If you have a steady job, your current employers and the people that you work with may look twice if they find you looking at competitive job listings. Even in those toxic work environments where everyone is disgruntled, most of the time businesses culture makes it taboo to look at competitive job listings. And while we could probably do a deep dive on why that taboo exists, let's look at why you should be looking at competitive job postings instead.
Forget about being disgruntled, frustrated with your job and wanting to leave -- job listings are an excellent research platform. Tucked away in those listings are a host of requirements for software that you should be familiar with, technologies that you should understand, and programs that you should have run. These aren't just job listings, they are your own personal MBA case study series detailing a similar business problem and how other companies have solved them.
It's probably also worth noting that if you come across a job listing that references tools or practices that you don't use, it's unlikely that you would be able to ramp a program up quickly simply to make yourself a good candidate. However, if you're one of those disgruntled people who are actually seeking a new job, being familiar with the terms and practices will also help you explain why you aren't using those tools so that when the interview comes, you are ready.
Don't Get Busted
While there are a lot of great marketing research justifications for looking at competitive job listings, they probably aren't strong enough to keep you out of hot water if you get caught breaking the taboo. While all environments are different, most employers not only want to think of you as content, they also like to think of you as too busy to be looking at competitive job listings during your work day. So while looking at job listings is probably more productive than managing your online farm, both will probably leave you equally cooked.