So you're still employed, yet working on an exit plan that your boss knows nothing about?
It's time to go Bond. James Bond.
Even if you think your boss is virtually clueless about anything you're ever up to? You've GOT to to be 007 covert as you pursue your next opportunity. Not only because it's the right thing to do, but also because you could lose the current job if you get busted.
A few ideas on how you can keep the search going in the cloak of darkness:
- Use discretion in posting your resume on the major job boards. Want a little secret about your HR department? If they subscribe to Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, or any of the other job boards? Guess what they do from time-to-time? They enter YOURCOMPANY as the search term and see if any of their own employees are looking for a job. Don't let that be you. Post your resume as a confidential candidate, or be even craftier: Find out which job board(s) your HR department uses? And use another one.
- Don't show up to your "t-shirt and jeans" job in a suit. Duh. Unless you've got a wildly creative story (and, for the record, "I'm going to a funeral" is the most overused interviewing excuse in the book) about why you've suddenly graduated from Levi's to Armani? Keep the suit in your car and change at McDonald's on the way to the interview.
- Schedule time off, or come up with a creative excuse on why you're not there. When you're actively interviewing, you may need to leave work early or come in late to accommodate an interview. The old "I have a doctor/dentist appointment" excuse is really just another way of saying, "Hey everyone! It's interview day!" I strongly recommend that you either take personal/vacation time (preferred, more above board method), or come up with an excuse that's so off-the-wall no one will question it. ("Sorry I'm late. My son decided the toilet was the perfect place for his collection of seashells. I've been with the plumber all morning." That type of detail).
- Do not not not use the office email or phones for your search. This should be beyond obvious, but I see it all the time, at all levels of employment. Many employers monitor email. You know this, right? And some flag for just this type of activity. Besides, you're being paid to work there. So while you're there? Work there.
- The copy machine is a dangerous place. As is the printer. You print out a job description, or make a copy of your application and/or resume at work? Do not come crying when you find yourself with a cardboard box standing in the parking lot. Of your now former employer.
- Be careful who you tell. It's a tough economy. Dog eat dog. Don't count on colleagues (unless they are beyond tight confidants) to keep mum when you whisper "I'm trying to get outta here" in their ear. Likewise, when you begin interviewing, be sure and emphasize that your search is confidential. More than once.