We will always try to leave a job on good terms but sometimes, that’s just not possible. Perhaps you couldn’t get along with your boss or you couldn’t tolerate working in a toxic environment anymore and needed to get out. You may find it awkward to ask your manager for a reference letter under such circumstances and end up leaving the company without one. However, you don’t have to short-change yourself.
See if this scenario resonates with you: When Selina* quit her job because of her manager, she was curious to find out what sort of reference letter she would receive. But on her last day, she received nothing and was told that if she wanted a reference letter from her manager, she would have to ask him for one. “That terrified me,” recalls the 33-year-old communications executive. “My manager was in a perpetual bad mood and he didn’t like me very much—I had no idea how to even ask him for a reference letter without him blowing up at me or making some sarcastic remark, let alone ask for a positive one.”
Selina ended up leaving the company without a letter and says that she now regrets not asking somebody—anybody—for one. “I should’ve just approached another colleague or manager because I got along with everybody else,” she shares. “My manager was the only one I despised. It probably wouldn’t have made a difference whom I got the letter from, but it’s too late now because I left the company three years ago and everyone I know there has resigned too. I did some really good work during my four years there, but unfortunately there’s no one who can officially vouch for my character and my contributions to the company anymore.”
More from CLEO:
Can You Quit Right After Getting Your Bonus? Will The Company Ask For The Money Back?
Working Class: Things I Wish I Did Before I Left My High-Paying Job
Work With A Narcissist? Here’s How To Deal With This Type Of Toxic Colleague
Four ways to get a good reference letter
Getting a positive work reference letter shouldn’t be so hard. As long as you did a decent job during your time at a company—that is, you more-or-less did what you were paid to do and did not get into any serious trouble—then you deserve a letter that describes your role and your lists your achievements.
And yes, even if you’re leaving your company on bad terms or just hate your boss, you can still leave with a good reference letter.
Text: Sasha Gonzales / Her World / April 2017
Images: Unsplash, Giphy
*Name has been changed