So you’ve decided you can’t spend another year working for your under-appreciative boss with little room for growth. It’s a good job, but you’ve been here three years without a promotion. It’s time to go, right?
Gone are the days when employees spend their entire careers climbing the ladder at a single company. In fact, job hopping can actually help you figure out what you really want to do and get you there faster.
But looking for a job while you’re still employed is no easy task. You’ve got the stress of job hunting in addition to your normal work responsibilities. How can you possibly work interviews into the business day? How can you even call to set them up?
Obviously you can’t slack off at your present job or alert your boss to your plans. But you don’t have the luxury to quit and fire up a full time job search.
So can you do both? Yes, but it takes some skill. Here’s how to successfully search for a job without getting fired:
Don’t search on your current boss’s time. Period. Many companies monitor your online activity and have strict rules against personal use of computers and resources. The last thing you want is for your boss to find your cover letter in the copy machine or overhear you on an interview when you’re late on deadline. Most potential employers will understand that there are times you can’t be reached. Still, play it safe and job search in the evenings or on the weekend.
Next Page: Scheduling Interviews →
Interviewing is going to be one of the greatest challenges you’ll face as an employee turned seeker. After all, there is a limit to the number of emergency doctor appointments one can have before the boss catches on.
So how do you sneak out to interviews without making your boss suspicious? Well, it’s not easy. Firstly, avoid scheduling phone interviews at all costs. Unfortunately, many companies use the phone interview to screen potential hires, so if you absolutely must talk over the phone, give them your cell number and duck out of the office to conduct the interview.
Setting up interviews before work, during lunch or after work is ideal. However, depending on your PTO balance, you should consider arranging interviews in the morning and taking the entire day off, if possible. That way you won’t feel guilty or pressed for time. On that note, do let the HR manager know your current employment situation ahead of time. They’ll understand your rigid time constraints and will try to keep the interview as brief as possible.
Dressing for Interviews
Unless you’re a stockbroker or an attorney, you probably don’t wear a blazer and heels to work everyday. Since business casual (and I use the term casual loosely) has become the norm, suddenly swapping your cardigan and jeans for a pinstriped skirt suit will surely catch the boss’s eye. Unfortunately, there’s not much else you can do but pull a Superwoman and swap outfits in the car (or a public restroom, if need be!). A bit of wrinkle and wriggle is well worth keeping your current job and dressing appropriately for your interview.
Next Page: References →
Nothing will get you fired faster than a potential employer ringing up your current boss and asking about your work ethic. If you’ve told your interviewer that you’re currently employed, they’ll understand why you want to keep things confidential and won’t contact your current boss until a firm offer is on the table.
However, if they’re bent set on someone immediately speaking on your behalf, offer to provide a list of previous employers who can provide a reference for you. Under no circumstances should you provide your current boss’s info unless your new job is in the bag. Otherwise you run the risk of getting fired on the spot.
Sure, complaining to your colleagues about how unhappy you are may seem harmless enough, but if you’re seriously looking to leave the company, keep it to yourself. Prematurely bragging about a potential new job before you have an offer is dangerous. If your boss catches on that you’re looking to jump ship, she’ll probably give you a hand and shove you straight toward the unemployment line. Also, even if you’re really close to your manager, you shouldn’t feel obligated to inform her you’re job searching until you’re ready to give your notice.
Keep The One You Have
Even though you’ve mentally and emotionally checked out, you have a responsibility to your current boss to do your job to the best of your ability until your last day. Otherwise, you’ll be the first on the chopping block when staff cuts come around. Yes, it may be hard to perform at top level with one foot out of the door, but you will feel better about leaving your boss — and your boss will give you a better reference — if you know you gave it your all until the end.
Remember, there’s no shame in looking for another job. As long as you’ve carefully considered your current position, treat your current boss fairly, and are smart about your search, moving on is the right move and can get you where you deserve to be.