Not every boss is going to win a gold star for best boss ever. What do you write in your exit interview when you're finally leaving a job where you hate your boss? You definitely don't want to burn bridges. Your boss has contacts within your industry, and you never know whom he will talk to or where he might run into someone in your network. Bad-mouthing a boss makes you a bad employee and is inadvisable for a good reference. If you wouldn't say it to your boss's face, don't put it in the exit interview.
Keep it Classy
Even if your boss was equal to the Wicked Witch of the West, or quietly dubbed Napoleon behind his back, you want to write an exit interview that makes you look above it all. There's no need to forget about the issues you had working for a hated boss, but keep it professional in the exit interview. Write about what you enjoyed -- working with other people, job skills you learned, or other helpful departments. You'll likely be branded a complainer or a troublemaker if you vent all your troubles.
If you write a scathing exit interview about your boss, she will eventually hear about it. Even worse, if you work in a specific industry, your potential bosses or coworkers may hear about the low opinion you had of your previous boss. This reflects badly on you, and you may earn an unwanted reputation at your new job. There's no need to praise a poor boss, but pointing out all his faults doesn't change anything. Stick to neutral, fact-based comments. You may not be the first one to complain about this boss.
Just the Facts
Write out your exit interview with just the facts about your job and why you're leaving the company. There's no need to lie and say your boss was amazing, or that it was the worst job ever. As most of us have heard before, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." If your job situation was so awful you have nothing but negative feelings, and don't feel you can keep it professional, get creative and lie. Write about your job duties in a professional way.
Remember that a good reference can make the difference between getting hired or never getting a call back. You may be surprised that the boss you hated gives a glowing review to your next company. If you try to get revenge for the difficult work environment he created, you ensure that reference is unusable during your future job hunts. Explaining why an employer won't make a good reference is often more difficult and can cost you a job during the interview process.
Rebecca Gilbert began writing and transcribing in 2003. In 2007, she started a resume-writing company. She earned an associate degree in sociology from Pima College and a bachelor's degree in communications at University of Wisconsin. Gilbert also does tech support for a major technology company and volunteers locally teaching job-seeking skills.