wanting to leave your current role, those are two pretty different priorities, and you would play those hands really differently.
Absolutely. I think let’s first address this as if the question asker truly wants to leave the position. So I think, you know, just based on the two anecdotes, we’ve just gone over, like the difference is relationships. And in my own experience, you know, leaving my last job, I did not let my boss know that I was leaving until I was handing him a letter of resignation. You know, that was kind of my first big job in publishing, I really needed references. So I went to a coworker who I really trusted. And, you know, I just told her, “Hey, I have an opportunity to interview with another press. You know, can I use you as a reference? Can I trust you to just keep this under wraps for now?” And she was totally understanding of that, and the difference there was I had a relationship of trust with her. And I didn’t tell her enough to scare her necessarily, but I also didn’t lie. What do you think?
Every job I’ve had, I have gotten on the strength of the relationships that I built in the workplace. I have had coworkers who I was working with at the time, say, “Hey, I’m looking for jobs right now and I came across a listing. I don’t know if you’re looking right now, but it’s not right for me, but I thought of you immediately. I’m going to email it to your personal Gmail.”
Gotta love that subterfuge.
Love it, love it. And I think for someone who’s never had a job before, this kind of stuff probably sounds like pretty magical. It is. I honestly think that if you prove yourself to be someone who is an easy person to work with, a nice human being, someone who cares about the quality of what they do, like you will find people who are willing to advocate for you. So knowing who those people are, is a real, they are super valuable tool. They are like the only tool I use now if I’m looking for work again. But that said, you really need to know what your relationship is with them. And you need to also be prepared that – what’s, what’s that? What’s that saying? Where they’re like, oh, if two bitches know something, then like ‘er bitch is gonna know it.
Oh, it’s about secrets.
Yes, that one.
We’re not cool enough to know it. But if like, two people cannot keep a secret. Only one person can.
Yeah, basically, it’s like that, but pithier. Anytime you let someone into a secret, you know, it might be that the person in the office who is best positioned to give you a really good reference or maybe has a contact in the job that you’re currently trying to obtain and you want them to put in a good word for you. Maybe that person is also the office gossip, in which case you kind of have to weigh like you know, my husband just left his job.
Congratulations Mr. Kitty!
I know. I’m so proud of you sweetie. I love you so much. Thank you for doing the dishes. But he was the only iOS developer left at the company. And their primary product was creating apps for the App Store. So he knew that he was safe as houses that even if they knew he was looking for work elsewhere, there was no chance that they were going to do what happened in your initial anecdote with Sarah, you know, kind of saying, I’m thinking about something else. Like, even if his bosses did pick up on that even if one of his coworker references had let that information slip, they wouldn’t have done anything about it. So you really have to know the person, but also prepare for the fact that some people have loose lips. That might equate to some sunk ships.
Sunk ships. Yeah. With that let’s move on to the idea of negotiating leverage.
Yes. So I have actually never done this myself. Because the jobs that I have left, I have been ready to leave emotionally in terms of what was right for me. What was right for my career. We have a lot of articles on the concept of job hopping. We are big advocates for that. I’m pretty mercenary. I don’t have a lot of loyalties. If I’m looking for a job, it’s because I want a new job. But that said, I am familiar with people who’ve been in the situation where they go to their boss, they say “I really need a raise.” Their boss says “I really want to give one to you, but the company needs something to change. Whether that’s you go out and get more education, that’s one thing. You could go out and get another job offer and we could use that as a justification, a business case for increasing your pay.” I’ve known people who that’s happened to. I’ve even known people who left their company for one year, and then came back to their original company at a much higher job role because they couldn’t jump up from being a junior manager to being a vice president of some division, but they could if they went and had a slightly higher title somewhere else. So that’s very possible to do. But I think it will change the nature of your relationship with your boss.
I think a lot of this depends on – I’ve had bosses who I can like have real deep soul searching conversations that feel like we’re leaving the workplace outside of their office door. And there are other bosses who are like very buttoned up – by the book. They’re not necessarily looking out for what’s best for me as a person. They’re looking out for themselves and their own interest and their team. And I’ve even certainly had bosses who were sort of petty and vindictive and would take it personally that someone wanted to leave their team.
So you gotta know. Yeah, fuck them.
You gotta know when to hold ’em.
You have to know when to fold them. By the way – can I just say, one of my saltiest moments? So far writing the blog has been when I referenced the song, “no one to hold them and no one to fold them”. And someone was like “actually, the title of the song is the gambler” and I was like how dare you.
I just breathed out all of the air. You were wronged there. I am going to say though, I would like to put myself, prostrate myself upon the altar of what not to do here because I, years ago, when I was stuck in the job that you know was a decent publishing job but I was stuck there for too long and I wanted to leave. One of my first attempts to leave was I was like on the cusp of getting offered a position at another press and I decided not to because I had heard some things about the workplace environment and I just was like – it was going to be a lateral move and not great. Anyway, I decided to withdraw myself from consideration. And I did so and the person who was considering me was just like, “Oh no, what can I do to come back?” And instead of like, working her against my current boss, or even going into my current boss to be like, “Hey, I’ve had an offer from another publishing house like let’s get them money.” I didn’t do anything. I totally like dropped the fucking ball. I just like just quietly withdrew myself from consideration and went back to my life and in hindsight I’m like what is wrong with me?
You are a saint like it doesn’t occur to you to play things to your advantage like you’re a straight shooter whereas I am a Slytherin and I would be like, “They offered me $40K more. You need to match that or I’m FUCKING walking.”
This the difference between the straight shooting Ravenclaw and the Slytherin.
Mm hmm. Just a slippery Slytherin.
And actually I think it might have been due more to my undercurrent of Hufflepuffness. But no, I just didn’t have that killer instinct at the time. I have grown into my killer instinct slightly. You know when I did eventually leave my last job. You know, I walked into my boss’s office with a letter of resignation. It was like, “Thanks for the opportunity, dude”. And he was like, “Is there anything I can do to get you to stay?” And I could have said, “$5 to $10,000 more”, and he might have given me five. Instead, I said “$20,000 more”. And he was like, “Well, it was nice working with you”. I was like, “I know. Thank you.”
I love that. If you do really want to stay in your current role, and you just want to leverage this job offer to get more out of your current boss and that can be a bigger paycheck, that can be more vacation time. It can be some work from home days, you can choose what you want to use that capital for. But I think something that’s important to remember is how you’re framing it to your boss. I think there’s a big difference between saying, “I need you to match this offer MOTHERFUCKER!” And going in and saying, “I had a recruiter reach out to me. I wasn’t actively looking, but they’ve been recruiting me really hard. They’ve made a very competitive offer. That’s, you know, substantially more than I’m being paid here. I love my job here. I love my duties. I love my coworkers. Is there any way that you can match that? Because I want to stay here, but I also have to, you know, tightly consider what is best for me.”
Yeah, gotta do what you gotta do.
Yeah, I think that is very different from saying like, “You need to match this or else I’m gonna blow this place sky high!”
Finger on the trigger.
So, so the tone, the tone, I think, is very important.
Um, are you happy with that?
I’m happy with that.
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Was there anything else you wanted to say?
I literally have a blanket over my head.
Good to know. Bitches out!
Huge thanks to Purple at A Purple Life for her help creating these transcripts!