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Sharing your knowledge of the job with a former employer

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in Your Office Coach

Question:  I keep getting calls from my former employer about how to do my old job.  For 24 years, I was the “go-to girl” who held that company together. When the business was sold several months ago, I was let go along with many others.  

Now I feel that I am being used.  If they can’t figure out how to do my work, then they never should have fired me.  However, I may need a recommendation from this employer during my job search, so I’m not sure how to handle this.  Should I continue to answer their questions?   No Longer an Employee

  At this point, you should do whatever is best for your own career. Because you were with this company for 24years, potential employers will undoubtedly be calling for a reference. So that’s a good reason to be cooperative, even if it seems blatantly unfair.

However, there’s no need to be overly accommodating. If these requests create frequent interruptions, then screen your calls and make one callback at the end of the day. To avoid protracted conversations, use email or leave a message after closing hours.

If it seems appropriate, you might offer to become a contract employee for a specified period of time. That way, you would at least be compensated for your knowledge.  

To reduce your irritation, keep in mind that the callers may have had nothing to do with your job loss. Given that your layoff followed a sale, that decision was probably made at a much higher level.

To avoid making serious career mistakes, check out Ten Critical Career Moments.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Melanie June 7, 2012 at 11:06 am

Most companies do not give out a lot of information about former employees and a reference about your employment there should not be influenced by your helping them after you were terminated. I agree that you should limit your availablity to your previous employer. Hopefully by now they have quit calling you.


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