Should I Admit About Former Problems Or Move On?

Question:

I had a job where I was working and everything was fine. There was a female at the location, where there was mutual flirtations between myself and her. One day she came to my office after hours and some very minor things transpired. However, the next day she started a rather graphic email exchange that divulged a lot of personal information. This was for all intents and purposes inappropriate and my fault, but equally hers. Long story short, I was brought in and interviewed. The company did their investigation. I got a phone call on December 31 and told I was a liability to the company and was being let go. I asked what would happen to my position, and I was told that there would be some restructuring and someone would get shifted in to fill the gap. I then applied for new jobs. One company called and asked what happened and I said that I lost my job on December 31st and that there was restructuring involved. I did not at all say I was terminated, as I was not directly asked. I just stated that I was let go and the date I was let go.

The interviewer made the jump that it was economically based, which would certainly fit in our industry. I just didnt divulge the reason I was let go.

They went through a quick, but involved hiring process, and offered me the job, and then relocated myself and my family. Now I am in that job. Do I need to tell my new employer what happened, or am I best to keep my mouth shut? Can they find out what happened, or am I OK for now? I have learned a very valuable, and costly lesson. A mistake that will never happen again. Should I go about it like it didnt happen, and just mind my P’s and Q’s, and move on? Or should I be fearful that they could find out?

One other thing to note, is that there was extensive reference checking. My references were positive and one key reference even backed up the restructuring comment I made.

My main thing is that I want to be sure I’m OK, moving forward, working for a new company in a new job, and a new city. I never put anything down in which I lied, on paper or in application. I never mentioned it, nor will I. Unless I should. But I dont want to condemn myself. Should I lay low or come clean?

Signed,

Worried


Answer:

Dear Worried:

I’m glad you were able to find a new job. I can’t help but wonder how anyone found out about the emails and what happened to the other person. However, that is past and it’s good you have learned from it and are in a new job. I wish you the best and I’m confident you’ll make them glad they hired you! It sounds as though you told the truth on your application, from the perspective of what your business had told you. No, you didn’t go into all the details, but you gave an explanation that was provided to you and that was later supported.

Your references were checked and you were even vouched for by someone at the old company. If your new job had wanted to know more they would have dug deeper, but they didn’t. Frankly, dismissals such as yours are sometimes noticed but not given much credence, according to the circumstances. Probably your former employers regretted having to take the action they did, but legally they felt they must.

You fulfilled your obligation to give references so your work history including your dimissal could be verified, and the person hiring you fulfilled theirs by checking, so now it’s done.

Do an excellent job where you are, never, ever mention that old history, and let it fade away. If you mention it, it might start discussion and you might be watched more closely. You don’t need that! Just figure you are like many other people who were moved out of a job for one reason or another, but had enough to offer another company that you were gladly hired.

If, for some obscure reason, the matter is ever brought up—and it shouldn’t be if you never, refer to it or even hint about a problem at the old place–just say your background was checked, you told the truth, the truth was verified, and you were led to believe that was sufficient at the time. I don’t think there is a chance that will happen. Most of us don’t have National Enquirer checking on us! Move forward now, with a rueful smile but with confidence as well. You have the opportunity many people don’t have—to start over so you can reinvent the things about your work or style that you weren’t happy with before and refinforce the things that helped you be successful. I hope you’ll make the effort to do that. So often people move to another job and bring along their irritating habits, poor time management or communication problems, so they don’t really move ahead as they had hoped.

Don’t carry this load around with you mentally. Leave it back at the old place and enjoy the new work as well as the new location with your family. Really make this a great experience for everyone and you will find, as so many of us do, that out of a bad situation can come good things.

Best wishes!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.