Worried about reference! How bad can it get?

(7 Posts)
OhdearIquit Tue 05-Mar-13 16:53:35

Posted a few days ago about having to potentially quit while my horrible boss is on holiday.

Anyway, I've now been offered the new job and have just gone into work to hand in my notice. Managed to catch my boss before he left. So he knows. As expected he was horrible. Told me he didn't expect an better of me and that I've only ever looked after myself! I had to hold back tears and explained how him cutting my hours meant I could not afford to keep working there.

Not even 2 weeks ago he told me I would be better of looking for another job as he didn't have enough hours for me anymore. I have always been loyal, worked all hours asked and helped out very short notice. He has never raised any issues with me and has only praised me.

The only thing I did "wrong" was that I got pregnant 2 years ago and was off sick for a long time with Hyperemesis. I was in hospital and very ill.

I'm now very worried about what sort of reference I'll be getting. What if my old boss makes me sound so bad, the new job takes back its offer and I have no job?

The last girl that left my old company had so much trouble, her new company was chasing the reference for months!

flowery Tue 05-Mar-13 19:41:50

Have you given them another reference as well, or just him?

Will the other one be a good one?

There is a risk, yes. He's not supposed to give you a bad one that can't be backed up with evidence, but that won't necessarily stop him if he's a vindictive so-and-so.

I'd be inclined to give your new employer a ring, the line manager if you can, and say you've handed your notice in and are looking forward to starting, however your current boss didn't take it very well at all and is very cross. Say you have a slight concern that if his mood doesn't improve he may refuse a reference or give a negative one, so you wanted to give them the heads up, and if there are any problems, could they just let you know.

I've been in this position, it's awful. Id been at the company for about 7 years, management position, no issues. My boss was under a huge amount of pressure at the time, as was I, and he was on holiday when I was offered the new job. He came back all eager beaver and refreshed and I had to tell him straight away that i was leaving, as the request for a reference was sitting on his desk. He was absolutely foul to me and simply refused to speak to me or respond to the reference for weeks. New employer kept leaving messages asking what the delay was.
I had a word with my new employer who was sympathetic but understandably wanting to stick to procedures. In the end my boss handed me a sealed envelope without a word. I opened it at home and it was a reference of two lines! Gist of it was 'Knotted has attended work and done her job satisfactorily. I have no idea if she will be able to do the job you have offered her as she hasn't been doing that sort of work here'. After 7 frickin yrs of loyalty, unpaid overtime and taking on all sorts of crap to support the business!
New job and boss were absolutely fine about it and TBH it was very clear sour grapes, and that it was old boss being a wanker, generally unprofessional etc. I've never looked back since I left. Old boss had a nervous breakdown shortly after.

Whenever I'm looking for references I always consider the fact that the manager might just be full of spite.

I would like to think that I am a good judge of character, and in any case all new contracts are on a probationary period to start with anyway.

Most people in my position are usually willing to look behind what is being said.

OhdearIquit Tue 05-Mar-13 22:00:38

I've given the new company a second reference from some voluntary work I've been doing as well. I have no doubt in my mind that it would be a glowing reference if they were to be contacted.

I will tell my new employer beforehand how my old boss reacted. They are a very friendly small family run business and I actually believe that their impression of me would carry more weight than a reference. The fact my old boss is away on holiday now gives me some time to act. I will have worked a couple of training shifts in the new job before he gets back so they should get a chance to see me work again. They seem to like me a lot as I found out they never even interviewed anyone other than me and when I went in for a trial today, they had already made they're mind up to give me the job.

I could offer some more references maybe, going back in my employment history and volunteering? But because I'm from abroad and have only been here for 6 years, my older refernce would only be for a summer job, albeit in the same industry, so relevant.

Does anyone know where I stand with the pregnancy related absence I had in 2011? As far as I know it's not allowed to count towards my sickness record.

fledtoscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 07:50:13

I had a bad reference from a company many years ago. Had already started with my new employer thanks to a glowing reference from previous manager but manager before then was just vindictive. My new employer took it on face value and discredited it as they said it was unprofessional. They just obtained a personal reference instead.

Sorry for the ramble but just to get across that a bad reference will reflect poorly on the manager who has written it especially if they can't back it up. Also sickness from maternity leaves cannot be used a evidence - I was off for nearly 5months and it was me who told my current employer as it has never been raised in my reference.

flowery Wed 06-Mar-13 09:44:07

I had a bad reference once as well. I didn't find out until years later. Fortunately my new boss had been impressed with me at interview and thought it was probably vindictiveness, so disregarded it.

Pregnancy-related sickness doesn't count for the purposes of anything that could be held against you, so shouldn't be disclosed, no.

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