You Know What Sh!ts Me?: Office Politics!

Can I get a like out there from everybody who has ever had to deal with a douchebag of a manager? A manager who makes your already crappy day at work, crappier.

Come now, don’t be shy. I can guarantee that at some point in EVERY person’s life, they’ve encountered a manager who micro manages them, acts like a creep, does absolutely nothing but takes credit for EVERYTHING, or is in a management position because they’re the world’s biggest kiss ass and not because they’ve earnt it, which is more often than not the case.

If this is you after work, you get the feels. (SOURCE: PSY Gangnam Style)

If this is you after work, you get the feels. (SOURCE: PSY Gangnam Style, edited accordingly)

You come into work on any given morning, say hello to everyone and sit down at your desk with a cup of coffee, a smile on your face, and you’re ready to give the day a good hard go. Then it happens. You peer over the top of your desk (or cubicle) ever so slightly, unable to control the desire that’s festering inside you, forcing you to look over at your manager to see what they’re doing… that’s when you see it. They’ve got their mobile in hand, food in the other and their feet are crossed upon their desk. They’re clearly working so very hard.

No matter what you do, or how hard you try and concentrate on your task at hand, your eyes continuously watch. It’s like a train wreck. You can’t help but stare despite the fact that the more you see, the more your insides burn. You continue to watch on to see what unfolds. Now they’re lighting candles, their wireless ear piece attached, pacing their office whilst they’re no doubt conducting a “business” call… yeah right.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

Slowly but surely the day continues on. You’ve shaken away the bad thoughts and given yourself the little motivational speech that you need to make it through your day – “I’m here to work. I cannot worry about what everyone else is doing. I have a job to do and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability and someday I will be manager, and when that day comes I won’t be like them”.

Hahaha. You idiot. Who are you even trying to kid right now? Yourself? No one else is being fooled. Everyone else knows that you’ll never get there, you’re just hoping and dreaming – which by the way there is nothing wrong with – everyone needs a little hope in their life. But you my friend, you will never rank higher that the office slave. Why you ask? Because you’re too good at what you do. Whether your boss asks you to make them a coffee, file their paperwork or even proof read one of their emails, you do it to the best of your ability. Why the hell would anyone pay you more to be in a higher up position when they can continue to pay you abysmally knowing that you’re still going to perform?

As if you couldn’t possibly feel any worse, your manager then pops up like a ninja behind you. “Melissa, what are you doing there? Are you writing and email about me?” (that was totally just my personal input there because I’m sitting at work whilst writing this article and on total ninja patrol). But seriously, out of nowhere your manager appears asking 21 questions:

What are you doing?
Has this been done yet?
When will that be finished?
That one will be on my desk before you go, yes?
Why did such and such call me?

GIVE ME A BREAK WOULD YOU?! Your task list will be completed promptly and efficiently, alongside my own tasks that I’m making no progress on. Don’t worry though, I’ll work back if I have to and not at all be recognised for it, or compensated. It’s totally cool. I don’t have a life at all outside of work, so please, run along and enjoy a beer on me while I work through all this bullshit!

It’s absolutely ridiculous. You seriously do question how these people get their jobs, but how can we? Every one of us who actually goes to work and does their job are enabling this. We’re all enablers. Isn’t it great? How does it feel knowing that whilst you’re sitting there working your butt off, your Manager is off texting their significant other, painting their nails or having a snooze, all at your expense. Heck, they might as well take daily yoga classes on you.

What makes it worse thought is when your employer thinks it’ll be fantastic rearranging your seating positions on a regular. Seating you next to the office slob, or someone you cannot stand because their personality clashes with yours. You try and try to keep a level head, but no matter what you do, the very sound of their voice sets you on edge. They rock up to work dolled up, eager to talk about what their after work plans are, not concerned in their slightest about work, while you sit there, insides burning envisioning the fan above their head falling down on top of them. You wouldn’t wish anything bad upon them of course, it’s just a subconscious thought that makes listening to their shit bearable. This all takes a toll on your performance.

