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  1. #1

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    Looking for a job while already employed

    About a year ago I got my first job as an attorney after graduating from law school. After giving it a lot of thought over the past few months, I've decided to look for a different job for several reasons: my current position has no health insurance or benefits, I don't like the town I'm living in, my salary is on the lower end of the spectrum, the case load is ridiculous (730 open cases for three attorneys), and divorce and child custody battles are not very enjoyable.

    Although it's nice to not have the same urgency of bills piling up and no way to pay them like the last time I was looking for a job, I'm concerned about the ins and outs of looking for a job while already employed. What , if anything, should I tell my bosses? One of the good thing about my current job is that my current bosses are very nice to work for. I hate the idea of sneaking around behind their backs.

    Furthermore, I just e-mailed out my resume earlier this evening, and I've already gotten a call asking me to come to an interview in a town two and a half hours away tomorrow. Even if I should be forthcoming with my employers about looking for a new job, I can't picture walking in tomorrow morning and saying "Oh Lee and Steve, I've decided to look for another job and I need this afternoon off to go to an interview. OK, thanks, bye."

    I of course called my mom for her advice (old habit) and she suggests I call in sick tomorrow. I would feel a little guilty about lying, but if I'm honest about why I need the afternoon off, I run the risk of my bosses telling me that I can't have the afternoon off and an unpleasant confrontation about my leaving. (They can't make me stay, I'm at-will, not on contract. Of course that means they could fire me for sneezing loudly as well.)

    At the same time I don't want to miss the interview tomorrow in this economy, especially since it is a job with the state government, which comes with a very nice health insurance package (which is one of the reasons I'm looking for a new position in the first place.)

    Sorry for rambling on. Does anyone have any ideas or experience for this situation?

  2. #2

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    Can you reschedule the interview? "That time doesn't work for me, but I will be off work at 4:30 and can drive up then." Yeah, the interview would be late, but they will (should) respect you for not flaking out on your current job.

    I would be honest with Lee and Steve. "I love working for you guys, but this town is not a good fit for me and I'm going to start looking elsewhere." Something like that.

  3. #3
    Ma name's Beckeh.
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    I'm afraid I don't have a lot of advice, since I work for state government and we are encouraged to apply for new jobs that will advance our careers. Having said that, I would definitely not call in sick. Can you just tell them that you have an appointment and need to take the afternoon off? If they ask, you could just say that it's personal.
    Roll Tide, y'all!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by galaxygirl View Post
    Can you just tell them that you have an appointment and need to take the afternoon off? If they ask, you could just say that it's personal.
    That is what we all do in the DC law firms - take personal leave. If you work normal lawyer hours, you will make up the time anyway.

    In the business casual era, if you come in all suited up when you don't have a meeting or court date, everyone knows what you are doing so it isn't that much of a secret.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

  5. #5

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    Just say you have a personal appointment. Make it sound like something that is really personal that they wouldn't want to pry into.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  6. #6

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    If you tell your bosses, I suppose they will start looking for your replacement immediately and since you don't have any protection through a contract, they can hire someone before you have found a new job. That would put you under a lot of pressure.

  7. #7

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    Reschedule for a better date, then take a personal day (or half-day) off. It's better for your existing employment relationship, and it may bode well for a future employer relationship. You don't want them to think that if you take their job, you'll be unexpectedly missing work to interview elsewhere.

    I would insist absolutely that they keep this employment search confidential from your current employer. That includes not emailing your work email or calling your office.

  8. #8
    Tranquillo
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    Another vote for not telling your employers, or you may find yourself without a job a lot quicker than you expected. I'd also try not to lie and go with the "personal leave" request.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Kitty View Post
    Another vote for not telling your employers, or you may find yourself without a job a lot quicker than you expected. I'd also try not to lie and go with the "personal leave" request.
    I agree. NEVER tell an employer you're looking for another job. Word gets out, they will be referred resumes galore and before you know it, they, too, will be interviewing for your position since "you're leaving anyways" and won't even hide it.

  10. #10
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    Agreed....do not tell your current employer. Have an "appointment" or take a personal day.

