I am presently employed and looking for another job because a) I don't make enough money and b) the environment is so stressful it is toxic. The problem is that if I put my job down as my present employer my employer will sabotage my efforts and then fire me. I've seen this happen twice already to two other employees at my job and my boss laughed about it. Though many applications have a check box not contact a present employer or even if asking for confidentiality in a cover letter (which in itself is a red flag to many potential employers - after all, they might ask themselves, what does this employee have to hide?) many hiring managers will still contact the job anyway, or someone who works there, which will get back to the employer anyway. This just happened to me today.
Fortunately, I put down another work reference of a friend's company. Unfortunately, the hiring manager knew people who worked for my friend and contacted them, and they told him they never heard of me. As a result I didn't get the job. While I know my friend won't inform his employees who I am and where I work, there is still the risk that my job will find out.
Anyway, I'm at a loss of what options I have available. I'm not in the position to leave my job and seek employment elsewhere since I have bills to pay. Even if my job finds out and fires me (as this potential employer suggested to me) there's no guarantee that I'll get unemployment because my present employer will contest that too, as I've seen him do with other employees. So my question is, How do I get another job using my present employer without them finding out and getting fired? BTW - I never left a job without giving a 2 week notice and I plan to do the same with this job, though I've seen before that this job doesn't honor that either.