Life Advice



Ask Amy: Job shopper asks for frequent references

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: “Liz” and I worked together for a short time nearly 20 years ago. She was excellent at her work and was an officer in a national organization in our field.

We have not seen one another in years. We’ve spoken on the phone one time in the last six years.

A decade ago, I spoke with an old colleague and recommended her to work at a firm I worked at 30 years ago. Liz got the job and was fired within weeks; I am not aware of the reason.

Liz has changed jobs A LOT. She apparently has difficulty holding a job, and often will send a text informing me that she has listed me as a reference for a new application.

Responding to her subsequent requests, I have answered questionnaires, spoken with Human Resources on the phone, and reached out to colleagues at various hiring firms.

Several weeks ago, she contacted me yet again, asking for a reference for a job at a preeminent firm where I have had close contacts for decades.


The position was great, interesting, and with good benefits.

She got the job, and has now lost that job.

I found this out when she texted me and told me she had given my phone number to someone at a new opportunity, who would be calling me.

My concern is not only that I am referring someone whom I haven’t worked with for many years, but I have no knowledge of her recent work, or the reasons she changes jobs so often.


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