Q: My company is outsourcing our jobs soon, but my manager has asked us not to apply for other jobs. Two great positions have opened up...

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Q: My company is outsourcing our jobs soon, but my manager has asked us not to apply for other jobs. Two great positions have opened up at my company that I want to apply for. Is it wrong for me to look out for myself and apply?

A: If the jobs were outside your company, my advice would be to imagine what your company would do if they needed to fire you, and apply for the positions.

However, if you ignore what your current manager has asked of you, you may sabotage all future jobs at your company. It isn’t wrong for you to look out for yourself.

These days, all employees are president of “You, Inc.” because lifelong job security is finished. Your safety these days rests in constantly improving your technical skills and having the interpersonal savvy to manage your career like an entrepreneur.

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Obviously, you don’t want to end up with your job outsourced and no employment. Just as obviously, it’s in your boss’ best interest to keep you as long as possible.

Instead of assuming you and your boss have a hopeless conflict of interest, try a conversation. You could say something such as: “I want to stay, but also need to set up my next position. I’ve had offers outside the company, but want to remain here. I’m aware of two positions open in other departments. It’s occurred to me that since the jobs are within our company, there’s probably a way for me to apply and negotiate to stay in my current job during the outsourcing transition.”

If your boss completely refuses to discuss this option, then apply for jobs outside your company. It would be convenient to apply for the two jobs already open in your firm, but your manager would probably make sure you didn’t get them. Your manager can’t make sure you are not hired somewhere else.

If you really love your current company, keep your eyes open for future positions once you leave. Your current boss will reluctantly “understand” if you happen to get a job offer somewhere else during the outsourcing conversion.

The last word(s)

Q: You often talk about some people being underhanded and malicious in the workplace. Aren’t these people just looking for attention?

A: No, they’re looking for power and interested in creating fear.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube