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How to Transfer Jobs Internally Without Offending Your Boss

By Maurie Backman – Aug 9, 2019 at 5:18AM

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Looking to make a switch within your company? Here's how to preserve your relationship with your manager.

If you work for a larger employer, there may be different opportunities to advance your career within the company. That could mean getting promoted on your current team, or switching to another department and seeing where that takes you.

The latter is a good option to pursue if there's a different area of the business you're eager to break into, if you get along well with another team, or if you're simply looking for a change. But if you put in for that transfer, how will it impact your relationship with your current manager? If you and your boss get along well, he or she may be offended you're choosing to leave your current role behind, even if you are staying with the company. Here's how to tackle this tricky but salvageable situation.

Two men in professional attire having a conversation


1. Talk to your manager before applying elsewhere

Switching roles internally could constitute a blow to your current team and boss, so before you apply for another position, give your manager the courtesy of a heads-up. Let him or her know your reasons for pursuing that move, and make it clear that while you enjoy working on your current team, the move that you're contemplating will better serve your career on a long-term basis. With any luck, he or she will understand where you're coming from, and will appreciate you broaching the topic before actually making a move.

2. Give adequate notice

Just as you're expected to give two weeks' notice when you resign from one company and move to another, you should uphold that same practice when transferring jobs within the same company. Think about it: Your manager still needs some time to reallocate your responsibilities or find a replacement for you, so the more time you're able to give your boss, the better. And because you're not actually switching employers, you shouldn't get pushback from your new manager about giving that notice, especially since both your new boss and your old boss should ultimately have the same goal -- to allow for the smoothest possible transition.

3. Pledge your ongoing support

When you leave a job for a new employer, you're not physically around to help pick up the pieces. But when you switch jobs within the same company, there's still the option to help out your old team in a pinch. It pays to make it clear to your boss that just because you're transferring jobs doesn't mean you can't be counted on for support, whether it's troubleshooting problems or getting your replacement up to speed. Putting that out there will not only ease your boss's mind but help preserve your relationship.

The last thing you want to do is switch jobs internally and hurt or offend your boss in the process. Remember, there's a good chance you'll continue to see your manager around the office, or even interact professionally with your boss once you've changed roles, so the more of an effort you make to leave on a respectful, helpful note, the better.

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