Frankly Speaking – 3/10/14

I’ve already given my two weeks’ notice to my employer, who is now acting unprofessionally and is actively seeking retribution against me. I have done nothing wrong; it only took my resignation letter for him to throw me under the bus to my peers. I fear that I won’t be able to use him to verify my employment because he’s acting so vindictively. Is it worth sacrificing my mental health to stay until the end of my two weeks when he’s refused to give me a reference or letter of recommendation out of spite?

Unfortunately, not everyone likes to play by the rules, but that does not excuse your boss’ behavior; it is wrong for him to be acting unprofessionally. I can imagine the discomfort of having to show up to work each day in the face of this and I’m sure you’re counting down the days until your two weeks is up.

Reality is you are probably right that this employer will not be available for a reference in the future. Regarding your ability to verify your employment, most times your future employer will only be concerned with 1) Did you work at the place you said you worked for the amount of time you said you worked there, 2) Did you engage in the activities/duties which you reported, and 3) Did you earn the salary you reported.

If you do not list your employer as a reference (which of course you won’t at this point), it is unlikely your current boss will have any opportunity to comment on anything but these facts.

It may not even be your boss specifically that is the one who will share this information.

Regarding whether or not to leave your current position prior to the two weeks, my recommendation is to not. The exception to this would be if any of your boss’ actions crossed the line into harassment, at which time a report should be filed against him and your time there should end immediately.

My reasoning for saying not to leave early is simple: to this point, you have done nothing wrong.  Leaving prior to the required two weeks’ notice, however, could be considered as not fulfilling your job duties. This could potentially be very difficult to overcome in future job applications, interviews, and employment verification processes.

Despite the severity of the situation as you describe it, future employers might not know the extent to which your boss is making your day to day life uncomfortable (again, unless a formal complaint is filed). However unfairly, it may reflect poorly upon you. By sticking it out, knowing there is a finite end point, you can move forward with your future work endeavors knowing that you won’t have anything to hide or explain.

In the mean time, actively seek support of others at your job if you can, and especially from those outside of it. Don’t let the unfortunate and unfair actions of one person put you at a disadvantage for your future!


I have a male friend who was beaten daily as a child. He has emotional scars and he cycles between depression and outward rebellion. He is a good person but I am afraid he cannot love anyone, even himself. How might I help this man?

I think your understanding of your friend is very accurate. When we have emotional pain that we have not yet worked through, we deal with it in different ways. Some sink into depression while some rebel in various ways or self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Some, like your friend, may exhibit both.

I’m going to modify one of your statements slightly: you said that your friend “cannot love anyone, even himself.” Reality is, he likely “cannot love anyone, ESPECIALLY himself.”

When children experience abuse, whether it is one time or ongoing, it is common for feelings of worthlessness and blame to be internalized. Without a proper outlet or resolution, these thoughts and feelings swirl until that is the only identity they know.

Unfortunately the adage is true: you cannot love others until you love yourself, and you are absolutely correct that right now he is struggling to do so.

One of the most common things for people who care (like yourself) to do is to try to overcome this by showering the person with praise and compliments, consistently and constantly reminding him of how valuable you think he is.

The problem is we only accept that which we already believe about ourselves; he is not going to accept your positive statements as reality because they are not HIS reality.

The abuse he experienced needs to be explored with a trained professional, preferably one who specializes in early childhood trauma. It is a lengthy process, and things might even get harder for him before they get easier.

Encourage him to seek this help. As his friend, this is not something you can do yourself, even if you were a therapist. It will take the work of someone who is unbiased, not someone who has a previous relationship with him. He needs to start new right now.

In the mean time, continue to be his friend and only that. He is likely struggling with feeling responsible for the terrible things that happened to him, even though we know he is not. Don’t make a similar mistake by feeling responsible for having to “fix him.” Be a friend, point him in the direction of the help he needs, and support him on this journey.

“Frankly Speaking” is a weekly segment on this blog that provides an opportunity for my readers to ask questions aimed at better understanding themselves, others, or their relationship with others. Each week I will select some of those questions to answer here. As you can see, the askers of those questions remain anonymous.

To submit a potential question for future installments, the only thing that I ask is that you first become a fan of my Facebook page. “Like” my page, and then send me a private message with your question(s). Until next week!





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