Q: I worked for a boss who resorted to personal attacks toward my employees. I tolerated this behavior, but finally went to human resources. My boss then made it clear that she...

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Q:

I worked for a boss who resorted to personal attacks toward my employees. I tolerated this behavior, but finally went to human resources.

My boss then made it clear that she was going to make my life miserable. I quit. What do I tell prospective employers during interviews?

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A:

First, find out what information your company offers to prospective employers.

Have a friend call your former company and inquire about your work history, posing as a potential employer.

Most employers these days offer minimal information regarding past employees. If your former employer only gives your name, position held and dates of employment, then say nothing in interviews with new employers.

If your former employer reveals that you quit, briefly discuss the issue if you are asked in an interview. Say that you left your position to find a job at the company where you’re now interviewing.

Given the circumstances of your last job, it’s not surprising that you feel traumatized.

Traumatized people want to tell their stories and receive empathy from others. However, a job interview is not the place to do this.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to find a therapist or career coach who can provide some comfort and education about your experience.

Your primary goal is to land a new job with a stable boss.

Pay careful attention to your gut instincts about new bosses.

Rest assured that a potential employer is more concerned about what you can contribute than about your past. If you don’t make it an issue, it’s unlikely the employer will.

The last word(s)


Q:

I work for a vice president of a large company. He’s been aggressively pursuing the CEO job. Now my boss and the current CEO are having a conflict over a recent meeting where the CEO made a mistake. I was at the meeting and really like my boss. He’s going to be meeting with the board. Should I get involved?


A:

Scott Adams, who writes the Dilbert comic strip, has said, “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons because, to them, you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.” If you like your job, stay out of this fight.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to: www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube