Meanwhile, back in college


Not Active
Recently I have been filling out a few job applications. One thing that is on my resume and volunteer/work history is a graduate school position where I worked on a literary journal for 2 years (4 semesters) ending in 2016. In my year as Chief Editor I was working with a guy who was supposed to put the website together but one day he completely lost his cookies on me saying he was not going to be micromanaged by me, etc. I had been working with the professor heading this up for a while and when he conversed with me over it, he basically said fine, can you do the website, yourself? I said I thought I could - WordPress is not that complicated. The IT guy went to the university to complain but it didn't do any good. He wound up dropping the course.

By this point, John (my professor) and I had a good working relationship. He knew I had a schizophrenia diagnosis (that I don't have anymore) but he also knew I was one of his strongest students and that I worked hard. He said that he thought this IT guy must have had trouble working under women. He had already gone over our emails. I eventually figured I hadn't done anything wrong in the situation. Granted, I am a confessed micromanager but just tell me to chill - no need to blow a gasket.

I did put put the WordPress site together and it was alright. John had expressed that it needed to be able to be archived for the next issue and I thought I could see where that was totally possible.

The next semester, two students who were new to the journal came on board - a chief editor and his assistant. Somewhere mid-course, the chief editor made an announcement that the previous IT guy had been published here or there - an odd sort of announcement in a course that this guy was not a part of. It made me feel like there may have been some background noise going on against me but I kept my mouth shut. Later, the assistant professed that there was no way that the previous journal could be archived. There wasn't much I could do about it at this point since I was knee-deep in writing a policies and procedures manual and was busy otherwise. I swallowed hard and hoped that something would be figured out. I was never a WordPress specialist and this gal seemed to know what she was doing, so I wasn't going to argue, though I remain pretty confident that the data could have been copied into an archive - it was not an enormous amount of information.

I cannot remember what happened but I ended up having an issue with the chief editor and I started getting very paranoid. Eventually, John asked me point blank: you don't think I am against you, do you? That was sobering - yeah, I did and I liked John.

Even still, as things grew to a close, John raved about my policies and procedures manual and wrote to me saying that he hoped that I would keep in touch after grad school was over - he thought we were good for each other. While I was still at the university, he did give me a recommendation for another graduate program but I opted to stay and finish a certificate there (in another department), instead.

Then, I did write to him shortly after graduation at the university but didn't hear back. More recently, I tried a different email address for him and again got no response. This time I even apologized, stating that 2 years after the death of my late husband had been too soon to start graduate school - I was ready academically but not emotionally. I know John had a drinking problem, so I probably wasn't being too personal - we talked quite a bit.

The thing is that the 2 years I worked on that journal are on my resume. I recently marked "no" in the box asking if an employer could contact John because I don't know what to think, now. I mean, sure, my feelings are hurt but in all practicality this was something that I worked very hard on and did a reasonably good job on but now I feel like I might be better off just forgetting about it when I look for work.

Why do these always get so damned long?

Does anyone have any insight into the work/volunteer experience thing and whether I should keep this 2 years accounted for if I don't know if I have a positive reference? Should I try to reach out to my professor one last time at his university email and just ask point blank if I should allow employers to contact him? Thanks in advance if anyone has any thoughts to share on this.


Not Active
To be honest, no employer will care about it at all, and no one will ever bother to check. So you can feel free to leave it on the resume. And why would you want to leave off anything you actually did anyway?
So far, all I have applied to have been government jobs. Actually, to be more accurate, so far none of them have been willing to take resumes but they want the history on an application and with each item, they ask if they can contact the supervisor. I fear that they might contact the people on that application where I probably wouldn't be as concerned if it was a non-governmental organization or business. Does that make sense? Do you think these being government applications changes anything?
Not really. They're required to check to make sure you worked where you said you did (but sometimes they don't bother), but they don't ask how you did, just whether you actually worked there.


@RussellSue I wouldn't worry about getting a negative reference from the previous position. I work in HR and there are actually laws regarding what a past employer can say about an employee. Specific answers to questions asked. As an employee go ahead and put the position on your resume. If they go back and ask your employer (which in many cases they will only contact your most recent employer for anything more than did you work there during the time you said and in the position you say you worked. Often times for jobs any further back people have moved on and no longer work there or remember details about the employee.