We live in a world of text messages, Facebook posts, tweets, never-ending emails, and blog posts. It can be an overwhelming, disparaging sea of feedback and opinion. BEWARE! When your personal thoughts and opinions are revealed, they are no longer personal.
When is it okay to talk about a previous employer? If you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything until you have something good to say. Remember this: a dog that brings a bone, takes a bone. As it applies to this situation, an employee that talks badly about their prior employer, will also talk badly about you to their next employer.
People move on for many reasons. Your next employer is not interested in hearing a sorted tale of agony, defeat, anxiety, and despair. Professionals understand that the work environment is not filled with sparkling unicorns and pink ponies.
Below are 5 things that are okay to say about a former employer:
- “My prior manager had many good qualities such as…” This will show that you recognize and appreciate authority and leadership.
- “My teammates were very strong in the following areas…” This will show that you are a team player.
- “I was able to contribute most when I had access to, was given, or was instructed to…” This will show that you can be easily corrected and instructed.
- “What I loved about my previous company was…” This will show that you are loyal and have a positive attitude.
- “In a situation where my Manager and I disagreed on something, we were always able to…” This will show that you can be agreeable and find solutions.
The consequences of slamming a prior employer do not show up immediately. The consequences of talking badly about those closest to you show up over time in a frustrated career, in a ruined relationship, on a road paved with blocked opportunities, riddled with loss and failure. It is never okay to speak badly about your previous employer, your spouse, your customer, your mother, your father, your friends or family. It is always okay to be respectful and appreciative.
And if you cannot find one good thing to say about your previous employer, you may be viewed as a person that is Constantly Against Virtually Everything (CAVE). As an employer for nearly 4 decades, once a CAVE has revealed themselves, the Customers will not hire them.
Good luck in your job search and be kind out there.