Your Job Search Might Get You Fired
Recently, I was speaking with a terrified job seeker. She wants to leave her current role ethically, with a new role secured. However, she’s terrified that word might get out she’s looking–in the past, a few of her co-workers were fired when the executive team learned they were on the market.
Could you get fired for looking for a new executive job?
Can They Fire You Merely for Looking for a New Job?
Utah in particular is an at-will employment state. In other words, according to the Labor Commission of the State of Utah, the employee can quit a job at any time, and an employer can terminate the employment, at any time, without giving notice. The exceptions to this at-will rule include “(1) when the termination violates clear and substantial Utah public policy; (2) when an implied or express contractual term requires dismissal only for cause; or (3) a statute or regulation restricts the employer’s right to terminate.”
Do any of these exceptions cover “employee is exploring other options outside the organization to further his or her career”? The answer is murky.
The Employee’s Position
Your possible position, as a potential job seeker:
- Your current company is not supporting you the way you need to be, so you might need to explore other options.
- Your career is important, so advancement outside your current company might be essential.
- What you do on your own time, outside of work hours, is your own business.
The Employer’s Position
Possible outcomes, if your current employer finds out you are looking for a new position:
- It might begin planning for your departure, a structural change that might legally force you out of your current role.
- Your co-workers might no longer regard you as a team player.
- Your executive leader might choose to assign plum project to other personnel, in case you choose to leave your current role.
The Confidential Job Search
Your company culture, irrespective of your state’s employment laws, might support an employee’s termination if he or she is engaged in a public job search. Here are a few tips to keep your job search confidential:
- Do not post your resume to job boards.
- Apply only for positions that you would accept if the job was offered to you.
- Tell recruiters you are working with that your job search is highly confidential.
- Do not use your work email and/or work computer for your job search (under any circumstances).
- Turn off your activity notifications on LinkedIn so your contacts won’t get emails when you update your profile.
- Do not mention that you are looking for a new position in your LinkedIn profile. Instead, make sure it meets LinkedIn’s guidelines for “profile completeness” and you will be more findable.
Need more strategies for a confidential executive job search? Reach out to me; I’ll keep our conversations in the strictest of confidence.