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Old 09-04-2018, 12:22 PM
2 posts, read 438 times
Reputation: 10


I'm newly unemployed after a 15 year career in retail management. During my career, I've worked for many different store managers and always gave 100% to all of them even if I didn't agree with their management style. I got transferred to a new store in January and the new manager did not get along with me, but he was very passive aggressive and wouldn't really say anything until he blindsided you with something he wasn't happy with. I still thought I could work for him since I've been able to work with everyone previously. Then in June, he let me go suddenly for "poor performance". So, now I'm looking for a new job for the first time in 15 years. I don't want to go back into retail since I wasn't happy there and I felt stagnant in my position. I'm wondering how do I handle the question about why I left my previous employer? I feel like I gave this company the best years of my life and I don't want one bad manager to tarnish that image. Will they contact my previous employer, and will he say that I was let go for poor performance? I really just want to tell people that I left for new opportunities but I don't want that to come back to haunt me. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:16 PM
17,319 posts, read 10,236,660 times
Reputation: 28866
This question has been asked regularly through the years, and the answer is simple.

Never lie or try to misrepresent why you were fired from your last job. It doesn't matter what some people here may state otherwise, but there are no laws that prevent an employer from elaborating why one was fired from a previous job.

Some companies may not elaborate more than dates of employment, but that is not the standard, and if you were let go for poor performance, employers are perfectly in their rights to state as such (and good luck to those who think they can sue a former employer for that). As long as it's the truth, at least from the employer's documented side, it is perfectly legal.

Now, for your particular situation, multiple articles online dealing with this issue, all pretty much advise the same thing. On the application, you don't have to elaborate why you were terminated, but during the interview, you do have to be truthful without being bitter or angry about it. It's not going to do you any bit of good if you try to explain to your interviewer that you thought you were a great performer but your last manager unfairly targeted and fired you. That's a surefire way to get your resume in the trash can. The key is to be humble and understanding.


Be Frank, Not Bitter

When you're interviewing for the job and the recruiter or hiring manager gets around to asking why you were terminated from your job, be honest about it. Avoid sugarcoating the circumstances, but don't talk about your former employer in a negative way.


Regrettably, my performance didn't meet the company's expectations. Since that time, I've looked introspectively at how I could have improved my performance, and I'm proud to say that my budgeting skills are much better now after taking an accounting class.


I was let go because I was late to work a couple times due to car trouble and having to wait for the next bus. Fortunately, my parents recently gave me a more reliable used car as a graduation gift, plus I live within easy walking distance of this company.

Guarantee It Won't Happen Again

When you're an at-will employee, the working relationship can end at any time and for any reason, so you can't be sure that you'll stay on the next job forever. But you can talk about your dedication and commitment. Focus on the takeaway from your termination. Reframe it as feedback that gives you an opportunity to show that you have what it takes to improve. And tell that to the interviewer.
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:24 PM
Location: Western Washington
9,010 posts, read 8,433,569 times
Reputation: 15621
You left your previous position because you were tired of retail. Opportunities in retail are increasingly scarce and demands on the time of salaried individuals are never ending. Working X hours weekly, including evenings, weekends and holidays was no longer enticing to you as a mid-career professional. You felt it was time for a career change as you view retail to have an even more limited future as more consumer spending transitions online in the coming decades.

That isn’t to say you are afraid of hard work. 15 years of dedication in the industry shows you are ready, willing and able to put in the effort when needed.

As to your second question, what will they say, it is anybody’s guess. It really depends on the company. You should call corporate HR, representing yourself as a potential employer checking references. See what they say about you.

Also, everything SuburbanGuy said is good advice.
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Old 09-05-2018, 03:49 AM
1,870 posts, read 722,038 times
Reputation: 3994
You worked for 15 years at that career. Employers will note that you couldn't have been a poor performer since you lasted so long at that.
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Old 09-05-2018, 08:36 AM
Location: SW Florida
10,326 posts, read 4,887,924 times
Reputation: 21744
I worked in HR and these days many companies will only confirm your dates of employment, your salary and whether or not you are eligible for rehire. Some companies have been sued for giving poor references so many companies just stick to the basic facts.
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:04 PM
Location: Mars City
5,091 posts, read 2,152,379 times
Reputation: 7505
Be positive and proud of your accomplishments, and don't look back or second-guess anything. The anomaly of the last guy doesn't count. Don't let his problems and rudeness dangle over your head like a dark cloud. You can't control other people, so don't worry about damage control. Just shine and have faith that the real you will show. If people doubt, there's again nothing you can do about that, so don't let it drag you down.

Use your 15 year track record, and maybe some quality older references, if needed.

Who knows, maybe this employment disruption is part of a plan to get you to a better place. Just stay positive and open to new possibilities.

Last edited by Thoreau424; 09-05-2018 at 12:16 PM..
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:04 PM
2 posts, read 438 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the great advice. I'm trying to get a previous manager as a reference since we had a great a great working relationship and he gave me great reviews. It's just this last manager I'm concerned about since we didn't have the best relationship and I don't want that to tarnish my whole career.
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:18 PM
Location: Mars City
5,091 posts, read 2,152,379 times
Reputation: 7505
Do you want that guy to have control over your thoughts and feelings? Don't let him win, especially if that doesn't make sense. You haven't done anything wrong, so invalidate him. He's not real. If you don't, that may linger with you, and even show up in future interviews as uncertainty or guilt.

*You* ultimately control whether or not he "tarnishes" your future.
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Old 09-05-2018, 06:05 PM
602 posts, read 454,151 times
Reputation: 668
The first rule about being interviewed for a job is never talk bad about any bosses/management. Also, don't tell them you were canned for poor performance. Think of something creative that you believe. You were let go for xyz and don't worry about a new potential employer contacting them and getting into details about it. 15 years is a long tenure and something to be proud of.
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