A little bit of backstory: I quit my job 2 months ago and I am serving my notice period. I had some issues with the management because I did not accept their new exploitative "leadership" and they started to personally attack me. I had a very important role for the future development of the company and quit after addressing these issues multiple times. I am not the only one who thinks like this: Three other (two very important) persons are also in the process of searching new jobs (management and boss does not know about this). To be precise, if the other two people leave, the company is history.

Anyhow, my boss did not take my termination notice very well. He got very angry and wrote an email to me the next day that he does not want to talk to me anymore. However, he demands daily reports from me and always tells me I have to prepare everything for my successor. So I'm writing a lot of documentation and teach my current colleague about my projects.

I asked my boss multiple times if he could introduce me to my successor and he always told me "When it's time". Lately he has written me that he won't introduce me my successor so I could teach him.

Now the real problem.

My successor called me privately. He's a fellow student from my time at the university. He asked me a bunch of stuff about the work-life balance, equipment, my overall experience and why I'm leaving. I told him the job is great. The perks are not to be surpassed, most of the colleagues are like family and the pay is OK. Since I know him well, I knew he would be a perfect fit as a successor and told him that I would recommend him to take the opportunity.

However, he absolutely wanted to know why I am leaving if I am talking this good about the job. So I told him I had some personal issues with the leadership of the new management but quickly explained that I don't think will be an issue for him because it was strictly personal.

Bottom Line / Question: I tried to cover up as much as possible so I can't be blamed for sh!t-talking and scaring of a potential successor. Or have I said too much? Should I tell my management/boss about his private contact with me in advance so I can't be blamed if he declines? I don't want to put him in a bad perspective or anything.

When looking at a similar question (Asked to speak to prospective employees about a company I'm dissatisfied with) I think I did nothing wrong. I focused on the good things and told him I think he is a good fit.

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    I've retitled this to better reflect what I'm guessing is your main question but I recommend you still edit this for length as there's really too much detail here. You can boil what happened down to a few sentences but you should maybe add some detail on why you think this might come back to bite you or what "blame" you are talking about here.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 13:50
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    related (not sure if a duplicate): Why is it not a good idea to “badmouth” a previous employer?
    – gnat
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 13:52
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    Don‘t be surprised to get a nasty email/call from the new hire if the company dies and they lose their job in a fee months and wasted all of their time and have to go job hunting again. Commented May 8, 2020 at 8:22
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    Like others have said, I'd be more worried about burning bridges with your friend who you respect professionally rather than a crappy company which has a decent likelihood of going under in the near future. Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 11:46

3 Answers 3


I don't think you need to be worried here.

  1. You didn't say anything that wasn't true
  2. You likely didn't violate a confidentiality agreement (hard to tell without reading your contract and look at local laws)
  3. Bridges with your current company are burned anyway and given their behavior, that doesn't feel like much of a loss
  4. They may be "history" soon if the other key players leave as you indicated.

So what exactly are you worried about? Remember, your notice period is one of few times where you are in FULL CONTROL. The company has almost no real leverage about you and you can do more or less what you want.


Since you are describing the leadership style as "exploitative", I believe you have actually said too little.

From the point of view of your successor, learning why you left is the most important goal of contacting you at all. If the leadership style of the company is exploitative, and this can be supported by factual evidence, I would feel the need to share this information with your successor. This person needs to make an informed decision before starting their job, especially if the company has a chance to close in the next few months (thanks @morbo for the point).

I don't think any of us is fully qualified to predict whether the new hire will have the same interpersonal problem with the manager that you had. Therefore, we can only describe the situation with factual claims, and leave it to the successor to decide whether it sits well with them.

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    I agree, they aren't doing their fellow alum any favors by hiding their own concerns with this employer.
    – BSMP
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 0:52
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    On top of that...the company might die within 2-4 months forcing the new hire to go searching again...knowledge being withheld by the OP...because the situation is actually that bad...Were i the new hire, once i found out about all of this i‘d certainly be giving the OP another call and thank them for wasting my time, effort and life when i didn‘t have to. Commented May 8, 2020 at 8:20
  • +1 - the fact they contacted you privately (and not as part of the interview process) strongly suggests they were after information that absolutely would not come through formal channels. Of course if they were OP's successor, and not just a candidate, it was too late to warn them off the job entirely Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 6:43
  • And the fact that OP's boss tried to keep OP away from successor, rather than facilitating handover, says they absolutely expected OP to be frank about the situation. Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 6:44

The post you linked was about an employee talking with prospective employees, as an employee, on the clock. If I understand correctly, your situation is about an acquaintance talking with you, as an acquaintance, off the clock.

Let's address your specific concerns:

[...] so I can't be blamed for sh!t-talking and scaring of a potential successor.

The thing about exploitative personalities is that they will blame people regardless of what actual events transpired.

Or have I said too much?

Maybe. If you truly think he won't have an issue with an exploitative boss in a company that you expect to go bust within months, you did well. But if he happens to have an issue with that, you might just have burned a bridge.

Should I tell my management/boss about his private contact with me in advance so I can't be blamed if he declines?

No. Your private life is your private life. In most western jurisdictions you can do pretty much what you want during your private life, as long as you don't share trade secrets or put demonstrably false claims about your employer in writing. About "blame", see above.

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