  11. #11

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    Another vote for don't tell. Potential employers will know you're still at the current firm, and you don't want to look bad in anyone's eyes. When emailing your resume, indicate that you are available for phone interviews early, late and at lunchtime and that you can schedule in person interviews in the morning or late afternoon with x days prior notice. That tells potential employers that you are serious about your work. If you find that you have a lot of interviews to do, take a full day off rather than taking personal time on consecutive days.

    When the time comes, let them know that you've accepted another position and that, although you really enjoy working for them, you are ready to explore different types of cases in a different environment. Law is very cliquey, so try to leave on the best terms possible, including making yourself available to answer questions about outstanding cases. Ask the new firm about the billing code for those types of calls and try to do them early or late to minimize the impact on your productivity at firm Y.

    Good luck, and happy hunting.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  12. #12

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    I would take 'personal time'. Better than a lie. Also try to reschedule if you can. I would keep it a secret. Once they know, it could have an impact on your assignments etc. In looking for the new job, use the location as a reason. People understand that, and you don't have to say anything negative about anything else.

  13. #13
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    First, it's always better to look for a job while you have one. It makes you appear more hirable. Obviously your resume speaks volumes, but the fact that someone employs you solidifies it.

    I also say - Do Not Tell your current employers or any other employees at the firm. Take a personal day. Have a personal emergency, you do not have to explain. If you do not typically dress in a suit at your office, bring a change of clothes and change in the car if you have to. I don't know if I would change the appointment date, but if you have to, try to take the entire day and schedule other appointments for that day.

    Oh, tomorrow is today, I may be too late .

  14. #14
    I <3 Kozuka
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    One more vote from the choir about not telling them as a general rule*. It may be months or years before you have another opportunity to interview, let alone leave, if this isn't what you wan,t or it doesn't work out. Being looked at as a lame duck or worse, disloyal, for that period of time is not a great position to be in. On the whole, your flaws could be magnified and your strengths and contributions dismissed in their eyes, even if your work is the same or is stronger.

    *There are a few exceptions: If the news would relieve them, i.e., the work relationship isn't working out for whatever reason -- they could think you've outgrown the job or they're good people and have noticed it's not a great fit and want better for you -- and they're happy you're dealing with it. If they would help you find a new job. If you work independently and their opinions/behavior doesn't much matter or if you can blow off the inevitable behavior.

    I'm sure there are others, but nothing you've described so far suggests one in particular.
    "'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney

  15. #15

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    Thanks to everyone for your help/suggestions. I ended up calling in and saying that something had come up unexpectedly and I needed a personal day. (Not technically a lie.) I agree that it's a good idea to specify in the future when I send out my resumes that I prefer a phone interview or an in-person interview with a certain amout of advance notice, due to the fact I'm currently employed. I'm kicking myself a little for not planning this all out a little better but you live, you learn I guess.

  16. #16

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    Sounds like you handled it well. Good luck.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  17. #17
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    Yes, it sounds like you did it all just right! Now, if you forget to let us know how the interview went, we will all jump on you!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    One more vote from the choir about not telling them as a general rule*. It may be months or years before you have another opportunity to interview, let alone leave, if this isn't what you wan,t or it doesn't work out. Being looked at as a lame duck or worse, disloyal, for that period of time is not a great position to be in. On the whole, your flaws could be magnified and your strengths and contributions dismissed in their eyes, even if your work is the same or is stronger.
    ITA, the natural thing would be for them to give the best work to other associates who are staying. That could hurt you in the long run if the right job doesn't come along quickly. Or course, you need to be mindful about transition issues if long term projects come along and you think an offer elsewhere is in the works. Just play it by ear.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    indicate that you are available for phone interviews early, late and at lunchtime and that you can schedule in person interviews in the morning or late afternoon with x days prior notice.
    That seems to be the way a former co-worker of mine handled it. I work reception at my job, and I noticed he seemed to be on the phone a lot. And then one day I see him in the company president's office, which was very unusual. And next thing I know, my boss is telling me that this guy is leaving as of tomorrow (this was the end of last April), and that I was taking over his job tasks. The entire office was on cut hours (35 instead of 40 - which was why he left because he went to another Accounts Receivable position) and I was bumped back to 40 hours, along with my boss.

    What was interesting was how he was able to pull off these phone interviews, considering there was a glass wall separating his desk from that of our mutual supervisor.

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