Dear Nurse Beth,
I have left my current job after 7 years of employment at a Hospital that was my very 1st job as an RN. I worked in a few areas (med surg, OR and then a surgical clinic) during my time. A new nurse manager was hired to replace my current one , whom I had a good relationship with, and I felt like she was targeting me for unknown reasons. she tried writing me up for something I didn't do and always seemed to approach me negatively when I have never had any issues with my other manager until she came along.
She even accused me of calling in 6 times in a month after only being on the job for a month as a new manager! (It was vacation time granted by my other manager). She also favored my other co workers, who seemed to always sabotage my work in front of her, painting me in a bad light. I have excellent work ethics and have never been written up.
Needless to say, as much as I tried, this new manager and I just didn't see eye to eye even though I always remained professional and communicated with her. I felt as though my job was becoming a toxic work environment so I decided to leave my state job and resign. This hospital has been my only employer as an RN. I was a new grad when I first started there in 2014. I recently applied for another job and they turned me down for an "unfavorable" reference. I didn't list the new manager; I called and asked my first manager of the clinic who hired me if I could list her and she agreed. How will I ever find another RN Job if I have no clinical manager to list? I feel duped by the manager; she knew that I didn't get along well with the newly hired manager, but her & I never had any working issues and she gave me good marks when I was under her management. What should I do now? I have personal references , including Physician assistants I can list that I worked for , but most people want you to list a clinical nurse manager. Help!
Dear Sabotaged at Work,
I really wish you had looked for another job while you were still working, for 2 reasons. It's easier to land a job when you're employed, as opposed to unemployed, and it's acceptable to say "No" to "May we contact your current employer?" if you are still working. Employers understand that you may not want your current employer to know you are looking for a new job.
Saying "No" to "May we contact your previous employer?" is a red flag. But saying "Yes" isn't ideal, either, since even your first manager gave you an unfavorable reference. Is there anyone at your previous job who you can trust to give you a good reference? The PAs you worked with are better than nothing- it may not help, but it can't hurt.
Your situation is puzzling. It would be helpful to know what's really going on. Can you contact your first manager who gave you good marks (but later gave you an unfavorable reference) to find out the full story? Explain your situation and ask for her help. You have nothing to lose.
You might even consider contacting your most recent manager and having a discussion. After all, her reference is costing you jobs, and according to you, there's no basis for it.
Another thing that's curious is that many (most) employers refrain from giving a negative reference because of liability and limit themselves to providing your dates of employment and title only. Is it possible HR does not know the managers are giving unwarranted negative references? You say you have never been written up, and have an excellent work ethic. If you have no write-ups and good performance evaluations, then this is an HR issue, and you could try to talk with HR.
Moving forward, you must find a job as soon as possible because you do not want a lengthy employment gap. When you land an interview, do not say anything negative about your previous employer.
Best wishes and best of luck,