Caught Job Hunting During the Workday

Question:

This morning my boss discovered I was job hunting during the workday. I have no idea how he figured this out, because he doesn’t monitor me, so I think someone ratted me out.

I was afraid he was going to fire me on the spot; he instead said me he was going to “take pity” on me and give me two weeks’ notice. I think he just wants to keep me around until he hires my replacement.

It’s weird going to work, as I’m not sure who blew the whistle on me or who I can trust. It’s hard to concentrate now that I know I’m about to be without a job. Is there anything I can do to get him to relent? I thought of reminding him that lots of people look for jobs while they have one and letting him know I wouldn’t do it again. I also need to know who told on me.

Answer:

Relent as in keep you employed at a job you planned to leave?

Your boss has his own plan for making sure you won’t do it again, firing you. I don’t advocate you telling him others also job hunt during the work day. That “everyone does it” line didn’t work when you were five and tried it on your mom.

Job hunting during work hours constitutes time theft. Not only that, but when your workday focus drifts from handling job duties to landing your next gig, you generally achieve substandard results. The net effect? You end your job on a sour note. Even if workday job hunting doesn’t harm your ability to get your next job, you might need your current supervisor’s reference for the job after that.

Further, workday job hunting damages damage your chances for landing a job. Prospective employers notice when you email resumes during regular work hours or send resumes in envelopes with postage meter stamps likely paid for by your current employer.

Finally, did you print your resume on the printer and leave a copy there? Email multiple cover letters and resumes from your work computer? Delete your current employer’s information from your LinkedIn profile so you appeared to be a free agent? Run into the hallway once too often to conduct a phone interview? Suddenly upgrade how you dress? If so, you may have told your boss yourself.

© 2020, Lynne Curry

Lynne Curry is the author of “Beating the Workplace Bully” (AMACOM, 2016) and “Solutions” (both books are rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com). Send your questions to her at lynnewriter10@gmail.com or follow her on twitter @lynnecurry10.

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