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I am currently employed as a software developer, but I am not quite happy with the environment in my company and looking for alternatives.

The market is good, and I am in contact with a recruiter who got me an interview for tomorrow. Today I was in a restaurant with a friend talking about the upcoming interview. I suddenly realized my boss was sitting not far from me in the restaurant, certainly within an earshot.

I have no idea if he heard me, but there is a good chance. It was not too loud in the place and I was talking far too loudly in retrospect.

When I saw him I went over there and said hello, but I could not tell from his reaction if he heard me or not. (He is always hard to read.)

If I find an alternative that fits perfectly, I will probably switch, but if not I would like stay in my current position. I certainly want to stay until I find something good, but now I am afraid I might have messed up.

  • Considering my boss could know about my recruiting now, is there anything I should do about it? Should I approach him? Or just keep on as if nothing happened, hoping the best?
  • What signs could I look for that tell me if he knows something?
  • Is there anything I need to prepare for? What might an employer do in such a situation that I need to be aware of?
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  • This all just guesswork, only to your 2nd question can you expect any answers.
    – user8036
    Nov 17, 2014 at 14:45
  • @JanDoggen Is there any specific information missing? I will happily add the info to the question. Obviously with a question like this there will be aspects that depend on the individuals involved, but I think that applies to most questions here. I am looking for advice on how to recover from such a situation (if even possible) and what employment and social repercussions might follow.
    – user29679
    Nov 17, 2014 at 15:30

3 Answers 3

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You pretend he didn't hear you and since you say he is hard to read, he might as well pretend he didn't hear you until something comes up that says otherwise.

You might as well go full bore with your job search. What you do after hours and during your time off-duty is none of any in your workplace's business but yours. Having said that, keep this job search part of your life low key and try to cross the moat without rousing the alligators :)

If my boss were to ask me point-blank, I'd tell that I am floating my resume all time, even if I am not looking. Which is perfectly true :)

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  • Thanks for the advice. I am a little bit afraid things will get awkward, but I guess there is no way around it if he really heard me. What if he asks me point-blank if I am seriously looking for alternatives? Should I lie? It's not always possible to give evasive answers, but if I lie he might hold a grudge if I quit later on and give me a bad review.
    – user29679
    Nov 17, 2014 at 16:48
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    In your case, I'd tell the boss "Even if I am looking for a job and I know for sure that you know that I am looking for a job, I wouldn't tell you" and leave it at that. Your job search is none of your boss's business and you'd certainly be a fool for volunteering any information about it. Keep your anxiety attacks to yourself, as none of us have the ability to do anything about them. Nov 17, 2014 at 17:41
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Considering my boss could know about my recruiting now, is there anything I should do about it? Should I approach him? Or just keep on as if nothing happened, hoping the best?

Had I been in your shoes I'd probably reach out to my boss directly, the moment I decide to consider other options. This may turn bad, true, but also shows great deal of respect towards your boss, as you are giving him a chance to correct whatever you don't like in your current job.

Most employees are really bad at explaining their fears or giving hints to what bothers them and would keep those to themselves until they decide to leave. At which point the manager can't really do anything anymore.

What signs could I look for that tell me if he knows something?

Whether he knows or not is irrelevant. You should decide what YOU want to do. If you want to leave then go to your manager and tell him. If you hesitate, staying at a job without any motivation is bad both for you and for the company.

Is there anything I need to prepare for? What might an employer do in such a situation that I need to be aware of?

There's chance the employer might take initiative and decide to release you off duty. But again, if you have already decided this job isn't really good for you, then take the advantage to start looking for better jobs/companies - you already know what you dislike, focus on what you want.

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This is a pretty hard question to answer as it is very dependent on your boss and how valuable of a worker you are. First of all it's entirely possible that your boss didn't hear you, if he didn't notice you before you went over and said hello he might not have been paying attention to your conversation.

That said, it would be courteous to explain what's going on to your boss, in an ideal world he'd understand, especially in the world of IT it's just a reality. That said, I for one would feel really nervous about doing that because I'd think that I messed things up. If it were me I'd just pay attention to how your boss interacts with you and see if there are any signs that he knows.

If he values you as an employee he might try to talk to you outright about it, even make you an offer to stay. He might start reducing your workload to get ready for you leaving.

The worst you should have to deal with though is some awkwardness, if he knows you're looking for another job it'd be pretty dumb of him to fire you, because then your employer would have to pay severance.

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