Hi. I kind of need to vent and also get your opinion on something. Let me start out by saying that I am not a confrontational person, and I can usually work things out with people when there is a misunderstanding, but I am kind of confused about something a professional reference did.
I interviewed for a job, and was offered the position pending a background check and reference check. In my past two jobs, no one ever checked my references, but I knew in this case they would. I called the 3 professionals that I had previously asked and made sure it was OK to have HR call them. No problem. One of my references is a woman I worked with for 5 years at my last job. I was at the organization nearly seven years and she was there for five. She was admin support, and I was an analyst but we worked together regularly due to her department's data needs. Anyway, I felt she had a good understanding about what I did for the organzation. I have been friends with her since about a year or so after we met at work. She and I both left the org because we were unhappy with management, but she burned her bridges and I feel that I did not. In fact, in my exit interview I said I was pursuing a different line of work, and then I trained a temporary replacement to do my job so that they wouldn't be left high and dry.
The HR department from the new company called this reference and afterwards my reference called me to say what she told them (talk about nerve-wracking). The more she said, the more upset I became but I didn't say so. She started by telling me that she told a few white lies. I expected this because sometimes people have difficulty understanding what I do with data and what software I use. BUT that is not what she lied about. She told HR that she was at the organization longer than I was and that she knew me before I went to work there (untrue and not necessary). She also said that the person I replaced was difficult to work with and that I was more pleasant. (While that might sound like a compliment it isn't--you see, before me, the organization never had an analyst. They brought me in to become more modern, and I changed how they did all of their research and reporting so it is a very big thing and I usually mention this in my interviews. My reference KNOWS this. She also decided that she was chummy with the HR person and told them she didn't know my work style because I had a bad manager and so did she. The way she said it makes me feel like I came off as a disgruntled employee. This is NOT the image I want to start off with.
I don't think that my job offer will be pulled because of this, but I also am a strong believer in who you associate with says a lot about you. And now I am wondering about this association. I honestly don't know if she is so naive to think what she did was helpful to me or if for some reason she was trying to sabbatage me. I just don't get it. I have already decided that I will not use her has a reference in the future if I have to pursue another job, but I still feel confused and a bit hurt. Am I just being silly???