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My boss says he’ll give me a bad reference to make me stay

I’ve been with the same company for 13 years and I’m looking for new job opportunities.
My current boss has told me he won’t give me a positive reference because he doesn’t want me to leave the company. How do I handle this with prospective employers? I have never been written up and all of my performance evaluations are exemplary.

My first instinct was, that’s funny and endearing — that your boss loves you so much that he playfully says he won’t let you leave. But then images of psycho boss entered my head.

If you’ve had the conversation with him about the prospect of seeking a new challenge and you are certain that he is serious, then I’m curious how this guy manages his personal relationships too. No worries, though. Most job seekers accept new jobs without their boss knowing they were looking so they never have to give them as a reference anyway.

When you get a job offer that you want to accept, use prior bosses, colleagues and other leaders that you trust — and then tell HR what your current boss said.

Boss rewarding employee as colleagues look on.
Favoritism could be a boss relying on an employee who is a top performer or a blind devotion to an inept employee.

My boss clearly plays favorites and gives better assignments to my colleague. He also just treats her generally better. What can I do?

Favoritism is in the eye of the beholder. While most people think it’s unfair based on subjectivity, what appears as favoritism could be a boss relying on an employee who is a top performer over and above other employees. It could also be a boss having a better chemistry with one particular employee, which can be perceived as liking someone better.

Or it could be a blind devotion to an inept employee based on his or her work style, or a personal relationship. All you can control is how you perform, how you show up, and how you work to try to develop your own relationship with your boss.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. Hear Greg Weds. at 9:35 a.m. on iHeartRadio 710 WOR with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. E-mail: Follow: and on
Twitter: @GregGiangrande

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