...Even though you're basically happy where you are?

I've been thinking for a while that it might be a good idea to look around, but how do you go about doing it? Do you hide the fact from your employer? What do you tell the recruiters? Can you play your current employer out against the new recruiter or vice versa, and how do you do that? Any pitfalls?

Edit: I've bolded the questions that people haven't really answered yet.

26 accepted

Not keeping your eyes and ears open for potential job changes seems [somewhat] irresponsible to me: if I'm making $50k and there's something I'd like doing that's offering $80k, I think I'd be a dork to not go check it out.

When I'm generally happy, I don't go into "panic" mode on finding a job - I keep it on a back burner.

I always keep my Linkedin profile up-to-date, my resume updated, and check for openings every so often.

Update, answering other points from the original question:

I neither inform my employer I keep my options open, nor tell them I don't - honestly, I believe it's not their business until/unless I find something better.

I tell recruiters I'm employed and not desperate for a new job, but am certainly interested in hearing about new opportunities.

I'd not "play" my current employer against the potential new one. If I get a good offer, I'll tell my current employer what I have. If they choose to reply, that's fine. If not, I try to move-on with as few burned bridges as possible - you never know when you may want

  • a recommendation
  • to return for a different job

Keeping lines of communication open with good former employers is helpful, in my experience.


My motto: never look for a job or a house unless you're serious. Once you start looking, you will move. This applies to me and anyone I've ever known.


People should always seek better opportunities, because that also challenges the current employer and makes it active in offering better job conditions to employees. Because no employer wants to loose the best employees.

If people just take their job for granted and become complacent, things usually tend not to evolve and that's bad for everyone involved.

If I were in the employer position, I would never hire someone that has no ambition and doesn't pursue "higher flights". Usually that means that that person has the same lazy attitude at getting his current job done.


I keep my resume and linkedIn up-to-date, and my boss knows that occasionally opportunities and interest pop up. However, he's a very understanding guy and he encourages people to see what's out there.

I think it's always a good idea to periodically look at the job market, see what's in demand, and make sure you're still marketable. You don't want to let your skill set get stale. i see it as equal to reading industry blogs or magazines. You need to be up-to-date with what's going on in your field.

It used to be I would get calls from recruiters almost ever day, but now that the economy has taken such a hit it's much less frequent. However, beware of recruiters. A lot of them are trying to fill contract or temporary positions, or contract-to-hire jobs, which means that stability can be an issue, and recruiters lie. A lot. Don't find this out the hard way.

Generally when a recruiter calls, I tell them that I already have a steady full-time gig and that I'm not able to do contract or contract-to-hire work. Some of them understand, others don't want to take "no" for an answer, at which point your best bet is to tell them that you're not in the job market right now.

The pitfalls are that your current employer may take it personally that you were looking at other jobs, or see it as a sign of disloyalty. this makes you slightly more vulnerable to layoffs, firing, or a change in the way your employer treats you. However, if they're good and they value you, they may be willing to make a counteroffer and/or match the amount of the new job offer. It really depends on your relationship with the current employer.

Also, if you're thinking it may be a good idea to look around, stop and ask yourself why. What is it that's making you want to look around? Is it something that can be remedied? Are you just ready to try something new? This is all important stuff to think about, because it may be better to just resolve things where you are if its at all possible.


I do, because even if I'm not actively looking, I have friends who are, and you never know what can happen. But your time, IMHO, is probably best spent getting better at what you do, and expanding your skill set, so that by the time the dream scenario ends, you're not looking at stuff and going, wtf?


If you're not moving forward, you're most likely falling behind. It's good to stay alert and 'active' throughout your career. That way you minimize the times you'll have to look back in your life with regret.


Even if I'm happy with my job I keep my eyes open to new opportunities, especially if it's from big-name companies. It's a great way to measure where you are in the job market, and a great opportunity to see other offices and get a feel for their company culture. Interviews, especially technical ones, also let you gauge your level of skill. Just last month I took up an interview for a job with Microsoft and even if I failed in the interview, at least I learned a lot of stuff in the process.

So it's still a good idea to look and go on interviews and get what you can get out of them.


I've changed work about once a year and a half in the last 6 years and noticed that sometimes just reactivating my resume in some job search sites is enough for me to start receiving calls from potential employers.

I am in Mexico, so it might be different in other parts of the world.

I think you should always be open for opportunities that are sound to you, think of it like a new love relationship and it might be easier to understand.


It's always a good idea to keep your eye open for new opportunities. I'm always on the job hunt, although most of the time it's not a priority. I'm not going to turn down an interview for potentially good position. The worst thing that can come of it is that you don't get a job offer from them. And if you get an offer from another company but don't feel like switching companies, you can always use that to negotiate a better salary from your current employer.


Never, but it's simply because I hate that part of "life".

I always assume that my current job is going to last forever until it's REALLY OBVIOUS that there is a problem, by then it's too late.

On the other hand, the only vacation I get is the 2-4 months between jobs, so "meh".

Sucked in the .bomb because I was out of work for a year with 2000/mo house payments though.


I would consider changing job if one or more of the following applies:

  1. I am thoroughly fed up of my current job.
  2. People at work are thoroughly fed up of me. There is no more a working relationship
  3. There is an opportunity which is really taking me to the next-level
  4. There is an opportunity which is offering a package significantly better than mine without compromising on career goals.
  5. The current work is not aligned with my career goals anymore.
  6. The logistical and administrative issues to get to job are taking their toll (e.g. excessive commute).

It is necessary to continually make new acquitances and build a network of people so when comes the day you decide to change job you can do it instantly. You should also let people know what are you good at so if there comes a business opportunity they call you. If you just sit in a corner and the only thing you see is your monitor then you won't get far in life.


If you are really happy, you wouldn't be looking for a job. If you are looking for another job, even passively, that tells me that you just don't dislike your job enough to actually be motivated to actively seek another one.

If you are happy doing your job and an better offer smacks you in the back of the head, then you'd be a fool not to take it. I don't consider things like keeping your linked-in up to date, or keeping your social/business network current to be seeking a job; but if you're on monster (or any other job search specific site), you're not happy.