Job Hunting on the Job
Now, we all know job hunting at work isn’t cool. It’s rude and not an appropriate use of company resources. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s how you might be able to get away with it. Remember, it’s critical not to disrespect your current employer by openly looking for a new gig on company time. I hope I don’t have to mention it’s also not cricket to diss your current gig-master while on an interview. That makes you look bad, not that mean old taskmaster who refuses to pay what you’re worth. Refrain from advertising your angst at work. Save that drama for a therapist or close friend, and take advantage of private moments to pursue your job search. These might include early morning before the workday officially starts or after work when the office is empty.
Presume that your employer is closely monitoring what you do. Don’t use your work telephone, company e-mail or fax machine to conduct your job search. Use a personal e-mail account to send resumes and other job-related materials, and use a cell phone to field interview calls. If a prospective employer calls during work hours, just step away from your desk and go somewhere private where there’s no chance that your call will be overheard. Plan this spot in advance or simply wait until you’re out and about during lunch or on a break to return calls. Trolling job banks at work is also sketchy, especially if you work in a cubicle environment where your boss or a coworker can pop up without warning.
If you can, schedule interviews for your days off, your lunch hour or after work. Otherwise, schedule several interviews for the same day, and take a personal day or a half-day off. Be sure you’ve cleared your calendar so won’t have trouble catching up when you get back to the office. Job hunting is stressful enough. Drama on your current gig is not going to help you be at your best when tap dancing for the next big job. Refrain from lying about the reasons for this personal day, that’s why it’s personal. Lies have a habit of sneaking up on you and biting you in the butt. Remain vague, and if some nosy parker insists on a reason, say something like personal banking. Only a jerk would continue to press for details about someone else’s money. In reality, though, what you actually mean is that you’ll be paying your ATM a visit.
Be as mindful and thorough in your work as if you were not actively looking to leave. And don’t tell your co-workers that you’re looking around for a better deal. Gossip spreads quickly in most offices, and you don’t want to get fired before you can make a move. For some reason, it’s easier to get a job while you’re already employed, and it won’t do your character and credibility a bit of good to explain that you were let go from your last position because you were caught job hunting on company time.
Once the interviews start rolling in, dress better at work so that your fancy interview duds won’t look conspicuous. Or if it’s possible, bring your nice clothes and leave them in your car or stashed someplace nearby. Good luck!