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Thread: Using your current boss as a reference while still employed

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Using your current boss as a reference while still employed

    I recently had a few interviews where I had to fill out a reference consent form requiring my current supervisor. I've been working for the town (a very small town I should add) for almost years now. I should add that I was born and raised in a big city all my life so the transition has been very difficult for obvious reasons. Especially in a small town, most people think a municipal job is like winning the jackpot. However, I know for a fact that I cannot live here for the rest of my life and two years has been long enough. Being 24 years old, I don't think anyone can expect me to stay in the same position for my whole life, yet this is how most people in the small town think.

    Should I tell my boss that I've been attending interviews and that he should expect a call? What if the potential employers don't even consider me and as a result don't even check my references?

    However, if I do tell my boss will this create an awkward working environment since he'll know that I'm looking for other options? Or is it expected that everyone does look for other options? Super awkward...

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Don't do it. He could terminate you. no matter how much you hate your job, put in 200% on the job and look for work on your own time. When you DO have that offer and it's tme to pack up, always leave on good terms. You never know when you might need him as a reference himself
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Except for my first planning job where everybody was looking, I have always told my supervisor. Of my career goals and ambitions; of my immediate prospects. All were very understanding and supportive. As a supervisor, I knew that my entry level positions were not forever, because I hired people with ambition. It fed my ego as mentor to see them land better jobs.

    Working small towns one cannot move up. You move to other areas. Unless there are issues with your supervisor that you did not mention I would keep him/her informed.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    I know on most applications there is a box that ask "may we contact this reference" or something similar. I typically check market "no" and then it asked a reason if no. Simply put, "may contact this reference if i am a final candidate"

    The simply lets them know you can contact them if you are one of the finalist. I told my supervisor about my final two interviews after they happened and that these agencies were contact him for a reference. Was he heart broken? Yea, but like MG, i think it fed his ego to at least see folks move on to bigger and better things.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    It can still backfire. What happens if your current employer is notified but ultimately you are not offered the job? Not every boss is receptive to his/her staff. Some expect you to put in 200% on the first day through to the last day. If your boss picks up on you looking for another job somewhere else that can be perceived as a threat, and could potentially damage your reputation as a loyal worker (this will vary from one supervisor to the next). It could lead to termination or could damage your chances for internal promotions, additional responsibilities, compensation, etc.

    Most employers looking for new staff understand that discretion is a must. Some are even willing to set up interviews after hours or on the weekend to accomodate interviewees, especially if they want them bad enough. You don't HAVE to list your current employer. That is why you leave on good terms with previous employers: so you can list them instead. I also would not list clients of your current employer or current coworkers.

    No matter what you do, do not burn bridges. We are too small of a profession.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    It all depends on your relationship with the boss. No one answer to this one. Although I would say the default is probably "don't." And if you do, hold it back until you have a fairly solid read that you are the one finalist. Most potential employers will understand you not wanting to use your current boss as a reference until its pretty much the last thing they check...

  7. #7
    Member
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    Another issue is if you have been working in your current job a few years your previous references can become stale. In my case, I have been in a non-planning job for the past 3 years, and my planning-related work goes back to 2006 and earlier. I have kept in touch with my older references the past few years, so that helps, but luckily I think I can use my current boss as a reference if I need to.

    What do people think--do references get too old or is it okay to use references going back 5 years or more?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by expdxer View post
    What do people think--do references get too old or is it okay to use references going back 5 years or more?
    I'd say it's OK to have one or two older references, but make sure you have some current ones to balance things out. Also, make sure you still keep in touch with your references from five years ago and that they're still comfortable with being a reference for you.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    I have had it go both ways, sometimes I have told my employer that I am looking at other opportunites because I want to go "higher" but there are no promotional opportunities available in my current position, this does not mean that I am planning on leaving but merely looking around. I think that it is a judgement call on your part. I have also had interivews and not told my current employer and sometimes they became incensed when they found out and sometimes they asked if I was unhappy and why was I interviewing. In todays economy sometimes you know there are cutbacks coming and you are trying to stay a step ahead. In my last position I saw it coming and started interviewing and they did not hold it against me. To sum it up, it is a judgement call on your part but I dont think that I would mention that I couldnt see living in this community for the rest of my life. Just about every community thinks that their community is the promised land and that is why they are there and would probably take this as a personal affront if you mentioned this reason. I think that we have all been at regional meetings where there are elected officials "scouting" for a certain employee for a position and they are looking for a "young person" who "raise a family" in their small community. This could happen but normally most of us are going where the opportunities for promotion are. If we are planning on a family this also means the finacial means to support a family and send our children to college and many small towns cannot afford this but will verbalize they that do not understand when a "young person" leaves them after a few years for finacial opportunties in a large organization, so again I would not bring this up.

    I wish you the very best

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    I just got the call today and was offered the position. I gladly accepted, of course. Its funny because they called my boss last week and I had no idea. I told him today and he totally understood and was very happy for me. He told me that he had a hint when I approached him about a personal leave of absence that I was planning on taking to travel. Anyways, everything worked out well and I'm happy!
    Thanks for all the advice y'all!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jammers View post
    I just got the call today and was offered the position. I gladly accepted, of course. *snip* Anyways, everything worked out well and I'm happy!
    Thanks for all the advice y'all!
    Congratulations! When you move, I hope it goes smoothly!
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  12. #12
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jammers View post
    I just got the call today and was offered the position. I gladly accepted, of course. Its funny because they called my boss last week and I had no idea. I told him today and he totally understood and was very happy for me. He told me that he had a hint when I approached him about a personal leave of absence that I was planning on taking to travel. Anyways, everything worked out well and I'm happy!
    Thanks for all the advice y'all!
    Awesome, congrats!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Congrats....
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  15. #15
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Congratulations! Good luck!
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  16. #16
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    I'm a little late on this one, but I just wanted to re-stress the importance of not burning bridges. It seems that your boss handled everything very well; not only did he obviously give you a good review, but he didn't feel the need to confront you about it at all. I suggest you make it a point to thank him specifically for being so understanding, if you haven't already, on top of whatever appreciative comments you would have offered as you were leaving. Once you get settled into your new job, send an email to him, and anyone else in your old office you want to keep in touch with, and let them know how you are making out. That's a great way to keep in touch, in case you need another reference or something down the road.

    Also, congratulations!

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks y'all! And thanks for all the great advice!

    Big city, here I come!

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