Can a Career be Stalled to Suit a Boss

Question: Dear Luise: Hopefully you can help me. I don’t know if you know how to go about these things, but it won’t hurt to try! I am asking this question for a friend, since I may be doing the same thing in the next couple of months. She works in my department, and found a job opening in another department that is more suited to her career goals. The Managing Director loves her, and last week communicated to our direct boss that they want to extend an offer to her immediately. Our boss, who encouraged it in the beginning, is now pushing back, and told the Managing Director that he cannot afford to lose her at this time, and he does not want an offer to be extended. He told her to look for someone else. My friend is seriously pissed. This should be up to her, not to our boss. Correct? How can she go about this diplomatically and professionally? Now that she sees that he is actually hindering her growth potential, she no longer wants to work for the department. What do you think are the next steps she should take? J.

Answer: Dear J.: I don’t have a clue on this one but luckily there is an Executive Recruiter in our family, so I asked her for you. Here’s her response.

“This is not a problem for either her direct boss or for the guy who wants to hire her. This is a problem for Human Resources. She has to take this issue to the head of HR. If there is anyone who knows anything in HR they will help her smooth the way so she doesn’t burn any bridges. There are grounds for an employment lawsuit here, from what you’ve described. NO ONE has a right to hold someone back in an organization because of his/her preference. If there is a situation where they are trying to get a project completed and it’s something big…her current boss would be justified in saying that he wants to keep her until that is completed. But, that would require a reasonable and specific date of release. Anyway, it’s HR’s problem to resolve, which gets her off the hook.”

OK, J. That makes sense to me. I hope it helps your friend. Blessings, Luise

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