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Help me with career advice

 
pollinator
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So I adore where I work. Absolutely love it. Love who I work with. I've been here for 11 years - the 2 years I stayed home with my baby. Anyway, can't express how much I enjoy where I am.

On the other hand I'm maxed out on what I can make here. Also my bosses are talking retirement. May be up to 5 years before they do retire but it's an eventuality here.

I want to get on at federal court at some point. They seem really happy there. My ideal would be my bosses retiring and my immediate starting at Fed Court. Those jobs don't open very often though. I've seen one opening there. So, I just saw an opening in probation/parole. I'm infinitely qualified. Income could potentially be double what I currently make.

So, I'm going to apply, even though it kills me to think about doing so. However, I am wanting to send a note with my application (which is to be emailed as per instructions so I can put it in the email body) which would basically say that I would like them to not tell my current boss (whom they definitely know) that I've applied as I ..... I don't know. What do I say? I love them and don't want to hurt them? Blah. I suppose I could be mature and just talk to my bosses about it ahead of time but I DONT WANNA
 
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Don't put a "please keep this quiet" note on your application -- you don't want to give any impression of being sneaky. Talk to your bosses; open by asking if you can list them as references on your application. They must be aware that this represents a huge career opportunity to you, and if they're genuinely good people they'd be supportive of your move and happy to add their personal weight to your chances of getting the position. If they get pissy... well, that's valuable information that you would have discovered eventually.
 
master steward
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Do your current bosses experience any turnover?  They're likely used to having employees move on and if they have a bit of a warning it makes them feel better.  

So on one hand, they're not entitled to having you tell them you're applying for the job.  You'll likely have to list them as a reference so they'd find out anyway.

On the other hand, would you rather have them find out from you in advance or after they're asked for a reference?  

Of course there's the chance that you and 427 other people apply and it doesn't go anywhere and it can be your little secret.  But since you sound qualified and in the federal court's realm of familiarity, it's probably likely they'll look at you a bit.

I guess I'd have a chat with them where you start by talking about how their retirement has you watching for opportunities to snag a good federal job.  And hey, one just showed up.  It's four years early but since they don't come up often you have to give it a shot.  Just warning you boss in case they take a shine to me....
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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So here is the kicker. I am THE ONLY employee. I'm it. So they've had me for a very long time. I've been valuable. They let me know I'm valuable. They gave me a christmas bonus this year because of how much they valued all my work. It was a big year at work. Anyway, if there were a bunch of us it wouldn't be a big deal but it's JUST ME and my two bosses. No one knows this office like I do. Losing me would be a blow. I'm not being vain, I've been here so long that I am really good at what I do and take a lot of stress off them.
 
steward & bricolagier
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As someone who has been a boss, I recommend talking to them. It's possible they will have good ideas, good contacts, and would be very helpful. And as a boss, I can say it hurts when people leave, but you are always SO PROUD of people who grew enough that they can move up, kind of like a kid going off to college, it hurts, but they are moving upwards, and you are SO PROUD of them.

If you go in there with the attitude "I want to get further in my career, you guys need a great helper, how can we all get what we want?" they will probably be inclined to help you work out something that is a win-win for all of you. Because you adore them and they adore you, a win-win helps ALL of you, and makes everything easier. They are older, more experienced, know the business in the area, and can be a MAJOR asset to you, and you know how to make their business work, and can be an asset to them.

Talk to them, seriously. If they find out you applied and are blindsided, the relationship between y'all would be damaged badly, and from what you have said, that would be very sad indeed.

Story: My sister was a paralegal for a lawyer, the only employee, when she felt it was time to go, they worked it out, and not only did she train her replacement, and spend time making lists and organizing things for her, for the first year or more the lady knew she could always call and get help. The lawyer gave her a hell of a severance bonus for making sure his business would go on smoothly. That's classic win-win, and she is still very close to her ex boss, and sees him often. That's a great relationship to have with anyone you have worked with and cared about.

:D
 
Mike Haasl
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Well that doesn't make it any easier....

Might you be in the type of relationship with them where you can say something like...  "Hey Fred, I'm stuck on something.  What should I do?  You're retiring, here's a job, I'm tempted to apply.  I love you guys but I need to plan for my next 20 years, not just the next 5."

