Now that I’m quitting, can I tell my boss off?

TO: Marilyn Moats Kennedy

For a long time now, I’ve put up with an abusive boss. She ridicules me when we’re alone and in front of customers. Happily, I’ve just accepted a very good job offer. Should I tell her what a bully she is? Coworkers have urged me to tell the CEO so that her next subordinate won’t be mistreated. Outta Here


Telling off a bad boss is a universal fantasy and a very high risk. Are you willing to risk her retaliation? To protect her image, your boss will almost certainly trash you through her network; she may even call your new boss to share her feelings about her former employee.

Sounding off to human resources during an exit interview isn’t smart either. No matter how discreet the person claims she will be, your boss will certainly hear about the discussion. (Why would they have an exit interview if not to use the information?)

There are ways to let your boss know you didn’t appreciate her management style. In your final conversation, pick two or three specific incidents and talk to her about them. Say, “We could have worked together much better if…” or “I would have appreciated your giving me more helpful feedback, such Don’t accuse and don’t use the word abuse. If she argues, just respond, ‘That was my perception.” The calmer you are, the more likely she will hear you.

If you don’t want to confront her, write a note. Thank her for what you learned and then add how disappointed you were with the strained working relationship and her lack of respect for you.

Don’t play up to your coworkers’ desire to see justice done. In the end, prudence will help you more than a shouting match that would echo on the grapevine for weeks.


You have checked out your new boss through former employees haven’t you?

Marilyn Moats Kennedy, who heads a Chica-go-based consulting firm, will answer selected letters in this column. Send your questions to Job Strategies, 350 Madison Ave., New York NY 10017.

Job Turning temp work into a permanent position

alk into virtually any office in America and you’ll find a temp. About 38 Garrett, percent of temps get an offer while onls Paiassignment. How do you go from temping to working full-time? Here are some pointers:

• Be up-front. You should inform your agency when you sign on that you are interested in going full-time. Many agencies have agreements that restrict a client from hiring you until you’ve been temping there for 90 days, according to Rosemary Maniscalco, author of Workstyles to Fit Your Lifestyle: Everyone’s Guide to Temporary Employment (Prentice Hall). To hire you before that time is up, the client may have to pay the temp firm a conversion charge; you should never have to pay a fee yourself.

• While you’re working at a temp job, familiarize yourself with the company’s annual report and press releases, suggests Diane Thrailkill, author of Temp by Choice: The Complete Guide to Successful Temporary Employment (The Career Press). Explains Thrailkill: “You can see what the company’s mission is, and later you can ask questions that show how knowledgeable you are about the business.”

• Look the part. Harriet Garrett, who was hired permanently by CBS News’s finance division after temping there, credits her personal presentation. “I dressed as though I already had the job,” says Garrett. “Even on dress-down Fridays, I wore well-tailored slacks instead of jeans.”

• “Do more than you are asked,” says Jim Essey, president of the New York City agency TemPositions. Helen Douglas, who landed a job at the Minneapolis sales promotion agency McCracken Brooks through temping there, set up a computer database to streamline the reception process and a spreadsheet to organize Federal Express deliveries. “I did additional projects to show that I was competent at more than just answering phones,” she explains.

• “Make the coffee, conceptually speaking,” says Bruce Steinberg, spokesperson of the National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services.

“When you use the copy machine, fill it back up with paper. Be as helpful as possible volunteer for additional duties if they don’t interfere with your main assignment.”

• Arrive five to ten minutes early and stay a little late. “It makes a statement,” says Sharon Bredeson, president of the Minneapolis-based Staff-Plus. “The go-getters in a company are always there early. They’ll see you at your desk.”

style-110If you haven’t been offered a job by the end of the assignment, tell your supervisor you liked working there. A week later, drop a thank-you note in the mail. Try to include a newspaper or magazine article on a topic related to the company’s business it shows that you’re interested and keeping up on the industry. Also send your resume to the hiring authority at the company along with a note that says you were a temp and would like the opportunity to interview for any openings in the future. Mention your supervisor and anyone else who may recall your good work. Laura Begley.

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