The risky business of job hunting while you are employed

So you have made the decision to quit your job. What now?
The best possible scenario is to line up your next gig before you quit.
The second best is the line it up but to take a 1-2 month break before you start.

Quitting before you have a new job is risky business. For the young and inexpensive it is doable, but it is a financially and career irresponsible decision.

There are also some other advantages to being an employed job seeker.

One of the advantages to having a job when you are hunting is leverage. You have leverage with both – your old company and your potentially new company. This leverage gives you the ability negotiates your terms for your new job. It also can give you a step up in position and salary relative to your old employer.

The biggest fear of most employed job seekers is their employer will find out. For some reason this is categorized in the same way as cheating in a relationship or espionage. Employers and managers all will react different if they find out. Sure, there are plenty of managers that would support you in your transition. But beware; your manager may be your advocates, but they are not your mentor. They still have the best interest of the company in mind, and if you leaving is not in the company’s best interest, they will most likely be pretty upset. This is especially true if they have invested time in developing you as an asset of the company.

When you are employed job seeker here are some things you can do to network, find a new job, and protect your current position.

Shut your trap – Don’t gossip about this at work, even to people you “trust”. Remember, the basis for your professional relationships is work. As much as it feels like you are great friends, and share meals together, they are your co-worker and may react in surprisingly counterproductive ways.
Stay positive – When talking about your current job and the reasons for leaving, focus on you, rather than the drawbacks of your job. Focus on how it is the best decision for you to move forward with your career.
Ask for confidentiality – When you are networking and interviewing ask to keep the process confidential, as you don’t want this to disrupt the course of business at your current employer.
Network with your Advocates – By now you should have a few people outside of the company that are your advocates. If not, it is a great time to develop some. The job search process is one where it feels great to help people.
Your time, your computer – When you are doing your job search you should be doing thi son your time on your computer. This includes interviews. Most companies will schedule early morning job interviews or during lunch to accommodate you. Respect your current employer and your obligation to them by conducting your business on your own time.
Be Honest – Don’t lie if you are ask about it, or confronted. Confrontation can be avoided by keeping your work quality high, dressing as you normally do, and keeping a normal schedule. But if you are asked about your “loyalty”, be honest. In return for this honesty, ask for their discretion and support during the process.