So, your boss is leaving you….

By | Mar 12, 2008

Since my boss is leaving me, I thought this topic was appropos.

I wrote previously about the boss/assistant relationship.  Because this relationship is so important to the actual job of being an administrative assistant, when your boss leaves it rather leaves things up in the air for the assistant left behind.  Several outcomes are possible when this happens.

  1. Your boss asks you to go with her.   This can be good or bad depending on the offer and your own circumstances.  Generally, since your boss will already know what you are making, the offer will be a better one than you currently have, but that isn’t guaranteed.  It also depends if the new job would require relocating and if you are able and willing to do.   The real hitch, though, is how much you like the current boss.   If you hate her, you obviously don’t want to follow her to a new company.  But if you have a great relationship with your boss, following him to a new job can be a step up on the career ladder
  2. The company fills your boss’s vacancy with an internal candidate.  Again, this could be good or bad.  This new boss is potentially someone you already know and have worked with.  It can lead to the quick formation of the aforementioned relationship and everyone lives happily ever after.

    However, the incoming boss may already have an assistant that he wants to bring with him (that would be the negative).  It leaves your position up in the air.  Either they transfer you to another department or you end up in the layoff line (being made redundant for my English readers).  Of course, it could also be that the internal candidate is someone horrible that you don’t want to work with.  So far, I’ve been in this position twice, and neither worked out in my favor.  Once was the horrible boss, and the other was the layoff.

  3. The company brings in a new person for the position.  See number 2, because the negatives are pretty much the same.  On the other hand, the new boss could be completely cool and you’ll love her.  It’s a wait and see situation.

  4. The company decides not to fill the empty position.  Which, of course, means you’ll be transferred or laid off.

When your boss leaves, it can be a very trying and stressful time for you regardless of how everything turns out in the end.  Here’s a couple of important tips for dealing with these circumstances.

  1. Make sure you ask for a reference before your boss leaves.  If she is relocating, make sure to get her new contact information in case you are going job hunting.
  2. Go ahead and update your resume.  I’m not saying this will end disastrously, but make sure your bases are covered.
  3. Keep an eye on the want ads.  Actually, I recommend this to everyone regardless of whether or not you are currently looking to change jobs.  It’s always a good idea to know not only what is available but the current pay rates in your given field.  And, of course, you never know if that dream job you’ve always wanted will show up in the paper one day.
  4. Try to stay positive.  This post has, unfortunately, skewed to the negative.  However, I’ve known many assistants who have outlasted multiple bosses in their position.  If you really want to stay with the company, just keep being an outstanding assistant.  Take things one day at a time, do your best, and if worse does come to worse, you will at least have a very good recommendation.

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11 Comments so far
  1. Edy (2 comments) March 16, 2008 5:24 pm

    Hello Jodith, thanks so much for the great site. You mentioned in this post about your two bad experiences (getting a horrible boss, and the layoff). How did those two events work out for you in the long run? What might you have done differently in hindsight?Thanks!

  2. Jodith (189 comments) March 16, 2008 5:32 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Edy.

    The first time my boss left me was when I ended up with the really horrible boss.  In the long run, it worked out well, though.  I was working for a software company in the support department (my boss was the VP of Worldwide Support).  I had really good working relationships with all of his directors, and they knew that I had a great deal of technical skill, so they encourage me to apply for a support position, a job which I really enjoyed.

    The second one (the layoff) didn’t work out quite as well.  I ended up taking a considerable pay cut in the job I found.  It’s a job that I really enjoy, though, and I’m much happier there than I was in the position where I was laid off.

    The only thing I would do different in either of those situations was to be more proactive about where my future was going.  I would have had very frank discussions with my outgoing boss about my future and what would happen to me.  In my current situation, I’ve already had that discussion with my boss, and have some very positive ideas about where my job is heading as the leadership changes.

  3. Patricia Robb (3 comments) April 3, 2008 8:38 pm

    My boss has moved on as well.  At first it seemed really strange, but now I have adjusted and am quite enjoying my new role.  I am fortunate my job didn’t go away when my boss left.
    When something like this happens it certainly reminds you that you should keep your resume updated.  No job is 100% secure.
    Good point about getting a reference letter from your outgoing boss. 

    Patricia Robb’s last blog post..Look up, Look Down, Your Pants are Falling Down

  4. Solar Lights (1 comments) July 25, 2008 11:04 am

    I agree that when your boss is leaving you that it has both good and bad effects.  Bad because  you’ll be adjusting  to your new boss again, and good (boss’ part) because it means your boss is possibly  making a big career change for the better. Just be happy for that.

  5. Reena- The Wedding Dresses Designer (1 comments) May 3, 2009 11:22 pm

    I had something like this last year. I am a fashion designer and my boss left and joined another fashion agency.
    She called me after few days asking me to join the new agency but since I was already happy and was looking for promotion next month so I didn’t left my old agency.

  6. NFL Draft (1 comments) January 13, 2010 6:00 pm

    My boss has moved on as well. At first it seemed really strange, but now I have adjusted and am quite enjoying my new role. I am fortunate my job didn’t go away when my boss left.
    When something like this happens it certainly reminds you that you should keep your resume updated. No job is 100% secure.
    .-= NFL Draft´s last blog ..Jackson is hoping to play in NFL All Star Next Month =-.

  7. Anger Techniques (1 comments) March 13, 2010 8:51 am

    I am fortunate my job didn’t go away when my boss left.
    When something like this happens it certainly reminds you that you should keep your resume updated. No job is 100% secure.

  8. Jodith (189 comments) March 13, 2010 12:12 pm

    I always recommend not only keeping your resume up to date, but keeping an eye on the job ads in your area. It’s good to have a grasp of the employment opportunities in your industry at the drop of a hat.

  9. Kelly Watson@Handbag Boutique (2 comments) August 10, 2010 9:37 am

    I believe, it depends a lot on your relationships. I would follow my boss with pleasure, as he is a true leader.

  10. Sabrina (5 comments) September 23, 2010 9:08 pm

    There is one other possibility: you wind up with some of your boss’s old responsibilities…

  11. Betsy (2 comments) October 15, 2012 6:02 pm

    I’ve had quite a few bosses leave and it’s really hard to have the relationship go away and it’s highly stressful to start all over again with the new person. Thankfully every time I’ve had someone I clicked with and we carried on quite well but the sadness is there just the same.

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