Advice column: how can I pick myself up again after an unpleasant parting from my last job?

Dear Ash

I was dismissed following a prolonged period of harassment and bullying from my manager. Although I successfully challenged the decision and the matter was eventually settled, I have been left unemployed and with a severe lack of confidence in my ability. I am also reluctant to trust anyone after the treatment afforded to me; some of my colleagues, whom I considered to be friends, also chose not to support me despite witnessing some of the behaviour. I am now unsure as to how to move forward from this and feel anger at the unfairness of the whole situation, as my former manager still has his position and yet I have lost my job and my self confidence.

Ash replies

Your experience is unfortunatelynot unique. A wise man once said that “The best revenge is to live on and prove yourself.” Rather than focus on the injustice of this situation, focus on yourself and getting through this difficult period.

Certain events in our lives are difficult and testing, but you must grow from this, rather than let it define you. Your colleagues were probably in a difficult position; and giving them the benefit of doubt, they may have feared losing their jobs or becoming the next target of the manager’s behaviour if they chose to speak out and support you.

It is your former manager who clearly has real issues, as he feels the need to bully people to make himself feel good. It is unfortunate he has managed to retain his job, but he has clearly not covered himself in glory and this matter should hopefully have impacted on his employment record. All he therefore deserves is pity.

Take the opportunity to recharge your batteries, go on a short break ortreat yourself to small pleasures such as meeting friends for lunch, or joining a new gym, anything that will help to make you feel good about yourself again and regain some self worth. By mixing with others socially, you should begin to trust again too. The impact of this experience will no doubt be longlasting but, with time, believe me, you will begin to feel better about yourself.

Then, when you feel able, start applying for jobs. However, do not be tempted to revel in the past, and instead aim to focus on making a fresh start in new surroundings, hopefully with more pleasant colleagues.

Send your queries to Ash

“Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and trainees, which can be put to her via the editor:, or mail to Studio 2001, Mile End, Paisley PA1 1JS.

Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Registrar’s Department. For one-to-one advice contact Katie Wood, manager in the Registrar’s Department on 0131 476 8105/8200, or

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