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Home > Blog: Job Seeker Tips > Why You Really Shouldn't Job Hunt at Work

Why You Really Shouldn't Job Hunt at Work

Did you ever hear the expression, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should"? I usually say it to my teenage son as he heads off with his friends to the all-you-can-eat buffet.

But it also applies to today's blog topic: Searching for a new job using your current employer's resources. You can. But you shouldn't.

Don't get me wrong. It's perfectly all right to look for a new job while you're still employed. In fact, it's the best way to do it. There's less pressure, and employers may be more apt to hire already-employed people (which is ridiculous and unfair, but that's another topic).

Job hunting while employed is only a problem when your job search takes time or money away from the company that currently provides your paychecks.

First of all, that's unethical. But even if you believe you're justified because of all your "unpaid overtime" or the fact you've been "underpaid for years," the likelihood of getting caught—and fired—should be enough to stop you from doing it.

"So what," you may be thinking, "I hate my job. I'd love to get fired!" OK, but just so you know, getting fired could make you ineligible to collect unemployment. And it makes it a lot tougher to answer the interview question, "Why did you leave your last job?"

Here are two more things to consider if you're thinking of looking for a new job while you're at work.

The Electronic "Paper Trail"

Remember, employers have access to all your emails, instant messages, faxes, and phone calls. Even if you delete them, those messages live on in the backup archives. The company can also track the web sites you visit—even if you're at home if you're using a company-provided laptop or you're logged in remotely to the company network. They pay for the resources, so they have every right to monitor their use.

Online Friends and Connections

You should also stop yourself if you're thinking of Tweeting about the great job posting you just found, posting photos on Facebook of your awesome new interview suit, or updating your LinkedIn account to mention that you're seeking new opportunities. These things have a way of falling into the wrong hands.

Beware the old-fashioned grapevine, too. Even if you don't specifically tell anyone you're job hunting, coworkers will overhear your phone calls or spot those resumes you left on the office printer. That kind of gossip is too juicy not to share.

If your current job is atrocious, the best way to deal with it is to find a better job on your own time. Be creative. Slip out to the car on your lunch hour or break to make phone calls or search the internet. Take time before or after work. Use the library. Take a day off.

Another expression also applies here: "Be good. But if you can't be good, at least be careful!"

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