Monday, February 19, 2007

Don't let the cat out of the bag

Looking for a new job is a big step for anyone. With our busy lives, some of our closest friends are our coworkers and peers in an industry. It's nice to have someone to talk about a job search with. But be careful who you talk to.

Although we share our day to day lives with our colleagues, a job change has impacts on them that they may view as negative. If your move could bring them more work or scrutiny, your confidence with them may be on shaky ground. Any employer who gets wind of an employee who is in the midst of a job hunt changes their attitude about that employee. It is rarely a good thing for your boss or colleagues to find out you're looking for a new job. So I stress complete confidentiality in your job hunt.

To maintain confidentiality, be sure to keep all job hunt communications separate from the work place. No email should be sent using your company email account. As I've mentioned in past postings, the company email system is the property of your employer, and any message can be viewed by your employer. You can be terminated for using company email or computer systems for personal, non-company purposes. Phone calls should also be taken outside of work, and on your own cell phone. If you get a call while at work, simply inform the caller that you will call them back. A potential employer or recruiter will understand and connect with you at a more convenient time.

I have had solid relationships with coworkers and knew that they would keep my job search quiet. I do not feel that telling them about the job search helps them. If I was looking for a new position and was hired, I would have already had a transition plan in place. Having a work friend who knows is nice, but it can cause them unneeded stress. Their time should be focused on their job, not on whether you are out interviewing during your recent sudden illness. I recommend keeping the job hunt separate from work. An employer wants a dedicated employee, not someone with one foot out the door.

And don't forget to pick up the copy of your resume off the office printer. Plenty of secret searches have been foiled by a resume left in the print queue or on the copier.

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