As we’ve discussed, you are the CEO of your career.
And, as CEO, you’ll occasionally have to do one of the hardest jobs that any decent human ever has to do: Fire someone.
Specifically, at some point, you will likely have to fire your boss and move on to your next job. When and why and how you do this are important. So be deliberate.
When and why to move on
There are two good reasons to get a new job.
The first is that your current job just isn’t working, despite your best efforts to manage your boss and make your relationship and job mutually beneficial. This might be your boss’s fault. Or it might be yours. Or it might just be a bad fit. But once you have done what you can to fix the situation, don’t just give up and suffer. Your career (and life) are too important for that.
The second reason—a happier one—is that you have gotten everything you can out of your current job and boss and are ready to take your next career step. Deciding to do this may make you feel like you are betraying your boss or employer, but you aren’t. Jobs aren’t like diamonds and marriages: They’re not “forever.” So, although it is natural and decent to regret leaving people you like, you don’t owe your boss or organization any more of your future than you committed to giving them.
So, here are some times that, for the sake of your career, you’ll want to fire your boss and move on:
Meanwhile, here are some bad reasons to switch jobs:
Should you tell your boss you’re looking?
It’s easier to get a job when you have one, so if you have a choice, you’ll probably want to find your next gig while doing your current one. This also has the benefit of allowing you to keep your salary and benefits while you look.
(It’s not unethical to look for a new job while you have one, by the way. Your current boss and employer don’t own you. As long as you continue to honor any commitments you made, you can use your own time how you want — including exploring future opportunities.)
Your next job can either be within your current organization or outside it. There are pros and cons to each, so be open to both.
The most important thing is to make your next move a good move for you.
Not your current employer or boss. You.
Because it’s your career and your life.
Should you tell your current boss you’re looking?
Ideally, yes. In general, it’s good to be as transparent as possible. But be careful how you do it.
And there are some circumstances — and bosses — in which sharing the news ahead of time may not make sense. So make that decision carefully, too.
And when it comes time to actually fire your boss — to tell them that you are leaving — practice the conversation ahead of time. People always remember when and how they get fired — including people who are bosses. So you want to do it as decently and compassionately as you can.
All of these communications can be tricky and nuanced, as can be looking for a new job while still doing your current one. So I’ll write about them in more detail soon.