OK, I'll try to make this brief but I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now.
First of all, I work for a very small, IT consulting company. As a consultant, for some time I was working in our largest client's corporate office. I was working there in a support role for someone who worked directly for the client in IT. Let's call him Jim... Jim worked for the client full time and I worked with him, but as a consultant. What this means is that Jim got paid more and got better benefits from the client company while doing the same job as me.
Now, recently, Jim took another position within his company and I am now working full time as the only IT person at the corporate office. I am still a consultant, and I am still making the same money... although my work load as doubled and my responsibilities have increased dramatically. Jim's company has recently posted a job opening for his old job, the one I am doing right now. I do my job well, the people here in the office are constantly telling me how appreciative they are of me being there, some even going so far as to tell me how much better I am than Jim was. Unfortunately, no one from the IT department of this company is around to hear this.
At the urging of one of the employees for this client company who works in HR, I'm thinking about applying for the very job I'm doing right now. A part of me wonders why the client hasn't offered me the job outright though. Another part of me is worried that the client will tell my employer that I went behind their back to apply for this job, and they'll retaliate in some way.... that's obviously worst case. However, if I get the job, I'll be a happy camper.
So, should I tell my current employer that I'm thinking about applying for this job, or can I do whatever I want? Can they fire me if they find out I applied for it behind their backs? (I already know the answer to that question). Is it worth the risk? I can always just float along as an underpaid, under appreciated consultant, but I'm not happy in that role. Ugh, work is so stressful.