What Should I Say About New Job?

Question for Ask the Workplace Doctors regarding telling current boss about a new job: “My boss doesn’t want people to leave and has given bad references to keep them here. What should I say about a new job?

I have had an up and down relationship with my boss. I finally found another job and I plan on giving notice soon (upon written receipt of the offer of the new job). However, I am wary of saying where I am going.

My boss has made clear that she does not want employees to leave. In fact, when former employees left, she put in calls to the new employer to question who the references were (specifically at the organization). Almost every employee states the new employer’s name upon resignation (most of these employees had good relations). My office is really gossipy and my fear is that by withholding this information, it’s going to create more gossip and a “search” to find out where I am going.

In addition, my boss knows the execs at my new employer and I’m afraid she might be spiteful and put in a call (and subtly say something negative). The field is small. What should I do? If I withhold the name, she will insist. I already know that she will not be a reference. Advice on how to tactfully handle this situation?

Signed, Concerned

Dear Concerned:

I agree with you that withholding the name of your new employer will make people curious. It also is unnecessary to create that kind of mystery about it. So, although you don’t have to announce it to everyone, you may as well be truthful when asked. An offer to work indicates that a business wants to hire you.

Unless someone were to disclose that you lied on your application or have something very negative in your background that wasn’t known before, it’s very unlikely that the offer would be rescinded only because the former employer reacts negatively.

Most bosses don’t want good employees to leave, so that wouldn’t be surprising. As far as a reference goes, very few businesses do more than verify employment dates, so you’re not missing out on anything there either. You’ve had one job and now you’re going to another one. Just do it, discuss it only as needed and when you do be pleasant and positive, then move on when the time comes. Your boss will get over it, someone will be hired to fill your position and you’ll be busy learning your new job. Best wishes to you as you move forward.

Tina Lewis Rowe