My boss found out I’m job hunting

I have worked as an office manager for seven years. I recently inquired about a position with closer to my children and home. I filled out a profile online and listed my current boss as a reference.

He now feels like I could leave at any moment even though I told him I was not leaving and I just was considering my options. He now has brought back the girl I replaced who had left due to maternity leave.

He informed me that I would have to share the manager position and my hours would be reduced. In the past, he has said the best way to get rid of someone is by reducing their hours so they will voluntarily quit. I can’t help but feel that this is what he is now doing to me.
Do I have any basis to resign and get unemployment? Obviously the work environment has become extremely uncomfortable.

An uncomfortable environment isn’t justification to quit and be eligible for unemployment. (As long as it’s just uncomfortable in the way you’re talking about and not uncomfortable in that your boss is showing dirty movies on a big screen in the office. That would be a hostile work environment and can be a reason to quit.)

But reduced hours can make you eligible for unemployment in some states and under some conditions. I’m being purposely vague because unemployment can vary from state to state and some people will even argue that it varies from hearing officer to hearing officer. You’ll want to Google “[state] unemployment hours reduction” and see what you can find.

Now, you’ve learned something about your boss. He’s a horrible person. You knew that because he told you already that he preferred to reduce hours until someone quits rather than just having the guts to fire someone. But, you assumed (as lots of people do) that while he’s horrible to others, you were safe. But horrible people are horrible. They just pretend to be not horrible when they are getting what they want from you.

A great boss wants to know when employees are considering leaving. It allows them to prepare and plan. But, even good bosses sometimes feel like they’ve been punched in the gut when an employee resigns. Most people resign because they don’t like their bosses. Bosses know this. I know that you would really just like something closer to home, but it’s still a punch in the gut, and sometimes people react that way.

This is why most people don’t tell their bosses that they are looking for a new job until they’ve found one and accepted it. You made the mistake of listing him as a reference (did you ask first?) and he probably found out when he got a phone call. That’s not how a boss wants to learn that an employee is looking to leave.

Now, you’ve got another employee working with you, so it’s not so easy to get your hours back up, because she’ll suffer as well. And while your boss is a jerk to handle things this way, it’s not illegal.

So, my advice to you is that you expand your job search, stay working part time until you do (part time pay is probably more than unemployment), and get out of there as soon as possible. And in the future, don’t use a current boss as a reference .

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4 thoughts on “My boss found out I’m job hunting

  1. In some states you can file for “under employment” if your hours were cut substantially. That might be something to try so that you can keep this job while you look and still make close to your normal pay. It is always easier to find a job while you have a job so I would suggest looking into this for now.

  2. This is wonderful advice! I’m sure that a similar situation has occurred in others’ lives as well, so knowing how to handle it is helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Why would you let your boss no you were looking? Have an offer and then use them as a reference, maybe. But never before that.

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