I'm just beginning the business school application process and am considering what is to be done about letters of recommendation.
I work for a very small company, less than 20 employees. I was the first of those employees to be hired as I joined my current bosses, and the partners/owners of my company, after knowing them from our previous organization where I was an entry-level analyst and they decided to branch out on their own. They have essentially been my only direct managers in my post-college career. I have worked with them closely day-to-day for about 3 years.
I have a good relationship with them and have done quite well at their company, achieving a number of promotions, raises, and opportunities that are not given easily or frequently. However, they can take things very personally and have created what some may describe as a hostile work culture. They have discussed firing people for suspecting they are interviewing at other companies and can shut you out of opportunities and generally act hostile if you don't seem 100% committed to work at all times (people have been told they are unreliable and inconsiderate for taking approved vacation days and having occasional doctors appointments or for not answering emails while they were attending their brother's wedding...). I'm afraid that while I should be able to count on them for a great recommendation, that asking for it, and at the same time obviously making them aware that I'm considering leaving, could be sensitive.
I'm afraid that there is really nothing to be done to get around it, asking others for recommendations in their place wouldn't present me in the best possible light in my applications. They are always incredibly busy and I need to give them ample time to prepare for and complete recommendations, so as I'm aiming to apply in round 1 I will need to ask them by the end of next month.
Has anyone been in this situation before? What was your experience and how did you present your case?