Looking for an RT Job When You Already Have an RT Job

Nobody wants to be in the position of having to look for a new job after being laid off – or worse yet, terminated– from his current job. But looking for a new RT job while you’re still employed poses a long list of challenges too. How can you put yourself out there without compromising your ability to keep the job you have if the job search doesn’t work out?

AARC Old Job New JobAre you an employed respiratory therapist on the hunt for a new RT job? This article offers some good advice on how to deal with this delicate situation.

Three AARC members offer some good advice on dealing with this delicate situation.

Try part-time to get full-time

The first question to ask yourself is, “Why am I seeking a new RT job?” According to Peter Allen, BS, RRT-NPS, RRT-SDS, if the answer is, “my current job is part-time and I really need full-time employment,” another part-time job to fill in the gaps might be the best answer. “Look for part-time work initially,” says the clinical coordinator at Riddle and Exton Sleep Disorders Centers in Pennsylvania. “It is non-threatening to everyone, including your supervisor, who knows they cannot give you any more hours.”

So let your supervisor know you are looking and ask to include her as a reference on your application. “Part-time work will give you a real chance to see if the grass really is greener,” continues Allen. “You also get the best shot at full-time positions as a part-time employee because they are offered internally first.”

Taking on another part-time job makes your current employer realize you are serious about gaining more hours and finding opportunities for growth as well, and that could give you a leg up on any new positions that open up at hospital number one too. “The new skills that you pick up at the part-time job may also benefit your present employer and make you a more valuable asset where you presently work,” says Allen. “Positives abound with this transparent approach.”

Keep it under wraps

But what if you already have a full-time job and are simply looking for a better opportunity? Mark Walker, MBA, RRT, assistant director of the respiratory care department at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, NC, recently went through a job search while working at a community hospital in a small town and says he approached the situation with caution. “I only used one reference from within the organization that I could implicitly trust would not leak my intentions to my supervisors,” he says. “I interviewed out of town, three states away, on a Monday and returned the same day, so that I only took one day off.”

In his case, limiting communication about the search paid off. He was offered the job at UNC without having his current employer find out, and now he couldn’t be happier. “I accepted a position with a leading teaching hospital that is treating me very well,” says Walker.

In an ideal world, employees would be able to be open and honest with their bosses about their desire to seek a better position, but in reality, fears of retribution and termination are the norm. He believes keeping everything under wraps is the way to go.

Looking from within

Of course, keeping things quiet when you’re looking for a job outside of your current facility is one thing. Keeping them quiet when you’re seeking to move to another department within your same facility is another thing entirely.

Sally Whitten, MHS, RRT, has been through that experience a couple of times at Maine Medical Center in Portland, ME. The saving grace for her were strict HR confidentiality rules to protect her privacy while she sought the new position.

“The recruiter for the new position was actually someone I worked with for my own department, and although she was surprised by my application, she assured me that it would be handled in a confidential manner,” says the director of respiratory care. “How HR in your organization or any outside organization assures your privacy is an important factor in the process and I wouldn’t hesitate to discuss confidentiality as soon as possible with a recruiter or with the person setting up the interview.”

The first time she applied for a position outside of her department she decided fairly quickly that the new job really wasn’t what she was looking for and her current boss never found out she had explored the opportunity. The second time she was one of the top candidates for the position and was asked to return for a second interview. Since she had a great relationship with her current boss, she found herself in a bit of an ethical dilemma.

“I knew I was a serious candidate for the new position, so I really struggled with ‘to tell or not to tell’ my director,” she says. “She had been a wonderful mentor during my career and I felt I owed her an honest conversation about my job search.” In the end, she decided to sit down with her boss and talk about the situation, and the upshot of that conversation was an offer to stay on with the department that Whitten says she couldn’t refuse.

Looking back, she believes it was the right move. “For many reasons, there have been ongoing problems with the role I was interested in and I am happy I stayed in my current position.” But she says she still learned a great deal by going through the process – not the least of which was “an ongoing appreciation for what I have right now.”

Ready to search for a new job? Check out the AARC job board.