Background: I work at a large US company with an IT department of a few thousand people, and have been here for a couple of years. Several months ago my manager submitted paperwork to promote me, as I tend to work above my current pay grade and am well-regarded by peers and customers. Unfortunately, the department did not see a business case for it, and I would need to wait several months before they could try again. This did not bother me too much, as I am well-paid and enjoy my job and team, but I also didn’t see any harm in looking around at other job openings in case something came up. I shared this fact with no one at work, only my family. I have a good relationship with my manager, but saw no reason to let them know I was looking because I have been badly burned by that at other companies in the past.
After a few months I saw a couple openings that looked interesting, so I submitted a couple of applications. A few weeks later, my manager asked for a private chat, because they had been informed I was looking for another job at the company. I said yes, but I had no serious plans and was just exploring options at this point. Now, they and some department sponsors are fast-tracking an opening for a new, more senior job I can apply to, and although there are no guarantees I stand a very good chance of getting it. So, in an unexpected way, I recognize that things are working out in my favor, albeit at the cost of some awkward tension in my relationship with my manager.
Here’s the thing I keep thinking about: the fact that my job application was 'leaked' to my current manager feels unprofessional and a breach of trust by the company. Sure, things may be going well now, but if I’m wanting to move up in a few years and there’s no opportunities on the team, do I dare job search within the company again? What happens if my current manager moves and the next person might react more negatively to a revelation I was looking to leave the team? I worry about the potential for retribution, and wonder if I’ll need to look outside the company for future promotions.
As far as I can tell, there is not a company culture expectation to include the current manager in job searches unless I have a very good relationship with them (from discussions with family with company experience). Am I unreasonable to expect that internal job searches at a very large company should be kept confidential between the hiring department and the internal applicant, at least until a hiring decision is made?