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VOL. 45 | NO. 39 | Friday, September 24, 2021

Keep your mouth shut as the door closes on old job

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Leaving your current employer for a new career opportunity is a big decision, similar to the breakup of a romantic relationship. The process can be sad and painful – and you might never again see co-workers you once saw daily – but it’s a necessary step of growth.

And just like that romantic relationship, you might be tempted to share your dissatisfaction on the way out the door. To this, my advice is to be careful.

If you felt your current employer was a perfect match, you probably wouldn’t be open to new opportunities. Similar to romantic relationships, daters are typically only open to new people if they’re unsure about their current relationship.

If you’re taking a new job, the old one was likely a mismatch.

On the way out, many companies complete an exit interview. And, many employees enjoy using this time to vent their long-held frustrations. It might feel therapeutic, but you should not take this route if you can avoid it.

If you’re like most employees, you have at least tried to resolve the differences at your current company before seeking something new. You probably shared (on more than one occasion) what you felt might help you to be more successful. For whatever reason, your request wasn’t possible.

It might be because the company wasn’t listening. But it might also have been something larger. For example, to fulfill your request, a larger change to the corporate culture might have been necessary. And, sometimes, that’s just not possible.

I’m not saying your request wasn’t valid or reasonable. But, if it wasn’t possible while you were working there, it isn’t going to be possible after you’ve left. And, certainly not from one casual conversation with human resources on your way out the door.

Also, people might have been doing their best. We rarely have all of the information or know exactly what was going on behind the scenes.

Chances are good that you built positive relationships when you were at your company. You want to maintain those if you can. And, you might need your boss in the future as a reference.

You cannot shred your relationship with an organization and hope for a glowing recommendation later.

It can be frustrating when an opportunity didn’t work out the way you would have liked. But focus on the positive and the future. Be happy that you found a new beginning.

If you feel frustrated with your old company, that’s understandable. But rather than complain in an exit interview, call a friend. It will do you far more good to talk with someone who cares about your future.

And try to leave things as you found them. When you end a romantic relationship, it doesn’t help to tear each other town. The same is true in business.

Thank the company for the experience and move forward.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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