I am the founder of a new customer contact center based in Las Vegas. I am also well-known and respected within my industry, with a successful track record spanning two decades; in fact, I have been written about and featured in many national, regional and local business publications.
Despite these successes and accolades, I recently left my position as CEO of a much larger company in the same industry to explore other opportunities, but most importantly to forge my own path and build a legacy that is truly my own. Fortunately, I had the luxury of letting the ownership group know that I was moving on, and effectively gave them a 90-day notice which worked for them and me. That being said, as a former employee, I am in a unique position to offer advice for those job-seekers who are looking for a new job while gainfully employed.
My first piece of advice is to go easy on yourself. If you are the type of person who feels disloyal or dishonest about looking for another opportunity, recognize that you are in fact doing nothing wrong. You are most likely not under contract, which means you are an at-will employee. In most states you can be terminated for virtually no reason at all at any time, but this also works in your favor because you can quit for any or no reason at any time. I would argue that the greater error is failing to seek other opportunities if you are not emotionally, intellectually or financially fulfilled.
I would follow that advice by suggesting you take a detailed and organized approach to your search. Although it may initially seem simple and like a luxury to look for a job while you already have a steady paycheck, many employed applicants report finding it very difficult to look for new work because they must still sit in on meetings, complete their regularly scheduled tasks, take phone calls, and jump in on the occasional last-minute request. I recommend finding at least a one or two-hour block during your day. This could be in the morning before your work day starts or before it ramps up full-gear; toward the end of your day when things are winding down; or even during your lunch break. Pick a time according to your normal schedule that gives you some peace and quiet, and allows you to focus.
Next I recommend that you do not directly or indirectly burn any bridges. Directly means you may want to think twice before telling your current boss or coworkers just where they can stick that three-page analysis that is due by week’s end. Examples of indirectly burning bridges may be simply ignoring requests for help on an assignment from a coworker or being curt or dismissive with your boss when you know you are on your way out the door. The reason leaving your relationships on solid ground is important is because you never know when you may need to call on these team members for a reference or recommendation. Since many employers are shying away from detailed references because of potential liability, savvy companies are asking for coworker references so they can gauge whether or not you are a team player and would be a good fit within their culture.
Finally, once you have landed that new job and given notice, I suggest you go out in style. Maybe you buy lunch for your team or just email them a simple and heartfelt thank you. If you have a good relationship with your boss it will be memorable if you thank her for the opportunity and the lessons you have learned along the way. And if you do not have a good relationship? A simple “There have been challenges along the road but I am grateful for the experience and the lessons learned.” This is neither a dig nor a compliment but shows grace and professionalism in every way.
I have successfully used these tips in the past. I hope you will find them beneficial if you find yourself on a similar journey!