Ev­ery­thing sh*t at work? Fix it. Here’s how

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

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’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.


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.


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.


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*


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’


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