Source | Forbes : By Liz Ryan
I worked my way up from the reception desk in a digital agency. I worked there for four and a half years. When I left last June I was a Senior Account Manager.
I hated to leave on the one hand because I loved my co-workers and I loved my clients. On the other hand I had no choice but to leave because my boss was a complete jerk and a sexual harasser. He was always hitting on me and my co-workers and I got sick of it.
I moved to a larger agency and it’s a great job too. I have bigger clients and I have more responsibility.
My only problem is that my ex-boss “Lou” is saying terrible things about me to my ex-colleagues, my old clients and the entire business community.
He’s not even being subtle about it. At least four different people have told me about it. I haven’t had any contact with Lou since I stopping working for him.
I have no idea why he’s waging a campaign against me now. It seems like Lou is trying to ruin my reputation and I’m very stressed about it.
What can I do?
We get the message “You are more powerful than you think!” in ways that are not always pleasant. Lou’s campaign to slime you is the surest sign you could hope for that you rattled him by leaving.
Imagine another agency stealing you away! Who do you think you are, Fiona? Now Lou will show you that you ticked off the wrong guy!
Lou knows how he treated you. Now that you are out of Lou’s corral he may be trying to silence anything you might otherwise tell people about him — by pre-emptively saying terrible things about you behind your back.
I am not a lawyer, of course — I am an HR opera singer — but it’s hard to imagine that your best course of action is a legal one. You could talk to a lawyer to get their opinion but in my experience situations like these are best ignored.
The more you react and run around town trying to set the record straight, the more you dignify Lou’s childish scheme to hurt your reputation.
The truth is that people know you — lots of people apart from Lou. It is not that easy to ruin someone’s reputation, not without a big budget anyway. People know you, and they also know Lou. People know what kinds of values he holds.
For starters, who would respect anyone who said awful things about a former colleague? If someone said to me “That Fiona who quit my company is a horrible person” I’d say “Then why did you keep her around and also promote her several times?”
You are rising in altitude and Lou can tell. You will outstrip him career-wise if you have not done so already. Let Lou slide back into the swamp he crawled out of. Consider the source of Lou’s slurs and ignore them. They, like Lou himself, are beneath your notice now.