Maybe they'd double your pay so that the next 5 years are a no brainer and you can wait and hope for another opening in 4 years...  Or they'd say "go for it kiddo".  Or they'd fall to pieces and start crying...?
 
pollinator
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Seems like a bit of a given in many lines of work that a search committee will be fielding applications from several who really have little intent in taking the job if offered....they are submitting their application for various reasons, including just seeing if the position/culture of the potential new job "feels right".  So if word of your application gets back to your current employer.....with whom you've maxed out your advancement potential, possibly several years ahead of said employers who are on the cusp of retirement, and you seek to improve your circumstances.....I don't see how current boss(es) could take that negatively.  (Not to say that they won't or can't, but that will somewhat define their character.)  My own advice to those mentored has always been "The job you don't get is the one you don't apply for."   Your bosses likely made career decisions that primarily benefited their own situations for self and family.  Ultimately, they will or should recognize and accept your attempt to do the same.

Edit:  Just saw the additional info about sole employee.  My only modification to the above, like others have added, would be to offer a transition period for helping to train in a replacement.  New employer should be able to work with you on that request if you are offered the job at Fed.
 
pollinator
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I think everyone has already given you great advice and it seems you know you need to talk to them. I totally understand not wanting to because you don't want to hurt them or create difficulty. So to address that aspect of things, I wanted to share this short video about being brave. It has always helped me when I needed to have a conversation that part of me really didn't want to have. Maybe it can help you too?
 
gardener
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Great input here.

The only thing I would add, after many years in HR / recruiting: the only piece you have control over is you. You can ask that no one tell your bosses but you can't control if they comply. If they find out from someone else, you don't have any control over the delivery either.

You only have any control if you tell them. You still can't control what they do with it, but they seem like great guys and maybe you'd all prefer if they hear it from you.
 
master gardener
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Talk. Another thing I've not seen addressed, yet, is that they might actually love to retire sooner, and are looking for something to help you transition, or are holding off at least in part, until you find the next step for yourself. If you talk, you can all work together, to get all of you to the place you want to be.
 
master pollinator
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It's good to talk to your bosses, if you respect them. Their responses will quickly reveal if they respect you.

Don't burn bridges, but be firm about moving forward. The only one in charge of advancing your career is YOU.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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Carla Burke wrote:Talk. Another thing I've not seen addressed, yet, is that they might actually love to retire sooner, and are looking for something to help you transition, or are holding off at least in part, until you find the next step for yourself. If you talk, you can all work together, to get all of you to the place you want to be.



I don't believe he does want to retire sooner. Sometimes I think he'll just keep on until he dies. He is passionate about his work. She said she's going to retire sooner and I do believe she would. So, we'll see how that all plays out but I have roughly 5 years max left here I think.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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I've actually decided not to apply. The money is the ONLY incentive for me to do so. It's not at the Court so it's not my dream job. Also, I am set to start my masters in January. Working at my current job gives me time during the day to read the textbooks and such. I doubt a new job would allow that. It will take me a maximum of two years to finish my masters. If a Court job opens, I will apply and tell them I am doing so. They do know that I got my bachelors after they informed me of their retirement plans. They also know I got it because it's a minimum requirement to get hired at the Court. They are wonderful and I believe they would support me and recommend me. I just love them both so much I don't want to hurt them or leave them. I've had all three of my kids while working for them. They didn't have to do anything for me, including hold my job, but they did and even paid me while I was on maternity leave. People this good are hard to come by.

My husband is less emotional about it and would like more money. :P He does agree that I should get my masters before leaving though. If I leave without having completed it he'll be on way more kid duty while I study.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:So I adore where I work. Absolutely love it. Love who I work with. I've been here for 11 years - the 2 years I stayed home with my baby. Anyway, can't express how much I enjoy where I am.

On the other hand I'm maxed out on what I can make here. Also my bosses are talking retirement. May be up to 5 years before they do retire but it's an eventuality here.

I want to get on at federal court at some point. They seem really happy there. My ideal would be my bosses retiring and my immediate starting at Fed Court. Those jobs don't open very often though. I've seen one opening there. So, I just saw an opening in probation/parole. I'm infinitely qualified. Income could potentially be double what I currently make.

So, I'm going to apply, even though it kills me to think about doing so. However, I am wanting to send a note with my application (which is to be emailed as per instructions so I can put it in the email body) which would basically say that I would like them to not tell my current boss (whom they definitely know) that I've applied as I ..... I don't know. What do I say? I love them and don't want to hurt them? Blah. I suppose I could be mature and just talk to my bosses about it ahead of time but I DONT WANNA



You have not maxxed out your earnings. Well not if you make the next step -- Have you thought of buying the business?

Keep in mind that most occupations associated with legal work have only two residual value propositions -- A client list and a reputation. Everything else is labor and when the principals disband all that disappears. Rental office space and furniture has little value.

Its a BIG leap but you have seen how the sausage is made from the inside so you would know what the real value is of the business.
 
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