It used to be pro forma that if you did a good job your supervisor would happily provide a letter of reference when you looked elsewhere. If you did not perform very well, she/he might politely decline or write something quite tepid. Our increasingly litigious culture has changed this, especially in jobs beyond academia. Now it can be hard to get a recommendation because employers fear legal suits regardless of the quality of your work. Know your organization’s culture in this regard and plan accordingly.
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