10

I work in a team of 8 persons. I'm happy with my job and I'm not looking for a new position at the moment. However, my manager thinks that I will resign in the near future and this is becoming a big problem.

The background:

Two weeks ago, my manager asked me for a personal talk (which is quite unusual). He asked me if I had any problems lately and if there is anything that I do not like about the company at the moment. He was quite insistent but when I asked about that he became evasive. As far as I know, I was the only person who had such a talk.

Similar talks continued over the following days, and my manager suddenly became very interested in what I'm doing, asking me if I wanted other projects, other team members... He then instructed me to instruct some of my colleagues so they could replace me "if you should be ill or something". When I told him that everything is fine, he behaved as if he didn't believe me and went away sighing. Last week, a coworker told me confidentially that my manager thinks I will leave the company soon and that he (manager) is asking my colleagues if they have information about that.

I have no idea why my manager would think I'll leave. Given his behavior (and my very good performance reviews) I don't think that he will get rid of me in any way.

The whole thing is becoming a problem for me because

  • A big project is coming up and it was planned that I be the project lead. If my manager thinks I'm leaving, he will select someone else.
  • My company in general and my manager as well have pretty strong feelings about people who leave. You get the most boring jobs available. Any benefit that is not in your contract is revoked (e.g. access to company parking space). Getting payed days off becomes almost impossible. In general, people on notice are treated badly. (I work in Germany, my notice period would be four weeks and the employer cannot just fire you after you resign.) Even if I did not resign I'm afraid that this will happen to me.

My question:

How can I approach my manager, given that I officially do not know that he thinks I'm quitting?

Is there anything I can do to show him that I'm happy at my current position?

  • 4
    I'm not making this an answer beacuse I have only your written text to go on, but it smells as if he wants you to go, or knows that a decision has been made to let you go. From now on I would keep a copy of all correspondence off-premises. – Jan Doggen May 25 '15 at 12:27
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    Honestly, why can't "leave the company for real" be an answer? If your boss is such a rumor-monger, and so pessimistic, I wonder how many other problems you would face down the line? He is now adamant in his mind that you are leaving based on the flimsy evidence of you telling him about something you do not like about the company despite him pushing you into saying it. If he doesn't know how to handle criticism, he shouldn't be asking for it (and neither should he be a manager, for that matter ... but well, Dilbert Principle and Peter Principle). – Masked Man May 25 '15 at 16:50
16

There is a risk that he's hinting that you might want to start looking before a "resource action" takes place. He'll never admit it if so.

If you don't want to move, I'd try hitting him with :

I get the impression that you're unsatisfied with my performance. What can I do to fix that?

or

What criteria do I need to work on in order to get promoted to the next level?

Either says clearly that you're still thinking about a career with the current employer... and hopefully gets him on record as saying you're doing fine so they can't claim they have cause to fire you.

9

You state that you are excited about being the lead in the new project. Tell him the exact same thing. In your case I see no drawbacks in being honest:

Hi :manager, since your behavior towards me has changed these past few weeks, I get the impression you believe I am looking for a job elsewhere. To be frank, this is not true. As a matter of fact I'm very excited to be given the opportunity as the project lead. I'm very happy to be employed here and it would be a great miss if you would interpret my behavior in the wrong way. As such I hope we can be straightforward with each other.

  • On the other hand, your manager thinking you're planning to resign can be a good negotiating position, provided of course, there is not an upcoming lay off approaching. – Brandon May 8 '16 at 13:18
  • +1 on expressing enthusiasm over the upcoming project. It sounds like the boss isn't really good at direct confrontation, though - calling him on the fact that he thinks OP is leaving might not go so well. – Ben Barden Mar 12 at 16:04
0

You simply tell your manager point-blank that you are happy with your job and that you have no intention of quitting. But if he treats you as if you are quitting, then he'll make it much more likely that you'll quit.

Having said that, whether your manager believes you when you say you are not quiting, that's his problem. You don't care what he believes or does not believe as long as he doesn't make it into YOUR problem.

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    If your manager thinks you're quitting, and doesn't believe you when you say you're not, then you most definitely do have a problem as well. – jpatokal May 25 '15 at 12:46
  • @ipatokalYour comment is already covered in my answer: "he'll make it much more likely that you'll quit" – Vietnhi Phuvan May 25 '15 at 14:21

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