Lies to Tell Your Boss So He Doesn’t Know You’re Looking for Another Job

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“Sorry. Gotta stick around my house waiting for the cable guy.”

Where’s the best place to look for a job? In the office of your current job, of course. So how do you do it without getting busted?

Along with a little awkward office run-in comic strip excerpted above, the Chicago Tribune story offers some tips, like that it’s best to search job listings when colleagues aren’t around (especially if you work in a cubicle and your computer screen can be eyeballed easily), and that you need to be careful about printing out resumes or e-mails from potential new employers. It’s way safer to do that at home, or at least after your office has emptied out. (By going with the latter, there’s a bonus: You give the appearance to your current employer of being a dutiful, tireless worker who is willing to stay late.)

The obvious times to set up interviews are first thing in the morning or after 5 p.m., but sometimes that’s not possible. How do you sneak away from the office without it looking like you’re heading to a job interview? By using some creative excuses, such as these suggested by the Trib:

“I have to go to a wake – the father of a friend.” “I have a doctor’s appointment. My back is killing me.” “I feel sick.” “I have to go home and wait for the cable guy.” “I have to pick up my uncle at Midway.” “My daughter (or niece) is playing a tulip in her school’s spring play.” “My car’s making funny noises. I have to get it checked out.” “Just got a call from a neighbor. My house is on fire.”

And what do you do if your boss discovers you’ve blatantly been on the job hunt while at the office?

“You have to tell the truth,” says Ron Daniels, an executive recruiter in Chicago. “If you’re caught red-handed, use the situation to your favor. Explain to your boss why you’re looking and maybe he or she will realize your importance to the firm.”

Of course, there’s also the chance that your name could move up to the top of the “non-essential employee” list and you could find an empty cardboard box and a security guard waiting at your desk when you return to your cubicle.

Then again, if you could be fired that easily, your time for termination was probably coming soon anyway—giving you even more reason to get a head start looking for your next gig.

So long as you’re getting your current job done, there’s no reason to feel guilty about searching for another one. Chances are, your colleagues and even your boss are probably doing the exact same thing.

From Job Hopping to Career Monogamy