What to say when you can't say anything nice about a boss

DEAR JOYCE: The former boss who fired me was such a snakehead I would choke if I had to say anything good about him. Why can't I just tell the truth about why I left: "Personality conflict with my manager?" What's wrong with that? - C.J.

You jest -- you know that calling out a former boss is unwise because a prospective employer may wonder if the pain in the office is you. For starters, never write "personality conflict" on an application; instead, when you're backed into a corner, write "will discuss" or "values" or "cultural fit."

Before an interview, work out a cool, calm and collected statement explaining that you and...