The Five Stages of Unemployment


One of the most common feelings of unemployment is the sense that no one else can understand what it is you’re going through. And they can’t. Not exactly. No one has precisely the same family or financial circumstances as you do. No one has precisely the same employment experience. No one has precisely the same goals and dreams.

What everyone experiencing unemployment does have in common is going through five distinct emotional stages as we process an ending and look for another beginning.

However, the manner in which you enter unemployment significantly impacts in what order you will experience these emotions. Continue reading

Problematic Advice to a Jobseeker


I know how lucky I am. By choice, I’ve had a year out of permanent work, spending that time writing, doing some more writing, writing a little more, publishing a book I wrote, and being choosy about which freelance roles I accepted.

But now that I’m looking to return to full-time work, I’ve had a number of interesting pieces of advice on how I can do that more easily. Some of them are interesting. Some of them are downright terrible. Some might seem unethical. But if everybody else is doing them, am I just losing out by not doing them, too? Continue reading

Work experience, first jobs and eventual careers: how did we get here?


When I was in high school, I wanted to be a lawyer. At least, I thought I did. Yes, I was writing poems and novels in my spare time but when anyone asked, I insisted I wanted to be a lawyer. “A lady lawyer,” my great aunt Violet said to me. “No,” I replied in my youthful feminist beginnings, “just a lawyer.” Continue reading

The Fundamental Misunderstanding About Full-Time Writers


At the end of February 2015, I finished a six-month contract and decided not to look for another full-time job straight away. Instead, I was going to write. I was going to devote all my available time to writing.

I had the savings to be able to do it. It was financially irresponsible in the long term but important to my sanity and the amount of writing I was able to do in the short term. So I did it.

In the first few months, people were supportive. “Good for you!” “You look so relaxed.” “God, I’d love to be able to do the same thing.” After a few months, people were concerned: “When are you going to start looking for a job?” “Are you okay for money?” “Don’t you get bored?” Now, after more than six months, people are disapproving: “You’re still unemployed?”

And this is where the fundamental misunderstanding referred to in the heading rears its ugly head. I am not unemployed. I am a writer. I am financially supporting myself. And I work a full-time job just like anybody else. Continue reading

‘You’re the Best Boss I’ve Ever Had’ and Other Lies We Tell to Keep the Job


Last year I wrote about the lies we tell to get the job in the first place, including ‘I’m passionate about spreadsheets’, ‘I like washing everyone else’s dishes’ and ‘I’m happy to work overtime without being compensated for it’. So you’ve successfully lied your way into the job and you think maybe now you might be able to stop telling mistruths and have someone appreciate you for being honest.

Yeah, right. Instead, you’re more likely to find yourself continuing to lie in order to keep the job. Here’s a few I’ve heard (and perhaps a few I’ve used) over the course of my working life.

Continue reading

“I Hate You” and Other Things You Should Never Say at Work


I’m a writer for a reason. And that reason is sometimes when I speak, stupid silly faux-pas things come out of my mouth. I would love to have a delete button or a remote control for my life (not just my work life, my personal life, too) that allows me to pause a little longer to consider the consequences of what I am going to say next or rewind for a do over when I get it wrong (which can be frequently).

I once phoned a colleague and began the conversation with a Freudian slip that had my cubicle neighbours convulsing with laughter long after the call was ended. I’ve heard others in the workplace using what can only be described as colourful language. I’ve even caused a fellow worker to faint by talking about the very specific processes of blood donation.

But there are a handful of things you should never say at work (most of which I’m glad to say have never come out of my mouth) and knowing what they are in advance might just help you avoid an awkward, embarrassing, termination-inducing or unwanted reputation-making situation. Continue reading

“I’m Passionate About Spreadsheets” and Other Lies We Tell to Get the Job


You’ve made it past the CV scanning software and a recruitment junior and you’ve landed that all important interview. You research the company online in depth. You talk to former and current employees (if you know any) for the inside scoop on what to expect. You plan your most competent looking outfit.

And you practise what you’re going to say. Your three strengths, your three weaknesses (which with a quick sentence or two actually become your next three strengths), why you want to leave your current job (break out the euphemisms), what makes you the best candidate for the role (I am, just trust me, okay?) and what sort of corporate culture you prefer (if my boss can find a happy medium between hovering while yelling and making me wonder if we should start scouring local bushland for a body, I’m good).

But when you arrive for the face-to-face question and answer session, it all goes out the window. You can’t remember your strengths (but I’m good, I swear) or your weaknesses (but I’m not saying I’m perfect) and some of the questions you’re being asked have about as much relevance as a penguin at an ethics convention.

So what do you do to make sure you get the job? You do what everyone else does. You lie. Continue reading

Yes, You Are Smarter Than Your Boss


It’s the dilemma that many people will face at some point in their career. It goes something like this.

You: ‘I have a proposal that will earn the company more money, be easily explainable to and implementable by our employees, and provide an obvious rationale for clients as to why our services/products cost this amount.’

Your boss: ‘No.’

Continue reading