As far as my understanding you take any personal/sick day for any particular reason. You boss shouldn't be asking you why you taking the day off, imo.
Sure he can ask - but you don't have to say one word about why you needed the day off. It's just that - a personal day. If he asks, I would just politely say that you prefer not to talk about what you do on your personal days - you like to keep work and personal time separate.
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Your company doesn't have a policy in place that you manager has to be notified before applying to an internal position?
Do you regularly take vacation days? If not, start taking them more often and talk about what you will do in your days off well in advance so that he doesn't suspect a thing.
Signatures are for the insecure
A fun little story along those lines. The IT guy who used to work at my company tried to be slick and interview for a position at a sister company w/out telling anyone at my company. His manager (as well as the IT dude) occassionally works with people at said sister company and on the day of his internview, his manager calls the sister company to ask about fedexing something from their location to ours. The person at the sister company says that she'll just have the IT guy bring it to her since he was there that day. IT guy didn't tell anyone he was going there (which he always does) and his manager at that point knew something fishy was going on.
If I was making a move similar to what the IT guy did, I would potentially talk to my manager. Though my manager is also the president of the company, so things could get a little awkward.
Your time off is your time off, you don't owe anyone at your company an explanation for what you do on your time off. If you feel compelled to answer, I'd probably make up some very generic and vague excuse, like you had a bunch of errands you needed to run that you couldn't do during the weekend. I would say that a job interview is an errand that you couldn't do during the weekend!I have booked a day off to attend the interview next week and I fear he will grill me about why I'm asking for the day off.
As to the other question, there's nothing wrong with applying to any job with another company, provided you don't spend time on company computers looking for work or company email scheduling interviews.
I'd let the other company know you are conducting a confidential search and they should not contact your current employer for any reason. Also, why not have them schedule an interview for the afternoon so you don't have to take an entire day off from work?
Our Internal Hiring Policy--which I wrote--states specifically that you need to inform your manager of your interest in another role. What should NEVER happen is to have one part of a business drastically impacted by an internal employee accepting a position in another part of the business. Both managers should be aware, discuss the timing, etc.
As to your other question: As long as you have time to take, take it. You don't have to tell him anything.
This is interesting to me as I am currently extremely unhappy at my current place of employment to the point that I am going to leave. I have started sending out my resume and hopefully will be setting up interviews.
Part of me says keep it a secret and part of me says let my boss know that I am leaving once find another job.
How hard have you tried to be the best at your job?
Are you recognized by your company for outstanding achievements?
Are you working for a high performance organization where you would WANT to be promoted?
If your boss is going out of his way to stay late or come in on weekends to give you training time or if you hold some imaginary key to a current project they are working on, I would highly recommend leveling with him. Otherwise, you have to make your decision based on your professional ethics, but contrast that with your company's display of their professional ethics.
In case this is your first time, get your offer letter from the new company, ask them how soon you could start if you are let go upon tendering your resignation, then give your notice. Don't be that guy that stays with a "crappy" company because they offered you a matching salary upon resignation.