Dumb ExCoworker Trick #649…

“The CoWorker Who Has to Ask Your Former Boss If She Can Use His Name As A Reference.”

I am positively slayed — as an infamous cartoon asthma chihuahua¬† said to an infamous pudgy cartoon cat back in the early Nineties, “The vastness of your stupidity never ceases to amaze me.”

I had a job interview this morning. They requested 3 references, yes — this before they even met me.

I gave them 5 for good measure.

At the end of the interview, they asked for a couple more — and wanted names from the company I worked for 4 years ago.

Here is the content of the call, after I said who I was.

Me: I was wondering if it would be okay to use you as a reference.
Him: Did you clear this with Miss X? [the company owner]
Me: (taken aback and wondering what his game was): I don’t believe that’s necessary to do.
Him: I don’t do things like these. I will have to ask her if this is okay and I will call you back tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the company is waiting on the names….and this guy is acting like he’s in 4th grade and has to get permission from mom so that he can go on the science class camping trip. Man.

And wow, you can’t call me and let me know if you asked her or if the asking is pending… yeah, go leave somebody hanging in the lurch.

I bounced this situation off several other people; somebody told me that there is indeed a rule with many companies that no references from the company are given to fomer or current employees. It’s another nanny-everybody legal thing; they won’t even speak to a prospective employer who calls, asking for the verification of Employee X’s employment status.

I was sick to my stomach calling this company — and now I’m sicker to my stomach than that right now. I am slayed indeed and I still cannot believe what no class and uncouthness exists in this company, along with the vastness of stupidity. Not to mention the dire and complete amount of domination and control that this owner still has on her employees.

7 thoughts on “Dumb ExCoworker Trick #649…”

  1. My experience in recent years has been that the practice of prospective employers asking for business references from your former coworkers and customers is becoming even more common and important PRECISELY because it it the prospective employer’s way of getting around the widespread blanket policies of employers who refuse to give any meaningful or useful info about a former employee. All because of legal fears of being sued by said former employees.

    Which, when you think about it, is really a big, sick joke. Because, just like age discrimination, wrongful discharge from a job or defamation by a former employer to one’s prospective employer may sound (in theory) like something scary and serious to employers, or at least the naive general public, since the laws are on the books… but in real life practice we who have been out there know all too well that the employers hold all the cards, all the power and if anything THEY, not the employees, are the ones with the time, money, and lawyers to win any lawsuits over employment practices.

    So, to answer your query, why does this former employer continue to bully and pull such power trips on her workers? Because she knows she can and enjoys the power, not because she has legal reasons to do it to protect her company.

  2. This was a very very odd office culture. I’d call them teams: Team A was the owner, her husband and the office manager and Team B was the 2 salesguys and the owner.

    That left me and this young fella that was sort of an office clerk. He and I were left out of the loop on many things. I had to ask if a certain client was sold to a competitor; turns out they were. Jeepers, who keeps something like this a secret, or at best, does not mention this to the whole company?

    What do I do now?

    What do I tell the interviewer, without looking like I’m lying and don’t want to give names of references from work?

    This is a hell of a spot for me to be in.

    If there was a way I could remove that company from my resume, I would. I was there too long so it’s an impossibility.

  3. It’s 10 am and the guy never called me back.

    I am not so sure I want to pursue calling him again — but what do I tell the interviewer? that the company I worked for won’t do references because of legal reasons? What do I say? These people are waiting on references.

    Pretty sick and vulgar in itself that you cannot seem to call me back, even with a “no sorry, I can’t do this.” I have no words, really. And you “have” to ask her? Like I said, the ball holding that still goes on there is quite mind blowing.

  4. I’d say you have no choice but to tell the prospective employer about the former employer’s policy on references and that it is the reason you can’t get a reference from the former co-worker. The prospective employer should understand this and be willing to accept the other references you have/are able to provide.

    Another option would be to provide references from customers you had at that business, assuming you have contact info from them and can get their permission in advance of passing them on to the prospective employer. The fact is this whole reference provision game comes down to prospective employers trying to get around the whole lawsuit-averse policies used by both themselves and the employers they seek references from by using co-workers and former supervisory employees who are not bound by the reference provision policies like some HR person or manager would be if they answer the company phone line and are asked for a reference like everyone used to in the old days.

    In other words, it shows a lot of hypocrisy in that they are asking job-seekers to ignore/circumvent the rules employers are wanting to play by and show they are willing to violate an old employer’s policy in order to meet the request of a prospective new one. Reminds me of how prospective employers want a new hire to start ASAP instead of giving the usual 2 week notice, to which I have always responded by asking them “How would you feel if one of your employees quit you with either no notice or only a few days notice?” That seems to get their attention and they always have agreed then to give me two weeks to start, even if only to make me start off the job thinking that they appeared to be honorable and ethical as employers go. Which of course they almost always ended up disproving over time…

  5. I had an interview where they wanted not only a reference from my last boss, but the names of my last 5 bosses. Here’s the problem, my last boss would give an excellent reference if I could find him. He got fired abruptly and I’m not sure where he is. He also had a terrible drinking problem and I can’t be sure he’s sober now and who knows how bad he is since he was in rehab twice since I worked there? I do have references from my former employer, coworkers I stay in touch with but this place would not accept it. So I contacted a department head I have done work for, as I’m sure she would vouch for me but nope not good enough. And the last 5 bosses? I don’t even remember some of their names and we are talking 10-13 years going back.

  6. I got the letter; he sent it here yesterday.

    It still slays me that he “had” to ask. The amount of control there is just mindblowing.

  7. Dude, consider the possibility that he doesn’t want to go through what you’ve experienced. Perhaps old boss has gotten even more vengeful and petty, but he sees no way out and has no prospect of another job. Odds are that the interviewer will mention to your old boss that you have another reference from someone in the company, or will inquire what his relationship to you was.

    I had this happen to me about two years after I left a job courtesy of one of my co-workers. We had both left the place, and the interviewer told me that he couldn’t reach Mr. X (our former first-line supervisor), and wanted to know what my working relationship with this guy was. I told him, and my former coworker got the job.

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