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Ask L2: Toxic Boys' Club with a Lying Boss

"My boss lies about everything, including to HR, with HR saying, it's a case of ‘he said/she said’."

Disclaimer: Identities are kept confidential. The advice given here should be taken at your own risk. If you are having true mental or physical issues, please seek professional assistance.

I am in a two-year-old startup working in the IT department. I am looking to leave because of the toxicity - and also if I had known my employer was considered a startup, I wouldn't have joined.

For some background, my company is a "new" branch of a German company that has been in business for many years. Eight to ten men are running this company in the US, and they needed to expand. Long story short, my boss lies about everything, including to HR, with HR saying it's a case of "he said/she said”.

I am constantly thrown under the bus. What do I tell prospective employers about why I'm leaving? By the way, I turn 60 in a few months, which doesn't help things.


I am sure some new employers will ask, but honestly, it’s not really any of their business. They are not entitled to the why. They are just entitled to the confirmation that you did your job while you were there. 

That said, it’s perfectly reasonable (and true) to tell them that you’re looking for a new challenge. You want to grow, and your company doesn’t offer those opportunities. Growth doesn’t have to mean that you’re looking for a promotion. Maybe you want more fulfillment in your individual contributor role. Maybe you DO want to run a team. Whatever. You can tell the truth without giving them the gory details. You don’t owe those to anyone.



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