Do people not realise that productivity levels will only increase if we’re working in a happy place?

Don’t sit me next to the bimbo who would jump the boss for a raise if she could. Don’t sit me opposite the girl who reports EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to HR, even the name of your cat, because it’s apparently offensive, and definitely don’t sit me next to the office sleaze. I will not work like that. I WILL however make my discomforts known.

Please employers… make your employees happy. Studies show that if you’re working in a happy environment, productivity will soar. That means that you’re overworked, underpaid, non-recognised employees will continue to work harmoniously while you continue to sit on your butt and make an absolute fortune. What’s to lose?

– by Melissa Tonitto

You Know What Sh!ts Me?: Seek and you MAY find

We’ve all been there or know someone who has… the job hunt!

It’s 8:30pm on a Friday night and while your friends are all getting ready, painting on their faces and slipping on some heels, you’re at home hitting up seek.com.au.

You’re sitting there smacking your keyboard and mouse in frustration, scrolling through the thousands of jobs they have listed there and hoping something stands out… and then from nowhere you come across your perfect job. Smiling and clicking the link to read more about the position on offer, you can’t help but think “Oh yeah, looks like I’m going out partying after all”.

If this shot is your regular friend, you will understand the pain. (SOURCE: Screenshot from Seek website)

If this shot is your regular friend, you will understand the pain. (SOURCE: Screenshot from Seek website)

You start reading through the job, matching your skill sets to the desired attributes of the employer and of course your skills match. You’re capable of doing everything on their list, you have your own license and you’re well groomed. You’ve got this one in the bag! You attach your resume to the advertisement and email off your CV, closing the browser contented by the fact you’ll be starting a new job in a couple of days. There’s no way in the world that you haven’t got this.

The weekend passes, Monday comes and goes, Tuesday flies by and before you know it you’re staring Wednesday in the face wondering where in the world your phone call for an interview is. Surely it doesn’t take that long to read someone’s resume and find them perfect for the job. You sit down at the computer, open up your email and surprisingly you have an email reply regarding your application. You click on the email, your heart racing a million miles an hour and you read the top line (the only line);

Thank you for your application. Unfortunately you do not have the experience required for this position.

Like hell you don’t! Pulling out your resume once again, you run your index finger down your resume, silently cross checking your listed skills with the requirements for this position… got them all. As you sit there puzzled, scratching your head you think “Oh… I’m applying for an Executive Assistant job, but I’ve only ever worked Reception. My bad.” Oddly enough however, the tasks you completed on a Reception desk are pretty much identical to the ones you’d complete as an EA, but how could you be so silly. No one is going to hire you if you’ve never once held the title they’re advertising for. You’re completely capable and you know you’d be great at the job, but unfortunately you cannot show the employer experience within the position. Sorry about that champ!

Following this is the frustration. How the hell can you ever climb a career ladder if no one is willing to give you a chance? Everyone’s all about the “Experience essential” component of a job application, but who out there is ever going to give you a crack at that position? You can’t exactly gain experience in something if no one is ever willing to give you the experience.

Who are employers these days actually kidding? The employment rate in Australia is at it’s highest in a decade, but hey, let’s be picky about who we’re going to hire. What ever happened to taking a chance on someone? Putting them through a gauntlet of difficult work place tasks to see if they’ve got the backbone to work the position on offer. Take my grandfather for example; runs his own business, needs bodies on a regular and rather than turning people away who don’t fit his criteria, he’ll have them mop the floors, clean the toilets and make coffees. Sure you might feel inadequate for a day or two, but when he’s done with you, you’ll have full time employment.

If people are willing to push themselves to the limit in order to prove that they can do something, then why not let them? Worst case scenario is that they don’t work out and you need to advertise again, but best case, you’ve earnt yourself an employee who is willing to go to hell and back for you.

