Now to forewarn you: this probably will not come off as my most enlightened post – but there is something I need to get off my chest, and subtlety is not my strong suit.
There’s this stigma in the working world that you’re never supposed to speak poorly of a previous employer. To tell you the truth, I think that’s a load of crap. Of course, that does not mean I would go off on anyone in a personal attack. However, I would be honest about my experience. For example, I might say “The culture evolved into one that did not work for me. It was not pleasant. I much more prefer a collaborative work environment.” I’m not capable of making up a story otherwise, it’s just not in my DNA.
Which is why I always failed miserably at those “Behavioral Based” interview questions. “Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem,” they ask. My first thought is “What the hell does that mean?!?” and my second thought is “I got nothing, unless you want to ask me a real question.” That is, perhaps, the reason I never got the job in those interviews. Again, it’s just not in me to embellish a story to try and fit some mold of what someone is looking for.
This leads me to an important question: why would anyone want to hire someone who is? Basically, they are capable of making things up to your face or spewing off some robot-like answer that tells you what you want to hear. To me, that is not exactly the type of person I would want to work with. I would much rather work for and with people who are willing to acknowledge the good, bad and indifferent, and can move forward in that honest space, rather than someone who maintains the façade that everything is perfect.
It is similar in the day-to-day working world, too. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that someone was upset that someone else showed a report that a project they were working on was performing poorly. They said that such information should never be shown to their boss. Really? Last I checked we were all working for the same team and trying to be successful. Would you rather we lie and continue to lose the company money or perhaps a customer?
There is a lack of authenticity in the business world and it has got to stop. How about we start speaking to each other as human beings and have an honest conversation, whether it’s during an interview or at the office.
Ultimately, regardless of if you had a great experience at a previous job, or a miserable one, it’s important to be authentic in your communication regarding it.
Let’s keep each other accountable as members of the business world; good, bad, or indifferent.