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Should I Be Honest That My Frequent Job Changes Are Due to Domestic Abuse?

by Susan
(Omaha, NE)

I have been out of work for two years and desperately searching for employment. I have applied to dozens upon dozens of companies, only to be rejected. I am educated and have some solid experience, but I have had to move around the country quite a few times to get away from an abusive ex who continually tries to track me down.

I have never given this explanation to a prospective employer because it's embarrassing and I don't want to scare them off. Domestic violence still has a lot of stigma associated with it. I have not come up with an alternate explanation for my frequent moving and job-hopping so I'm wondering if this is hurting my chances of being hired.

Do you think I should be honest with them or maybe just come up with a creative excuse and basically lie about it?

Thank you :)

ANSWER: Hi Susan... My heart goes out to you. It must be awful to have to live this way and then to be punished for it as well, through no fault of your own. I'm not sure there's one right answer here, except... I don't advise fabricating an outright lie.

I do recognize that there can be a stigma attached to victims of domestic abuse. But on the other hand, you might find empathy as well, especially if the recruiter is a female who has had similar experiences.

I am a great believer in honesty, so I'd encourage you to be upfront about your reasons for moving and switching jobs. After all... what you've been doing in hiding it isn't working for you, is it? So what do you really have to lose?

You could also contact a center for battered women in the area you're living in. They might offer counseling or even job leads that could help you. By counseling, I mean advising about how to handle this thorny issue when looking for a job. I'm not commenting on your mental state.

I wish you the best of luck, and please let us know what happens, OK?

To your success,

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