toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

June 02, 2012

The interview circuit’s grapevine

Abigail got fired from her previous job after blowing the whistle on the company’s dodgy practices, and she’s found that it’s not just misdemeanors that make the grapevine on the interview circuit but good and honest things like lodging a complaint or being a whistle blower.

"If you have any sort of skeleton rattling around in your employment history," says Abigail, "you will be tempted to say nothing at job interviews in the hope that they'll never find out, but unfortunately the world's a very small place and it’s getting smaller every day."

"Nowhere is this 'smallness' more evident," says Abigail, "than in business circles. Everyone knows everyone, and someone, somewhere, knows about the time you got bonked by the boss in the broom cupboard or did something much worse at work or in your private life."

"What we do in our private lives should be very much our own business," says Abigail, "but when it gets our name and face plastered over the front page of the tabloids we have to expect it to spill over into our work environment."

"Generally, employers are not too concerned about the time our divorces got messy, or we got busted, or we got ourselves in the tabloids for some other misdemeanor."

"What they are concerned about," says Abigail, "is misdemeanors that happened at work because these are going to affect our future employment whether we like it or not – and I’d say that stealing from an employer must be the No.1 skeleton.”

"We are all guilty," she laughs, "of making one too many private telephone calls on company time, or web-surfing on company time, or photocopying private documents on company copiers, or snitching a pen or two."

"This sort of petty pilfering is not generally what employers care about, but some do,” says Abigail. “Mostly, employers are interested in larceny, embezzlement, fraud and computer crimes."

"Obviously, for it to be a skeleton," says Abigail, "there has to be an exposure and a charge. Nobody can keep quiet about a thing like this. Most companies carry out security checks before they employ staff in key positions, and anybody who fails to mention this sort of thing at interviews will end up being exposed not only as a felon, but a cunning, conniving one, too."

Read more by Abigail:

  • haunted by whistle blowing

  • what are referees saying about you?

  • whistle blower in difficulty

  • Democratic hacktivism?

  • Cyber wars and Chinese time bombs

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