If you’ve had to leave employment due to bullying, it can be hard to explain to your next employer what happened, as well as to friends and family.
Honestly is always the best way of explaining why you left your job, and you don’t need to give all the details.
Here are examples of how to explain leaving a job due to bullying to a new employer and your peers:
How to Explain Leaving a Job Due to Bullying
How to Explain It in An Interview for A New Job
When applying for jobs or being interviewed, one of the most common questions you’ll be asked is, “why did you leave your last job?”
If you left due to bullying you’re probably not going to want to tell a new employer for two reasons:
- You’re concerned about what the interviewers will think of you
- You don’t want to recall all the painful details
What I can tell you, about the first point, is that:
- If an employer holds it against you that you left your last job due to bullying it’s a sign that they are either ignorant about the topic, or that they tolerate or know there is a culture of bullying in their workplace.
- If they’re sensitive to the issue and understanding, it will not make any difference to them that you left your job due to bullying over any other reason.
This is the main thing to keep in mind, as long as you explain your position it’s a win-win.
You’ll either dodge a bullet working at a company that doesn’t understand workplace bullying, or you’ll join one where there is zero tolerance.
Related – Here are 10 reasons why bad managers don’t get fired!
Honesty Is the Best Policy
When it comes to explaining what happened to your new prospective employers, honesty is always the best policy.
This doesn’t mean you have to give all the details or get into any parts that are hard for you.
You can simply say something like, “Unfortunately, I was being harassed/bullied by someone who took a dislike to me being so ambitious.”
This ends the sentence on a positive note that might take their attention, and if they want to know more, they’ll ask.
What you should never do is say how angry you are, show that you’re not over what happened, or say anything unprofessional.
How to Explain It to Your Partner
Being bullied at work may have been something you were hiding from your partner, but you’re going to need to explain why you’ve left.
Again, being honest here is always going to be the best thing to do, as is giving the details if you’re comfortable doing so.
You have to remember that your partner is the one person in the world who you can trust and who has your best interests at heart, and they’ll want to help you as much as possible.
If you don’t feel like talking about it right away, that’s understandable, but you should at least let them know what’s going on and that you’re not ready to talk about it yet.
But when you are ready, talking about it to your partner might be the best thing you do to help free yourself from the stress of the situation.
How to Explain It to Your Friends and Family
Explaining what’s happened to friends and family is similar to telling your partner, with the difference being that you don’t have to tell them.
If you don’t want to tell certain friends or family members you left your job due to bullying, you shouldn’t.
But, if you feel like it would help to talk about it, again, honesty is the best policy.
Your friends and family will want to help and support you through this, so don’t be afraid to lean on them.
Related – What to do if your partner’s job is causing them to be depressed.
Why Leaving a Job Due to Bullying Is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of
When someone leaves a role due to workplace bullying they often feel shame and blame themselves for what happened.
But you need to remind yourself that you have nothing to be ashamed of.
Bullying can happen to anyone, no matter how strong or talented they are, and it’s not your fault.
I’ve been witness to corporate bullying a few times over the years, and it was always obvious to me from the outside that the bully had the issues.
It was usually due to them feeling inadequate in their role and looking to blame someone else.
Another thing to keep in mind is that leaving a job due to bullying is a sign of strength, not weakness, so be proud of yourself for standing up for yourself and taking action.
What you’ve done might even be the act that raises awareness and causes your ex-company to take action against the person who was bullying you!
So, there you have it. My advice is to be honest and upfront with new employers, but be selective with the details.
You want to turn a negative experience into a positive one that has led you to seek out a new job where you’ll be happier.
When telling your partner, be as honest as possible – it’ll help in the long run.
When telling others in your social circle, just tell them what you feel comfortable about sharing.
But don’t ever feel ashamed of leaving your job due to bullying or for being a victim.
It’s the bullies who have the issue, and unfortunately, the workplace often provides a platform for them to use their power to harass and push around others.
Image credits – Photo by Van Tay Media on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.