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7 Ways to Avoid Being Screwed Over at Work

7 Ways to Avoid Being Screwed Over at Work

It can be tough being a student or recent grad in the professional world, and sometimes you might be unlucky enough to get screwed over at work.

A lot of employers will treat you fairly and with respect, but there are also employers who will treat you unfairly just because they can.

I’ve gone through my fair share of volunteer, internship, and work experiences, so here are some tips to help you avoid getting screwed over at work.


1. “Back that shit up” -one of my professors

As my university profs always used to remind us, back everything up.

If you’re a freelancer logging your own hours on a shared Google Doc, save it as a PDF every so often.

If you have important emails or contacts on a company email, forward them to yourself.

Things can happen and things can get deleted, so protect yourself by backing everything up.

Simple fall work outfit

2. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself

Just because someone is your employer or client, doesn’t mean they can go bossing you around.

You shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for yourself if you’re put in a situation you know you’re being treated wrongly in.

3. Secure your payments

Don’t wait until a week after your paycheque is due to remind your employer – always stay on top of it.

It’s your hard work and your hard-earned money, and you ain’t working for free.

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If you don’t stay on top of it, they might end up running off on you without giving you your last pay check.

True story, happened to me.

Simple fall work outfit

4. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

I had the chance to do an internship at this really cool company.

However, I was told that my tasks for two out of the four months would be serving coffee and doing food runs, and that I would possibly be able to actually do work depending on my work ethic.

I ended up not taking the internship.

5. Do your job, not your job x100

Your contract outlines what your job title is and what you’re expected to do.

It’s awesome if you take initiative and exceed your expectations, but it’s unfair to you if your employer expects you to go above and beyond and out of your way to do things that aren’t part of your job.

In smaller companies, you will probably be expected to take on roles beyond your job title, but don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of.

6. Ensure you’re being treated with respect

I once had an interview where I was interviewed by several different people, and the last interviewer told me, “I bet you just wanna get the fuck out of here.”

I got offered the internship, but I didn’t take it.

Just because people are your superiors in a company, doesn’t mean they can treat you disrespectfully.

And that definitely isn’t the type of company culture you want to spend 9 to 5 in.

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7. Always make sure you’re safe

If you don’t feel safe or comfortable in a situation, do something to make yourself feel safe.

At the end of the day, it’s just a job, and your safety is more important than anything else.

It’s okay to say no to situations that make you uncomfortable, whether it’s doing something unsafe as requested by your boss or talking to a creepy client.

Financial District, Toronto

Have you ever been screwed over at work? What lessons did you take from it? I’d love to know in the comments!

P.S. if you liked this post, you might like this post on ways to relieve your stress as a student, or any of my other posts on career and finance tips.

Be sure to keep up with me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest if you aren’t already!

Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

How to avoid getting screwed over at work by your employers and clients.

Kirsten Ortez

Sunday 13th of November 2016

Interesting post. As I've only worked for large companies, I've never had a problem with the payment issue. I haven't experienced many of these actually (except people trying to take credit for my work, but I know my family has. Thanks for the tips before I really go off into the working world!

Kirsten -

Jessica Lam

Sunday 13th of November 2016

Glad you found this helpful, Kirsten!

Karen Roldan

Saturday 12th of November 2016

I agree with everything you listed! I think I'm lucky because I haven't experienced any employers who treat people unfairly. Thank you for sharing!

Jessica Lam

Sunday 13th of November 2016

You are really lucky! Thanks for reading Karen 😊

Candy Kage

Saturday 12th of November 2016

Wonderful must do tips on looking out for yourself. Always check your payroll check to make sure it is correct.

Jessica Lam

Sunday 13th of November 2016

Thanks for the tip, Candy!


Tuesday 8th of November 2016

What kind of freelance work do you do? Would be interested in hearing about your experience on that :)

Jessica Lam

Tuesday 8th of November 2016

I've worked jobs as a freelance editor, social media manager, and writer, and I'll definitely keep that idea in mind! Thanks Natalie 😊


Sunday 30th of October 2016

Great advice. Just wondering, do you have any advice on freelancing?

Jessica Lam

Monday 31st of October 2016

Thanks girl! I can't think of anything off the top of my head right now, but I'll try to help with any questions you have if you want to message me on Facebook or Twitter!