The Blame Caster—when explaining is code for avoiding looking at the part you played in what happened


I quit a job today.

Here’s what happened and what I need to know.

I started this job four months ago. The employer’s proprietary software program is confusing.

I asked one of my co-workers for a small amount of assistance with it. Since I was new, I needed the help.

My coworker promised he’d help me before the end of the work day, but then left the office without doing so. As a result, I couldn’t finish the project.

When my boss dinged me, I explained what happened.

He didn’t listen. He told me it was my problem, and not my coworker’s. He said I should have the project earlier and thus have had “just in case” time built in.

I explained the long-term employees here don’t to have enough of an incentive to help those of us who are new. My boss said that the answers I sought were on our Intranet. I explained that reading software instructions only takes me so far, that I learn better when assisted by a real person who can answer my questions as they come to me.

My boss said, “then maybe this isn’t the job for you.”

This isn’t the first time this boss has shown a lack of understanding. I decided to quit and find a different job rather than investing more time in this job.

I’d like to leave this four-month job off my resume. If I don’t, I’ll have to explain why I quit.

My former boss reads your blog (that’s how I learned about it). Could you comment on employers that don’t provide training to new employees but expect them to beg help from co-workers.


Leave the job on your resume. If you don’t and a hiring interviewer learns you left it off, perhaps by asking you what you did during that time gap, you appear dishonest.

You can say you resigned because the job and employer weren’t what you hoped to find when you took the position. Then, outline what you seek in an employer and job. If your interviewer likes what you say, he’ll move on to the next question.

Whatever you do, stop explaining why what happened is because of someone else. No employer wants to hire a blame-casting, finger-pointing employee.

When explaining is code for justifying, you waste time and mental energy—both yours and others.

Further, when you lay responsibility on other’s feet, you admit you have little power. Wouldn’t you rather have more power? You gain power every time you admit what you needed to do differently.

Here’s what you might consider. Yes, your co-worker could have helped you. Is there truth to what your boss said—that you could have asked him earlier?   

Yes, employers needed to provide new employees training on proprietary software. Many employers now do this via their Intranet. Yes, seasoned employees need to help new employees. New employees, however, not to not abuse that, by learning as much as they can from the Intranet before they ask for help.

Yes, the best training often comes from on-the-job assistance from co-workers—which you characterize as begging.

You say your boss showed a lack of understanding. Here’s what I wonder—was he simply tired of how often you shift responsibility to others?

Although I wrote Managing for Accountability for managers, it’s a good read for those who don’t manage as well. For me, accountability means freedom. When I admit:

  • What I’m responsible for
  • The part I play in problem situations
  • What I need to learn
  • What I can do better

It’s a game changer.

(c) 2023 Lynne Curry

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