Has anyone ever asked you to be a reference for them? Sometimes it can be a little tedious.
I have this one friend who always needs a reference from me. She’s one of my closest friends so I always do it, and I usually don’t mind but sometimes I will get a call out of nowhere because she’s given my number out and I wasn’t prepared for it.
I’ve written before about working at Tim Hortons. As a Canadian, I think almost everyone I know has worked at one or knows someone who has worked at one. It’s just one of those places that teenagers are hired easily. Although, as someone who used to have to train every new employee, teenagers are not always the best candidates for the job.
But this is about references haha!
So this friend who always gets me to be her reference, she worked with me at Tim Hortons. We were work wives. We still are work wives even though it’s been about five years since we’ve worked together. *hi wifey!* she doesn’t read this blog, but whatever.
When one of my favourite managers was retiring, I asked her if I could use her as a reference later on when I needed one. We got along well and I knew she would give a great reference. In Canada, it’s actually illegal to agree to give a reference and then give a bad one. You have to give a positive reference. You can talk about a person’s flaws but not to a detrimental degree.
Anyway, so she said that she would have loved to be a reference but part of her agreement in leaving was that she wasn’t allowed to be a reference for anyone working at that store. She literally had to sign a paper saying she wouldn’t do it!
All the managers were told the same thing (I wasn’t, thank goodness! But I was just a supervisor so maybe I didn’t count?). No one was allowed to give any references for anyone working at the store. Instead, workers who needed a reference were to speak to the store owners (who were never around to ask) and use the owners as their reference.
From what I gathered, the reference call usually consisted of the owners saying they weren’t around the worker enough to know how they were as an employee but that they hadn’t heard any bad reports about them.
How horrible does that look to a new employer?! That the person you listed as a reference can’t even speak to how you work? It was so lame. I am so glad that I was never told not to be a reference for anyone. I was a reference for a lot of the people that worked there. Anything to help them get out of that 7th circle of hell!
I kind of understand why they did it: when your staff is leaving and you don’t have a heads up that they are looking for a new job, that can be frustrating. But to completely sabotage their chances of employment like that? That is just unacceptable.
Have you ever had any bad experiences with getting, or giving, references?