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I would like to see what opportunities are out there, but most of the companies I could work with are part of my customers or partners portfolio.

Can I ask my contacts for opportunities? Is it the norm? Or is it likely that I will be exposed and get in trouble with my current job? If I say "confidential", does it bear any weight?

closed as off-topic by IDrinkandIKnowThings, mcknz, Michael Grubey, Draken, gnat Aug 22 '17 at 7:51

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    Just because you say confidential doesn't really mean anything. I would say in your contract, there is probably something there telling you not to do this. – SaggingRufus Aug 21 '17 at 16:24
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    Chances are if you do this you will get in trouble with your employer and these companies probably have provisions in their contracts with your company not to poach their employees. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 21 '17 at 16:27
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings I didn't even think of that side of it! – SaggingRufus Aug 21 '17 at 16:30
  • Thanks. So, can my employer A) block my career advancement and B) block me from advancing in other companies? Actually, if I move for a more senior role, is it still an issue? – Monoandale Aug 21 '17 at 16:46
  • @Monoandale that depends entirely on your contract. They might be allowed to block you from working for their clients; they might not. Either read your own, specific contract, or check with a lawyer (who will also want to see your contract) – Erik Aug 22 '17 at 8:23
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Can I ask my contacts for opportunities?

You can ask, but if you have a very strong relationship with your clients you won't need to - they'll volunteer the information without prompting or hinting.

Is it the norm?

To ask outright? That's a judgment call on your part. I wouldn't do it. Others would.

Or is it likely that I will be exposed and get in trouble with my current job?

That would be my guess. If you're lucky you'll merely get in trouble. If you're unlucky, you'll be unemployed and the client won't want you either.

If I say "confidential", does it bear any weight?

Not really. If you feel you have to explicitly ask your customers to keep quiet, then I'd say you don't know them well enough to trust them this much.

If you're serious about working for one of your clients, the trick is to be totally amazing and on top of things and an obviously fantastic fit for their organization. You don't even hint that you're looking to work for them. If they decide they want you bad enough, they'll approach you (which puts you in a great position to negotiate salary).

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Check your contract and HR policies. In many companies this would be prohibited behavior and could get you either fired or involved in a very expensive lawsuit. In many companies it would not be.

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Can I ask my contacts for opportunities?

There's no definitive answer to this but it's not uncommon for there to be a clause in your contract preventing you from doing this. It is also common is for there to be a clause in the customer's contract with your employer preventing them from soliciting/poaching employee's so before doing anything else I recommend you check out the contractual situation for both yourself and the customer. This is not an area to leap without looking!

Is it the norm?

It varies by industry.. I've known some industries where it's very normal for certain staff to move between suppliers and customers regularly and others where it would be massively controversial.

Or is it likely that I will be exposed and get in trouble with my current job?

There's a distinct possibility of this, even if this is allowable contractually it may be frowned upon and any customer looking to hire you away from your current employer would have to consider that it may have adverse effects on their business relationship with your employer and if they value that relationship higher than any potential gain from hiring you directly then they may well give your employer a heads up.

If I say "confidential", does it bear any weight?

Erm.. no, not really. It might help prevent the client you talk to from revealing it accidentally because they thought your employer knew already but they aren't your doctor or lawyer so it's about as binding as a paper bag with a rip in it.

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