Everything sh*t at work? Fix it. Here’s how
When it all turns to sh*t
Everything gone wrong at work? Whether you’ve lost your job, told a few fibs and got busted or pulled a fake sickie and bumped into your boss, we’ve got you covered
YOU LIED ON YOUR CV AND GOT FOUND OUT
You’ve never actually climbed Everest, you don’t speak French and, as for that volunteering you do… Clawing back a lie in an interview is tough – they don’t know you yet, and there are other candidates who (probably) haven’t fibbed. Your only option is to apologise and explain why you did it – i.e., that you really want the job. Your success rate also depends on the lie. Hobbies and the like on your resumé are kind of OK (one survey found 72 per cent of hirers weren’t bothered by fibs in the personal interests section), while claiming a few skills you don’t actually have is recoverable, says John Lees, author of How To Get A Job You Love – you can always say you’re planning to learn them imminently. But if you’ve lied about working somewhere you didn’t, or your qualifications, expect little sympathy. Even if you got the job and are past the probation period when you’re found out, there could still be consequences. ‘Your contract can be terminated based on the fact you were hired under false pretences,’ says Aliya Vigor-Robertson, cofounder of HR consultancy JourneyHR. Worst case, you can even be prosecuted. So stick to the truth. DID YOU KNOW? In 2010, Rhiannon Mackay became the first woman in the UK to be jailed (she got six months!) for lying on her CV.
YOU FAILED YOUR PROBATION
Three months into the job and they’re still not quite sure if you’re a ‘good fit’, so they’re extending your probation. ‘This can really knock your confidence,’ says VigorRobertson. ‘Without becoming defensive, you need to get clear feedback on your performance and where you’ve fallen short.’ So dust yourself off and ask your line manager for a meeting. ‘Get them to set you some clear objectives that can be measured – that’s the important bit. You don’t want ambiguity in what’s expected of you. Then catch up regularly to check if you’re on track.’ If you fail your probation outright, you can try to argue it – but unless they’ve discriminated against you in some way, there’s not much you can do. If you sense things aren’t going well a few weeks into a new job, don’t wait until that threemonth review. Ask for feedback while you’ve still got a chance to change things.
DID YOU KNOW? You’re not alone. Nearly one in five people either fail their probation period or end up having it extended.
YOU’RE MADE REDUNDANT
File this one in ‘terrible things about being a millennial’, along with unicorn crap everywhere and a shortened attention span (cheers, Twitter). In the first three months of 2017, 16 to 34yearolds accounted for a third of redundancies*. But you do have some control. ‘The company needs to provide justification of how they’ve
reached their decision,’ says VigorRobertson. Also, your performance can’t be the reason you’re made redundant – if it is, you may be able to bring a claim against them. You’ll find loads of free advice on the Fair Work Ombudsman site (Fairwork.gov. au), where you can check your rights and the legal minimum you’re owed (check your contract for your company’s specific policy). The kicker? You have to have been in the role for more than a year to be entitled to a payout. But while losing your job can feel shameful, no future employer will judge you for it. ‘It’s only an issue if you make it one,’ says Lees. ‘Remind yourself of your skills and take some time to work out what you have to offer.’ And by all means, bitch to your mates, but put a cap on it. ‘Get the bad news out of your system so that when you’re in front of prospective employers, you’re all focused on moving on.’ DID YOU KNOW? Redundancy insurance exists, with payouts potentially helping cover some of your salary should the worst happen (read more at Canstar.com.au). But be warned: if you know that redundancies are due in your company, the insurers often won’t pay out, making your monthly payments totally worthless.
YOU NEED TO BRING UP MENTAL HEALTH AT WORK
Whether it’s a rough breakup, a family member taken ill, or a bad bout of anxiety, we all have times when our body is at work, but our brain isn’t. Ongoing mental health issues require a serious conversation with your boss. If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health issue, the Australiawide Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) makes it unlawful to discriminate against, harass or victimise people with disabilities – including mental health conditions – during all aspects of employment. ‘It means they have to treat you fairly and can’t discriminate based on your health,’ says VigorRobertson. For times when life is just kicking you in the balls, honesty is best, too. If your boss has noticed your work is slipping, it’s better they know there’s a reason for it and that it’s temporary – rather than them just assuming you can’t be bothered anymore. ‘It’s so important to communicate clearly how it’s making you feel,’ adds Vigor-Robertson. ‘Explain that you want to do your best and you’re upset you can’t. You don’t have to divulge all the details – they’re your boss, not your therapist. Just acknowledge the issue and let them know you’re dealing with it.’
DID YOU KNOW? An ad agency in the Philippines recently introduced ‘breakup leave’ for its employees. *Googles work permits in the Philippines*
YOU PULLED A SICKIE AND GOT CAUGHT
The unmissable festival, the Sunday session with your BFFs, the scorcher of a day that would be criminal not to spend at the beach… it’s all good until your friend tags you on Insta and your boss sees it. The first rule? Never try to justify it, says Lees. Whimpering about how you work hard and deserve more time off is only going to wind up your manager even more. Admit it, apologise, suck up whatever dressing down you get and promise to never do it again – and mean it. ‘You probably won’t get fired, but it starts to demonstrate disloyalty and [creates a] lack of trust,’ says Lees. So next time you are actually sick, get a doctor’s note (and stay off Instagram, yeah?). DID YOU KNOW? The most believable time to call in sick is 6.38am on a Tuesday morning. Just saying.
‘Redundancy is only an issue if you make it one’
EVEN THE BIGGEST WORK DISASTERS CAN BE TURNED AROUND.