I am working as a chemical engineer with a strong taste of IT in the mix, in Western Europe. I work closely with the technical expert of the company who develops the software I use daily on my job, and is very mainstream in my industry.

I was wondering whether I should let him know I am looking to change.

On one hand, he knows the entire industry, and may be able to let me know a position is open somewhere, maybe even put in a good word.

On the other hand, I'm afraid it will make things weird if I finally decide to stay at my current job, or that he'll discuss this with my current colleagues.

To sum up, is that just networking, or is that too much?


To sum up, is that just networking, or is that too much?

I would say that it is indeed too much perhaps, this can either help you (but not surely) or completely harm the job you currently have; I am not sure if this is a bet you are willing to take.

If you are looking for a job switch, it is not recommended that you ask or probe for other positions with clients, suppliers, coworkers, etc., that may willingly or inadvertently jeopardize your efforts.

If you plan on approaching those subjects you will have to be really careful, but I suggest you refrain from doing so this time.

Instead, you can try asking other friends or acquaintances that you trust that may be involved in the field, or pursue other ways like asking contracting agencies, job fairs or events on that industry, internet and social network browsing. Those are perhaps "safer" ways of asking around when you still haven't landed any new offer.

TL;DR - Don't do it, specially with suppliers, clients or similar. Try other means to look for new opportunities.

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It is too much. It puts your supplier in an awkward position. Keep in mind that your company is a client of his company. If you do this, you potentially put him in a very awkward position. It may be a conflict of interest for him to know that one of his client's employees is looking to leave. He may feel obligated to inform his client of your request, and if he does, your employer may be less than pleased.

Now, if you were to get laid off in the future, this person might be a great resource with which to connect, but as it stands, you should merely keep him in mind for networking a few years down the road.

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