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