Australia, give our unemployed a good hard go. Take a chance on someone. You never know what might happen.

– by Melissa Tonitto

A Quick Guide to Job Interviews

It is a scientifically proven fact that job interviews are harder and more nerve-wracking than first dates. In the space of fifteen minutes, you have to confess everything from your education history to criminal convictions to a person you’ve only just met and convince them you’re better than everyone else on the planet. No pressure.

Having been to a number of unsuccessful job interviews in recent weeks, I have decided that either a) I am starring in an exceptionally dry-humoured TV series about a comically pathetic idiot or b) job interviews are actually a social experiment testing the effects of passive torture on unsuspecting uni students and backpackers looking to make a few quid over summer.

"Come on, I want you to do it, I want you to do it. Come on, hire me. Hire me."

“Come on, I want you to do it, I want you to. Come on, hire me. Hire me!”

I feel like I’m the subject in a Pavlovian-style conditioning experiment in which the phrase “What qualities do you most admire in yourself?” leads to a cold sweat and hyperventilation. I’m pretty sure that “I admire my ability to make a perfect cup of tea and sleep through the sound of loud traffic on Lygon Street” is not an appropriate answer. But what are people meant to say in response to that? How do you say “I admire my ability to organise my time and work efficiently both autonomously and as part of a collective” without sounding like a massive wanker? Trick question- you can’t.

Then there’s the wonderfully vague ‘Tell us about yourself.’ Righto. “Blaire Gillies. Nineteen years old. Right-handed. This morning I had cornflakes and a banana for breakfast and washed it down with an iced latte. I’m terrified of birds, but since this is a waitressing job I’m sure that won’t be an issue. I prefer the Green Apple flavoured Skittles but my confectionery of choice is actually sour peach hearts. I sometimes wear odd socks because I never seem to wash both of a pair at once, but I’m quirky so I can get away with it. I talk to myself a lot because I live alone and I sing a lot of Spice Girls while I’m cooking dinner… oh, and I’m a Cancer.”

Everything these people need to know is written in my resume. What more could they possibly want to hear?

I also resent being told to relax at the start of a job interview. It’s hard to relax when the person sitting across the table from you obviously loves lauding their power over you and being as intimidating as possible. ‘Would you like a glass of water?’ No. My hands are shaking like the dance-scene from Grease and I will end up spilling it in my lap within seconds, but thanks for the offer. By the way, your reassuring smile isn’t fooling anyone.

The only upside to these many interviewers is that I have deciphered their secret codes. For example:
What is your biggest weakness?
‘If you can lie well enough to make yourself look good, we’re impressed.’

What is your greatest strength?
‘We’re playing employee bingo. If you’re good at filing, we win a prize.’

Why would you be suited to this job?
How well have you actually read the job description?

What was the name of your childhood pet?

‘You seem too good to be true. We’re throwing you a curveball to try and throw you off your game.’

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

‘Tax Offices are like Hotel California- you can check out but you can never leave. Make sure this is what you really want. ‘

Why did you really apply for this job?
Dance for me, monkey, dance!

These standard, cliché questions are unavoidable. Your interviewer knows them back-to-front and inside out and probably hates them even more than you do. To make the situation as painless as possible, aim for originality. Set yourself apart from all the mindless automatons applying for the same position. Let’s face it; your greatest weakness is not that you are a perfectionist and your greatest strength is not your people skills. You hate people ( or maybe that’s just me…).  Give honest answers to questions. Tactful, but honest answers like “I left my place of employment as I felt that my capabilities were better suited to a different environment” rather than “OH&S would have had a field day with the morons at my last job.”  I’m not one of those people who follows the “tell them what they want to hear” rule. If you have to lie to get the job, it’s not right for you. You’ll regret it in the long run.

If you’re currently on the job hunt as well, I wish you the best of luck. Unless you’re in Melbourne and applying for the same jobs as me. In that case, may the best man win.

– by Blaire Gillies