3 March 2021
Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a minute?” This week, job interview rejection, navigating unpaid International Women’s Day speaking requests, and an absent boss.
I can only imagine how demoralising it must be to have not been successful in your job search. I admire your tenacity and resilience as well as your openness to feedback. These qualities are truly important for anyone looking to succeed in a new role.
There is no way to sugar coat the fact that most of the roles you have applied for have not progressed to an interview. There is clearly something in the way you are presenting your resume that is preventing you from proceeding.
Your resume is critical for reflecting who you are and what you stand for and it is also not something you can set and forget. I know I adjust my resume for any new role I might apply for because what might have been relevant in my skillset for one position, may not be relevant for the next. I also know when I’m looking to hire someone, I can tell immediately if they have bothered to tailor their CV for that position.
Some other ideas to consider:
I can’t tell you how many times I, and so many women I know, have been put in this uncomfortable and frustrating situation. Each time, you find yourself feeling you should be grateful to be asked, but also knowing you are not being valued or respected for your time and expertise.
How shocking it is that the company did not have the courtesy to reply to you when you asked about remuneration (and don’t get me started on the irony given we are talking about International Women’s Day!).
Good on you for asking about being paid to appear. Doing so indicates that remuneration should be part of the discussion, and at a bare minimum there should be an offer to at least cover your expenses to get to and from the venue. Corporations should not expect speakers to donate their time without being paid, especially if attendees are paying for their tickets and it is a for-profit event.
Your boss seems to assume he can do what he likes since you are there to make sure he is never caught. My guess is his frequent visits to the masseuse will eventually come out, as will the fact he isn’t attending meetings. Unless you want this to continue, I would talk with your boss and explain the position he is putting you in each time he is missing in action and tell him that in future you will suggest people call his mobile if they can’t find you. He can then deal with the repercussions. It is not your responsibility to cover for his poor behaviour and in the end, he is going to need to account for his actions.
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