How Do I Stop the Rumor Mill?

One woman seeks advice about how to stop the rumors that are circulating.

Your Career Coach

Stopping the Rumor Mill

Dear Michele,

I am recovering from having been discriminated against by my former corporate employer for having taken maternity/family leave, and having blown the whistle on them. Because the corporation demanded all employees sign an arbitration consent, I was unable to file suit against them and receive due restitution. I am now preparing to go out and hang my own shingle.

My competitors are starting to ask me about my past corporate job. I feel like they are trying to dig up some dirt. Is it okay if I set the record straight for all who bother to inquire? I want to do what I can to prevent the circulation of false rumors against me.

— Rumors

Dear Rumors,

I have the perfect script for you: “I’m really happy with the settlement I received from XYZ Company, but as part of the terms, I really can’t discuss it in detail.”

And smile when you say it, because you don’t want to be out there talking trash about your old company and perhaps set yourself up to be sued BY THEM. Take the high road, show that you’re a person of integrity and none of the rumors will seem to be valid to folks who hear them. That’s exactly how you’ll show that you are the person they need to hire.

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