A lot of people worry that they can’t get another job because they don’t have time to find one. This is why hunting for a job from your cube is totally standard. It used to be that people stayed in their jobs 40 years, and a job hunt was an earth-shattering event, and there was no Internet. In that environment, telling people to keep the job hunt out of the office was fine.
Today, people switch jobs every two years between the age of 18 and 32. Which means that most job hunts do not have a start and finish—they are continuous. And this is smart, because so much of job hunting is being aware of the market (i.e. surfing at work) and networking (long lunch, anyone?).
In today’s environment, job hunting from the job you have is totally mainstream. Here are tips on how to do it right:
1. Don’t feel guilty.
Employers expect that you will look for a job while you have a job. Your boss probably did it. And your boss’s boss. And if they didn’t, why not? Why would you quit a job before you have a job when every statistic in the world shows that people who are employed are more likely to get hired by someone else?
It would be absolutely impossible to do all your job hunting from home, because business hours are the hours that both you and your possible new manager are working. Get your work done well at your current job no matter what. You owe that to your employer. Beyond that, your time is yours and job hunt if you want.
2. Schedule interviews for the beginning or the end of the day.
The goal is to interrupt your current job as little as possible while you’re looking for a new job. In terms of schedule, this means an interview before you’d typically need to be at work or an interview at the end of the day. In the latter case, you might even be able to get all your essential work for the day done before you leave. Less disruption means fewer inquiries about your intentions.
3. Don’t dress up for interviews if you can help it.
It’s awkward to tell your current boss that you are looking to leave. It makes working with him hard because he knows he’s not your first choice. So you don’t need to be sneaky beyond what is ethically comfortable, but you don’t need to beg the question either. This means that if you have an interview, you can leave early from work simply by saying, “I have personal plans,” which would be true. But if you have personal plans and you look like you’re dressed up, people will ask. Who dresses up for anything at 4pm except an interview?
4. Don’t do phone interviews from your cube.
Your voice will sound insane—like you’re running from the FBI or hiding an illicit phone call from a parent. Which you sort of are, since everyone in the office can hear you, and as soon as there is a hushed voice in a cube, the rest of the office hushes to try to hear. On top of this, there is no way that you will give your best interview when you are trying, in the back of your mind, to convince yourself that none of this is happening.
A potential employer will respect you for saying that you cannot do the interview immediately but they can schedule a time—at lunch perhaps?—when you can leave the office to do the interview. You will sound like a good time manager.
The most important thing to remember is that what you’re doing is in the range of normal and fair. If you sound unsure of yourself during your job hunt, you won’t land a job. So the first thing to get sure about is the fact that you should be hunting. From your cube.