Question: I was a “whistle-blower” at my job. Shortly after that, I was made to feel so miserable, I had to leave. My former immediate supervisor said he would give me a positive reference, but when I apply for new jobs, the application has a place for “Reason for Leaving.” Any ideas of what I can put in that box?”

Hoping for a New Job
Palm City, FL

Answer: Your question is a very common one. On the one hand, you should always be honest, but on the other hand “pure honesty” can sometimes keep you unemployed. The thing to do is to find a “neutral” reason that (a) fits your circumstances, (b) doesn’t raise fears or invite questions, and (c) is instantly credible. I believe that one or more of the following “Top 25 Neutral Reasons to Explain Why You Left Your Old Job” probably will fit the facts and circumstances of your departure, EVEN IF it is not the exclusive and primary reason you left. At the same time, since “laughter is the best medicine,” we hope they give you a chuckle.

25. Position Elimination – there’s a good chance that happened when you left
24. Workforce Reduction – at many companies, this is an ongoing process
23. Business Not Doing Well – should apply to 99% of employers these days
22. Department Restructured – perhaps before, perhaps after
21. Relocation – even if to a different floor in your building, with less space
20. Hours Reduced – often applicable to hourly workers
19. Responsibilities Outsourced – even surgeons are losing work to India, etc.
18. Business Restructured – this happens nearly every day
17. Insufficient Work – a result of our difficult economic times
16. Staff Reduction – happens every time someone leaves
15. New Management Team – changeover begets changeover
14. Responsibilities Reassigned – a result of any employee leaving
13. Buyout Packages Offered – an entirely sensible reason to leave
12. Management Levels Reduced – “flattening of the organization” is common these days
11. Division Being Sold – it’s sensible to leave to prevent being laid off
10. Merger Anticipated – it’s sensible here, too, to leave before being laid off
9. Shake Up in Management – if it hasn’t happened yet, I’ll bet it should
8. New CEO Brought in Own Team – it’s probably happened to everyone
7. Staff Reduced – a cousin of the larger concept of “workforce reduction”
6. Anticipated Business Closing – no one can know for sure, and they can’t ask for details
5. Goals Fulfilled – if you were brought in to start, complete, or end a project
4. Business Unit Disbanded – even Board of Directors change their minds
3. Downsized – everyone feels that way when fired
2. Realignment of Business Units – no one has any idea what this means
1. Boss Facing Indictment – Works best on Wall Street

This should do the trick!

Best, Al Sklover

We also offer several helpful Model Letters, Memos and Checklists to help you get a New Job. To review a list of those that are available, just [click here.]

© 2008 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.