Job hunting can feel lonely, especially when it's difficult for you. Likewise, it can be an exciting time that promises new opportunities. Whatever the case, it's only human to want to share your stress and enthusiasm with others — especially the people with whom you spend a big chunk of your time (i.e. your coworkers!).
Of course, talking to your coworkers about your hunt for another job is risky business. You don't want your coworker turning around and telling your boss about your plans to leave the company, and you don't want them to spill the beans to others in the office who depend on you. It's your news to share with your boss and team if you decide to take a new job, after all.
Here are five signs that it's safe to share your job hunt with your coworkers, as well as five signs that you should keep it to yourself.
It may be OK to open up with your coworkers about your job hunt under these five circumstances.
If your coworker confides in you with secrets of their own, it may be OK to share your secret with them. They risk you spilling their secrets if they drop yours.
If your coworker proves to be a loyal friend to others in the office, never spilling others' secrets or gossiping, you might be able to trust this person, too.
If your coworker is also job searching, this might be a person you can trust to talk about the job hunt. If they're planning to leave the company, they'll likely understand you better than someone who isn't planning to leave, and they risk the same by sharing their job search details with you as you do with them.
If your coworker is already quitting the company, and they've already put in their resignation letter, they probably won't care too much about your plans to leave — and they may not even be around much longer (or at all) to blab about your plans to quit, too.
Of course, it's tough to tell how trustworthy some people are, but go with your gut in confiding in friends at work. If you spend a lot of your time together both at work and outside of work — doing activities together you wouldn't normally do with other coworkers — you might be able to share with this person about your plans to leave.
Definitely keep your job search to yourself if you get these five signs from your coworkers.
If your coworker is competing with you for a promotion, it may not be a good idea to tell them that you're actually planning on leaving. After all, whether or not they'd actually do it, it'd be in their interest to tell others that you're not even going to be around anyway to accept the offer.
If your coworker is a gossip queen or king and is always telling you about others in the workplace, you probably shouldn't trust that they won't also talk about you. While they may be your friend and might not intentionally throw you under the bus, a big mouth is a big mouth.
If your coworker seems to suspect that you're job hunting or planning to quit some time soon, they may try to pry for information. If you they seem to be making an effort to pull secrets out of you, it may be because they have ulterior motives. If they do this in writing — via Google Hangouts, email, Slack, text or other messaging platforms — it may be because they want the hard proof. You shouldn't give it to them.
If your coworker is super close with your boss (closer than they are with you), they're probably going to be more loyal to your boss than they are to you. In that case, they may want to warn your boss that you're trying to leave the company. Of course, this can hurt your career, make your remaining time in the job uncomfortable and burn bridges (even if it's not right to!).
If your coworker needs you to do your job so that they can do their job, they're not going to want to know that you don't plan on doing your job any longer. You quitting means that someone else will have to take you job, and that person will likely have to go through training (if the company can even find a replacement in good time), and it'll make their job a lot harder. Again, whether or not they'd do it, it'd be in their interest to let the hiring manager know that you're planning to quit and to start looking for your replacement sooner rather than later.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.