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Job hunting when you have a job

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in Your Office Coach

Question: "I am absolutely miserable in my job, but it’s hard to look for work while I'm currently employed. The owner of this company is a horrible person who yells and insults her employees. She doesn’t like to give people time off, so I have trouble getting away for interviews. I recently lost a possible position because I couldn't make the interview. I’ve been here for three years. How do I get out?" — Trapped & Depressed

Marie's Answer: After three miserable years, you blew off a job interview because you fear your boss? If you continue to be this timid, you will never escape. Consider these suggestions: 

•    To conduct a job search while working, you must be clever, assertive and mildly devious.  Complete honesty is obviously not possible, since telling your boss about an interview would be totally self-defeating. 

•    Prospective employers understand this dilemma, so they often are willing to be flexible.  When offered an interview, say that you are extremely interested, but may have difficulty coming during work hours. Ask whether you can meet before or after work or during your lunch break. If that’s not possible, use vacation time. 

•    If your boss asks why you need time off, give a general response like “I have to meet with someone about some personal business.” Then leave it at that. If you are the type of person who feels compelled to explain everything, you will have to curb that tendency. 

Your boss may become suspicious, but unless you’re willing to take that risk, you will be stuck with her. For additional suggestions, see Job Hunting When You Have a Job.

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