Career mentor Michelle reveals to FEMAIL the dos and don’ts of disclosure in the workplace – including pregnancy, boredom and looking for another job.
Navigating the do’s and don’ts of an office environment can be tricky for some people. This is when Australian career mentor, Michelle Gibbings steps in.
Michelle has shared her top tips and recommendations with FEMAIL on the professional way to handle certain work scenarios.
‘There are many situations at work where you can wonder about the best time to talk to your boss about something that matters to you,’ she said.
‘For example, if you are thinking of leaving, planning on starting a family, or wanting to explore a ‘side hustle’.’
She explained that the approach you take all depends on the kind of connection you have with your boss.
Michelle said that there are two important rules you need to follow – understand the relationship and crystalise your objective.
Michelle also suggested that if you’re going to talk with your boss be clear as to what you want to tell them and what you want from them.
‘Is it just to inform them, or do you need their support in some way? Consider how the news may impact them and therefore, how they may react,’ she said.
‘Also, know your rights before you go into the conversation.’
IF YOU’RE PREGNANT
‘There’s no need to tell your boss you are planning on starting a family,’ Michelle explained.
‘It doesn’t need to factor into the work relationship and shouldn’t be a factor in whether you are employed or promoted.’
This being said, the timing of when you tell your boss you are pregnant depends on a couple of factors, such as the nature of your job and the context of your work.
‘If it is highly physical or stressful you may want to advise earlier for health reasons,’ she said.
‘If the organisation is going through a restructure you may decide to delay until the outcomes are known.’
Michelle stressed again how important it is to know your rights and the need to make yourself aware of your organisation’s maternity leave provisions.
When the time has come to notify your boss of your pregnancy, Michelle recommends you pick a time when your boss is relaxed and focused.
‘Book a meeting and make sure you are prepared for the conversation and are clear about what you want to do after your maternity leave. It’s important that you manage the conversation.’
WHEN YOU’RE PLANNING ON LEAVING
‘If you are planning on leaving and there’s a potential for a conflict of interest or a potential concern that your new work may compete – even in a small way – with what you do currently, then be very careful about what you say and do,’ Michelle explained.
Michelle said that there are particular industries where people are often fired instantly if they express their interest in leaving.
She recommended that those in sales and roles involving intellectual property tread carefully.
‘Be prepared to be let go on the spot. Have everything you need sorted so if they do walk you, all you need to do is go back to your desk and collect your personal items,’ Michelle shared.
‘You want to preserve relationships as best you can. The old adage, ‘Don’t burn any bridges’ is critical.’
IF YOU ARE STARTING ANOTHER JOB ON THE SIDE
Michelle told FEMAIL that sadly, there are many companies who don’t look too lightly on the idea of picking up another job on the side.
‘Depending on your employment contract you could find yourself in a sticky situation if you don’t handle it correctly,’ she said.
‘Read all your employment documentation – even the small print you might normally ignore.
‘Know what your rights are and what they aren’t. You may find need you need to get written consent from your employer to get involved in outside work.’
If you are planning on taking up a ‘side hustle’ you need to make sure that every piece of equipment that you use for that job is your own.
WHEN YOU’RE BORED IN YOUR JOB
‘This is a great opportunity to highlight to your boss that you are looking to contribute more and can see further ways you can add value,’ Michelle recommended.
‘You want this conversation to be positioned positively, rather than coming across as a ‘whinger’.’
One of the best things to do is to book a meeting with them so you can highlight what you have delivered in your role and discuss where you can see opportunities for you to do more.
‘Emphasise that you’d really like the opportunity to broaden your experience, and are looking for ways to help,’ she said.
‘Simply, turning up and telling your boss ‘you’re bored’ isn’t likely to deliver you a favourable response. Come to the conversation with options and ideas that can be discussed.’