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How to move on after an awful, toxic boss?

I'm looking for any advice on what to tell new employers when I'm moving on from a supervisor who wasn't happy with me. Here's my story: I have had 4 different jobs and usually had excellent annual reviews from past supervisors. However, my most recent supervisor was a nightmare. She didn't make expectations clear and I didn't receive proper training, but then my supervisor started micromanaging everything and nothing was ever good enough for her (she even went so far as to smack my hand one day and yell "no!" when she didn't approve of how I handled something), gossiping and spreading rumors about me to a couple co-workers of mine that she was close to, and gave me by far the worst performance review I have ever received (which was mostly lies, and I have evidence of emails, reports, etc...to prove it). Anyway, this job was literally making me ill. I was jittery, hardly eating, having panic attacks, and not sleeping. I ended up having to quit without having a new job lined up to prevent a complete nervous breakdown. So...my question now is what do I tell new potential employers who might call my most recent job to confirm my work history? Do I specifically tell them to call other past supervisors instead, even though they aren't the most recent? Do I explain that my last supervisor and I had a personality conflict? Do I not mention anything and hope for the best? What would you guys do? I'm so ready to be done with this nightmare and move on to something new. Please help!

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Elyssa Duncan
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I'm happy you're getting out of there Natalie Stuart ! You deserve to be respected in the workplace. Some advice:

  • Remember what you did enjoy about the job! Talk about the positives and highlight the good parts.

  • Resist the urge to talk poorly about your boss in future interviews. Keep on the high-road. :) Try and be as honest as possible without oversharing and keeping things positive.

For example, "It was a challenge not feeling supported in my last role. The lack of clear expectations in my role made it difficult to succeed. However, it did allow for me to better manage my workload and know how to effectively communicate with external audiences to get the answers I needed."

  • Use this as an opportunity to share what you are looking for!

For example, "In my next role, I am hoping to have a better working relationship with my supervisor so that we can achieve new goals and succeed together as a team."

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mark tribett
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I would create a narrative that explains the reasons for taking this job and then turning it to how it didn’t meet expectations. Let the new employer know you are willing to train and understand given the right mentoring/coaching. I would not bad mouth your former supervisor in interviews just leave it as they did not meet expectations and little room for professional growth.

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Philip Servis
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You must have worked for my boss! She had it in for me for almost two years before she finally got her way had eliminated my position after 30 years at the company.

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amy shenk
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Very hard to deal with a toxic boss, I was terminated from my work after being there for 20years, and I had had 19 great years with kohl's but all it took was being taKen out of my comfort zone, shoes and put in juniors, a manager started to train me but got transferred to another store after a couple weeks and the new area manager didn't help me out at all. I was put on a 90 day probation period that kohl's uses to get rid of people, and the stuff I got written up for is so lame, but looks great on paper. Anyways, I have had a really rough time getting over being fired and now am having a tough time trying to find work. And then I find out after the fact that the district manager wanted me gone and it was because I was a whistle blower. Calling corporate office, had asked my previous manager to fire me, he refused, I was a nervous wreck that last year I worked there, hated it, crazy what a person can do to another person, make their life hell.

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dian sanderson
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If you have three other positive reviews I personally don't see any problem.

By law all the employer you're looking to get hired by can ask is.. if you were in fact employed the dates that you claimed to be employed by them and if they would hire you back.

You could either leave them out of your work history or after listing them make a notation that you had communication problems with that employer and leave it at that. You can explain on your interview what your issues were without bad mouthing the past employer.

Good luck !!!

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nirosha fernando
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I would get a lawyer and see what could be done.

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