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Keep the negative vibes to yourself

Disengaging from one company and moving to another can be a tricky proposition, particularly if you leave on a bad note. There’s always the temptation to badmouth the former workplace and boss but you've got to resist it.

india Updated: Apr 02, 2011 16:07 IST
Kabir Barat

By now, it’s an accepted fact that all of us urban workers, unlike earlier generations, will go through at least five to six job changes (if not more) during the course of our working lives. But disengaging from one company and moving to another can be a tricky proposition, particularly if you leave on a bad note. There’s always the temptation to badmouth the former workplace and boss. However, while venting your rage may feel good, it’s not right to vent just anywhere nor is it smart to vent to just about anyone.

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are supposed to be open forums where you can freely speak your mind. But there have been plenty of instances where people have been let go from their jobs for venting on these websites. For example, in 2009, Dawnmarie Souza, a union worker for the American Medical Response of Connecticut, was fired for insulting her boss in a series of Facebook updates.

OfficeMoving on

People quit their jobs for a variety of reasons, but some aren’t lucky enough to quit on their terms. Cutbacks and downsizing are just some of the reasons why you might be terminated before you get to shine. This leads to bitterness and anger. That’s how Shilpa Reddy felt in 2008 when she was let go by a leading automobile maker due to the economic downturn. "I felt so bad," she says. "I loved my job and being asked to leave for no fault of my own was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. I felt incompetent and unwanted."

It’s how we deal with this anger that ultimately helps us move on. According to HR consultant Shiv Nanda, "Getting fired is a bad experience for everyone. However, remaining angry will only be a hindrance because you may carry that anger into your next interview. Stay calm and focused and most importantly, never blame yourself."

However, if you’ve chosen to quit your previous job yourself, he adds, it should be easier. "You should focus on what’s ahead rather than what you’ve left behind," Nanda says.

Prem Mukherjee was compelled to quit his job on his own terms: "I was working for a top advertising agency, but I didn’t fit in with my co-workers. I always felt like a fish out of water and left before things got ugly. But I left with no regrets and I didn’t have trouble finding a job soon after," he says.

Straight talk

It’s great to quit on your own terms, but even so, you may quit because of anger with the company and the need to vent becomes strong. But you must resist, says HR consultant Rashida Kagalwala. "If you absolutely feel the need to vent, do so in the least vitriolic manner," she says. "Confide in a friend or in a loved one. Speak to a counsellor if you must. Being negative only worsens things."

Venting to a friend face to face is fine, Kagalwala adds, but never, never vent on the Internet. "Whatever you post on the Net is out there for everybody to see, including your ex-employers," she explains. "You may face legal action such as libel, especially if your previous workplace has a low tolerance policy."

Still, if you were caught badmouthing your former employers, or even your current ones, fear not. It’s not the end of the world! Finding another job may be difficult but not impossible.

"True, venting against your previous employers certainly doesn’t look good in your next job interview. However, there is no reason why you may never work again, as some people feel," says headhunter Mohit Verma.

Sometimes, quitting is not the solution. Says Rustom Banaji, a senior manager at a BPO, "If an employee is unhappy, he or she should approach his or her immediate boss first and foremost. Even if the boss is part of the problem, it is imperative to have open communication. Only when you confront the problem head on will there be a solution."

And what if you find out that a former employee has been badmouthing you? According to HR consultant Amit Vaidya, "Sometimes it is not worth the effort pursuing a former employee, unless that person persists with insults and slander. Otherwise a simple phone call or an email will suffice."

Do-s and Don’ts
So you’ve been let go or you’ve left on bad terms. You’re angry and that’s perfectly understandable. HR consultant Kiran Sharma advises us to keep the following things in mind before going out on an all-out rampage against ex-employers.

1. Do make your dissatisfaction clear at the time of leaving. Most workplaces have something called an exit interview. This is an interview conducted by an employer with a departing employee and its primary aim is to learn the reasons for the person’s departure. An exit interview is a great way of releasing a part of your frustration.

2. Don’t hold grudges. This will only hinder you from making progress at your current or next workplace.

3. Keep your opinions as private as possible. Also, limit your opinions to people who understand what you’re going through or who have gone through the exact same thing. The last thing you want is someone ratting you out to your former employers.

4. Don’t spread rumours. They are very harmful and you never know how they may catch up with you.

5. Don’t befriend your seniors/supervisors on social networking sites. Your co-workers are not necessarily your friends. If you already have made connections with them online, watch your status updates, messages and tweets, and resist the temptation to vent online about work.

- From HT Brunch, April 3

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