There are a few reasons why an employee or you can be fired from a job. From lacking in maintaining work decorum to violating company policy, anything which degrades the company’s face value can get you fired immediately.
However, there is a familiar chatter among employees these days around one specific question about getting fired, which is – can you get fired for looking for another job?
Yes, you can get fired for looking at other jobs while still employed. However, the answer to this question depends on many factors, the most important being your location.
It also depends on the country and state of your residence. Do labor laws protect you? Or, is there any contract you have signed where the employer cannot fire you under any circumstances unless you have been given a two-month notice?
Assuming that you have no such protection, an employer can fire you if you look for another job.
Unless the employer is firing you for discriminatory reasons, nothing can stop an employer from legally firing you. This is primarily the case in private sector jobs where the employer is at liberty to make such decisions, and there isn’t much the employee can do.
Something might also dissatisfy you with your present job for various reasons, which is why you are looking for another position. But quitting a job and waiting until you get another one is not always an option, for financial reasons alone.
So here is what you can do to prevent a situation where you might get fired from looking for another job while still employed.
Bonus Read: 8 Things Your Boss Can’t Legally Do
How Can Your Boss Know if You Are Looking For Another Job?
The best way to prevent any awkwardness at work or prevent yourself from getting fired by looking for another job is to save enough money, quit the present position, and live with the savings till you land the next one.
However, that might not be economically workable for most people. So, if you feel your boss is suddenly asking you questions, consider your actions first.
Are you taking too many calls at work? Are you coming in late or leaving early too often? Are you calling in sick every once in a while? Are you staying away for lunch for too long?
These are telltale signs that you are doing something outside work, and your boss might soon change upon the fact that you are looking for employment elsewhere.
Will Your Boss Feel Bothered if You Look For Another Job?
No. In an ideal situation, your current employer should not feel bothered if you look for another job. After all, everyone looks forward to advancing their careers, right?
So why wouldn’t you look for other opportunities that pay you more or find more fulfilling compared to the present job? It is not as if you are neglecting your current duties. Then why will your boss feel bothered?
The answer to this question largely depends on the organization you are working for. Some companies won’t bother if you take up another position.
However, some bosses might feel betrayed if you look for another job and might fire you as soon as they find out. This is because they might have spent thousands of dollars training you and would be somewhat disappointed when they find out you are not planning to use all your newly earned skills for the company’s benefit.
So, they might pull the rug from under your feet by firing you instead, without giving you a chance to secure your finances.
In addition, they will take the slightest mistake and use it against you.
For example, you made a mistake, not as a human error, but because you became neglectful of your duties as you decided to leave soon. They might also include this in your performance report and make things trickier for you when you apply for the following position.
Should You Tell Your Boss About Looking for a New Job?
This question depends on two factors.
- If your employer or boss doesn’t mind you leaving as he understands career advancement, he will happily bid you adieu.
- If your employer or boss is not very well liked or has a temper about everything, he will surely fire you. If not immediately, then soon. He knows about your interest in not working for the company anymore, which will be detrimental to the company.
So, you can tell your boss about looking for a new job, but it is good to decide based on the abovementioned factors.
Sometimes, your boss might appreciate your honesty, accept your notice period, and even help you with a smooth transition by providing recommendations.
However, the opposite is also true. Your boss might fire you right there, annoyed that you are thinking of leaving. A lot also depends on your relationship with your boss.
Some employers are highly impersonal and will not take things to heart.
In contrast, some employers will consider your quitting a personal affront.
Things might be even more difficult if you had signed any NDA that states that you cannot work with a competitor before leaving your present job.
In such cases, you must be very careful about your job search, and any whiff of your working with a rival in the same sector will give your boss the license to fire you.
Bonus Read: What Are Some Good Excuses to Leave Work Early?
How Can You Look for Another Job Without Letting Your Boss?
The best way to avoid a situation where you might be fired for looking for another job is to be very discreet while doing so.
Here are some things you must remember while seeking employment elsewhere while you are already employed.
1. Do Not Tell Anyone
Yes, no matter how close you may be to some of your colleagues, do not tell them something dissatisfied you with your present job and are looking for another position.
You never know who will take this as an opportunity to bring you down in the highly competitive arena of corporate employment.
You might need their reference at some point, but leave that for later. When you are more or else sure of securing the job and would have to provide references and recommendations from your previous employer, should you think about telling your boss that you are job hunting?
2. Do Not Post on Social Media
It is a common mistake to post about job hunting on social media platforms. Anyone can come to know about your endeavors from here. At the same time, connecting with people while seeking a new job is essential, but do not make it obvious.
You may choose channels like LinkedIn and other job portals, but do not post them on your Facebook wall or Twitter handle.
If you must, carefully go through the privacy settings and ensure none from your professional circle can come to know of it. You can also turn off the update’s features on LinkedIn so that no one else can see what is going on in your profile.
Bonus Read: How To Use LinkedIn To Get A Job
3. Do Not Make Your Search Obvious
One of the best things you can do is not to use public channels while job hunting. For example, while using job portals might seem easy to look and apply for jobs, someone from your own company may come across your updated resume and know that you are looking for a job again.
The best way to go about it is to apply to the company through their websites and send them applications directly. This way, no one will come to know if you are seeking employment elsewhere.
4. Do Not Use Company Resources
A common mistake that many job seekers make is to use the company computer to look for jobs. Yes, there are periods of relaxation at work, and you might think it is an excellent time to go through your applications or job portal notifications.
However, company computers are often tracked for security reasons, and your actions might be inadvertently revealed.
In addition, refrain from giving prospective employers your office address or phone number as an alternative mode of contact.
To be careful, you should do nothing related to your job search during your present office hours.
5. Do Not Schedule Interviews During Work Hours
When the time comes to appear for interviews, do not schedule them during your work hours as much as possible. Yes, you may attend a few interviews by calling a few days sick, but your employers will soon start asking questions if it keeps happening frequently.
It is better to schedule interviews before you come in for your present job or after leaving.
If the office hours collide, you might also request a phone interview with your employers during the initial stages and then turn up in person during the final stages. Many employers are now open to interviewing online, so this would not be a significant problem.
Bonus Read: How Do I Prepare Myself For an Internship Phone Interview?
6. Notify Your Present Employer at the Last Moment
You can notify your present employer of your notice period only during the last leg of the recruitment process once you are sure you will secure the job. Your new employers might call your previous employers for references and background checks.
You can request them to hold off making the call unless they have given you the job. In most cases, many new employers will understand your predicament and honor this request.
However, follow all the protocols while leaving, ensure that you give your employer the required notice period, and leave everything in place for the next person who will join in your place for a smooth transition.
The prospect of losing a job even before securing the next one can be scary. However, you cannot choose to remain stagnant in your career.
Look for better opportunities if your present job is not taking you where you hoped you would be. And you have to take some risks along the way. The best way to do so is to be as discreet as possible.
If your employer still finds out about your seeking employment elsewhere, be honest with your employer and state the reasons calmly and professionally. If your employer is understanding, they will ponder your decision. They will probably also help you get a better job.