Spilling the beans: should you share your new job with family and friends?

May 04, 2023

4 mins

Spilling the beans: should you share your new job with family and friends?
Debbie Garrick

Writer, translator and ex-recruiter

You did it! After all those applications and various rounds of interviews, you landed the job! Your new role awaits and you’ve got a few weeks to wind down from the old job and get ready for the new one. What’s the first thing you want to do? Tell your friends and family all about the new job and celebrate, probably. But when it comes to discussing your new job offer, should you be completely open, or are the certain things you should keep to yourself? Can talking about your new job make it easier or harder to manage job expectations when you’re starting a new role? NYC-based Executive Career Coach Brian Rella reveals his tips on what you might want to share, and with whom to ensure a smooth job transition.

Discussing your new job with whoever you choose and the amount of detail you share is entirely up to you. Although, Rella warns against saying too much before it’s a done deal and you’ve signed on the dotted line. What you really want to consider is whether these discussions around your new job are going to help or hinder you. What will the people you’re sharing with bring to the party?

Surround yourself with positive people

Rella says, “You want to surround yourself with people who make you feel good about the decisions you’ve made, turn down the negative noise, and turn up the positive supportive feedback.” In an ideal world, all your friends and family will be supportive and say all the right things when you’re discussing your new job. In reality, their fears and feelings will influence their reactions. Are they concerned because you’re transitioning to something different? Will that fear translate into negativity when you talk about it? Will their fears add to any anxiety you already have about the role yourself and make you more nervous or unsure? If you know a certain friend or relative only has bad things to say, then don’t share your excitement with them or allow them to cause you self-doubt.

Rella explains that the same goes for when you are searching for a new role: you want a team of people championing you to help keep your motivation up. “If you surround yourself with positive, supportive people, it can only help to make the experience better and the transition smoother.” Share your excitement and news with people who are open, honest, and trustworthy.

Tune out negativity

You’ve done your best to keep those in the know to people who will champion your cause, but good news travels fast around your family, and that cousin who never has a good word to say about anything now wants to share their negative opinions with you. Just remember that you’re under no obligation to discuss your new job with them, and if you do choose to listen out of politeness or not wanting to cause a stir at a family event, you can happily tune out everything they say. They don’t have all the information you do, they aren’t you and you don’t have to take on board their comments.

Gracefully deflect when there’s something you don’t want to talk about

Rella says that there’s no harm in not wanting to discuss every detail of your new job with your friends and family. If you’re asked questions you don’t want to answer—for example, you might not want to share your salary—simply tell them that gracefully. If you’re looking for tips on how to say no, there are hundreds of books and resources you can turn to. The Art of Saying No by Damon Zahariades explains that saying no isn’t selfish and that by looking after yourself you can better look after others. It also tells us that setting boundaries can strengthen your relationships.

If you respectfully say, “I don’t really want to discuss that at the moment,” to a friend or family member, they might initially be a little shocked or disappointed, but it’s a paper-thin relationship if they can’t move on and accept that. Try deflecting the conversation by asking them something about what’s going on in their world or using humor to side-step the issue if that’s an easier option for you.

For expert advice look beyond friends and family

While friends and family are really helpful when you need emotional and mental support, or someone to be in your corner, it’s worth bearing in mind that their advice might not always be on point. Great Uncle Tom who once worked in marketing may be well out of touch with how the world works today (or not!).

If you’re stepping into an unfamiliar role Rella recommends talking to someone who’s in that role already. While discussing your new job with a friend or family member might give you some insight if they’ve worked in a similar role, a peer or someone working in the same role—or better still someone who already works at your new company and in a similar role—is your best choice for the more practical kind of information. These people can give you tips, provide you with some background, and offer founded advice to help you avoid mistakes.

Rella gives some examples of how this can be useful. “I encourage all of my coaching clients to have a conversation before they even apply for a job so that they’re able to understand company culture and policy, what it’s like to work in that particular team, what’s important to the management structure, what success criteria they look at, if there are any unspoken rules that you’re measured by. All of those factor into a smooth and seamless transition and help you crush your first 90 days.”

Discuss your needs with immediate family/partner before starting your role

While the discussion around a new job starts with excitement, it can be a good idea to talk over the practicalities and any fears you have with those closest to you, especially those living with you. If you’re a family unit and your schedule, workload, or location is changing then that will affect your whole family. As Rella says, “It’s a transition for everybody.” You’ll need to be aware of the impact on your family and perhaps your sensitivity around that. They’ll need to support you and make an extra effort for a calm home life while you are getting up to speed with the new role.

But you’ll also need to support them with any changes. For example, are you no longer around in the morning to get the kids off to school? How will that affect both them and the person taking over that responsibility? Is there anything you can do to smooth the path to make the transitions at home easier? Rella suggests that “having open communication around any changes and trying to work together to solve those challenges is super helpful. The family unit is a team so we all have to pull together as a team.” Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, but listen and act to help everyone in your family transition with you.

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