Over the last few days I have decided that I need to get a new job. I say need because my current one has me feeling unhappy, demotivated and it makes my evenings and weekends less enjoyable at the thought of going in the next day - it's a real struggle to get out of bed in the morning for the same reason.
Currently I'm a software developer in the UK. I'm looking at a change of industry and I'm not really enjoying working within IT and being stuck in an office and in front of a screen all day, every day.
One option that I've got is to apply into my local police force, but I noticed on their application form it asks for current employer details so that they can contact them for a reference. I'm now unsure as to whether or not I should tell my employer that I'm actively looking for a change (and whether or not to say it's for my personal, mental health reasons).
I know it's widely recommended not to until an interview/position is lined up, but will a reference be asked for before any interview takes place? It seems more respectful to let him know that I'm looking, that way reference requests won't be such a surprise.
Additionally, there's been talk of a few long-term projects that I'd be taking on which could go on for a few months or even a year or more, which I don't want to be taking on as it would massively delay me leaving.
Should I tell him? Will a reference be asked for before or after an interview? How do I stop myself being tied into a long-term project?