How Can I Be Hungover At Work? What's Holding Me Back? And Other Questions You’ve Been Too Scared To Ask Your Boss Answered
The Debrief: Annette King, CEO of advertising, marketing and public relations agency Ogilvy & Mather, is the most honest boss you'll never have
You know those days when you struggle into work even though you're feeling like your head's about to explode with cold ('You're a hero for making it through your commute let alone to 5pm, you tell yourself!) only to send your boss that presentation you spent all weekend working on... and hear nothing from them for hours. Was it rubbish? Are you judging me for being weak? Does this radio silence mean I'm about to get fired?
There are plenty of questions that we’d love to ask our bosses but are just too afraid/sober to do it. And you can’t blame us – with 733,000 young people now out of work and stalled pay growth meaning the average worker is now £5,000 a year worse off than they were last year, few of us are willing to do anything to rock the boat, no matter how curious we might be.
But fear not, we’ve asked one of the UKs most respected female CEOs, Annette King from advertising, marketing and public relations agency Ogilvy & Mather, who won the Women In Marketing 2014 Company Award all those questions you’ve been dying to ask you boss, but have been too afraid.
So first things first, this whole flirting thing. Is that ever ok in the office?
‘I don’t think there’s any harm at all in a bit of innocent flirting in the office, as long as you’re not doing it in order to get ahead which can only end in disaster,’ Annette tells The Debrief. ‘Today’s working culture means most of us spend the vast majority of our time at work, so it’s inevitable that many, many people have met their partners at work.’
But being hungover at our desks isn't a good look, right?
‘Listen, I couldn’t really criticise anyone who works in advertising for having a few drinks,' says Annette. 'We’ve all been there and most bosses will recognise that it’s a right of passage that everyone has to go through. The key is to be upfront about it and not to lie.'
OK, makes sense. And the same applies to calling in sick, we presume? Honesty is always the best policy?
'Yes. I know lots of people worry about calling in sick in this jobs market. But I think, for most bosses, if you trust your staff you will take their word at face value – although I would say that lots of people still manage to get some work done from home when they’re a bit ill, which is impressive. It’s often better to take the day to rest and then come back on your best form rather than suffering through it. Although if someone is consistently ill, we’d always intervene and try to offer them our help. If they refuse to take our help, then we’d probably need to have another conversation.’
So that's the silly stuff covered. Time to get serious. What do we do that's in danger of holding us back?
‘It’s not necessarily an age thing – people can be challenging whatever their age – but one thing that new workers can do which riles their superiors is try to run before they can walk,' advises Annette. 'It’s important to really own every step of your development before you can move on – being overly keen isn’t necessarily a positive. Not that I buy into the idea that millenials are entitled at all and I’m always impressed with how much they manage to cram in – apprenticeships, travelling, internships – before they come to interview with us. They have a broader view of the world, more opinions and a great appetite. They’re an asset, especially in advertising because a lot of our products will be aimed at that age group.’
Anything we particularly need to bear in mind as young women in the workplace?
‘I’d say the biggest thing is not being absolutely clear about what they want from their careers and letting their boss know how they’d like to progress,' says Annette. 'Women will do a good job and hope that people will notice, whereas men might do the same job and make sure they let their bosses know that exactly what they achieve and ask to be rewarded for it. You need to tell your boss how you’d like to progress otherwise how do you expect it to happen?'
And finally, how do you know you're working in the right place when you often suffer from Sunday night work doom?
'Choose where you work very carefully and hold out until you get the company you want if necessary. When I hear people complaining about their workload, I just think why don’t you move somewhere else?! No one’s forcing you to stay. It’s better to do your research and make sure the work culture matches your own ambitions, the areas where you thrive and you’ll inevitably do better than if you were somewhere where you’re floundering. No one can do it for you.’
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Picture: Marina Esmeraldo
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