Try not to get sacked over the next three weeks

I’m going on holidays. It is one thing to encourage members to take a break when they need one but in a small organisation like ours, it’s hard to get away. Nevertheless, I’m out of here on Friday 21 September and not coming back until Monday 14 October. All fresh, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready.

The office will still be able to refer you to people to give you advice while I’m gone and we have arrangements with our lawyers just in case, but in the meantime, here are some suggestions for how to keep yourself out of trouble while I’m away:

  • Annual and long service leave requires the Council’s agreement and it makes sense to get that agreement before you spend your money on a trip to Europe, for example.
  • If you’re sick and can’t get to the office, ring your supervisor/manager as soon as you can in the morning and try to avoid looking like you’ve disappeared. It’s important to ring a person you report to.
  • Try to avoid being sick on Friday and Monday because, while you might be legitimately sick, it doesn’t look good.
  • If the Council wants to interview you about something that could become a disciplinary issue and they offer you the opportunity of taking a support person, take the delegate because it’s always good to have someone there as a witness and to metaphorically hold your hand.
  • If the Council claims you’ve done something wrong and they are grilling you about it, don’t admit to it if it isn’t true because you want the meeting to end, because next they will nail you.
  • If the Council finds you been making phone calls outside the Council area during working hours and they ask why, don’t tell them it’s because you loaned your phone to a friend, because that only makes life worse.
  • Try to avoid shouting at people in the office, even if you’re angry and they may well be the stupidest applicants you’ve ever met.
  • Try to avoid shouting at other employees and NEVER shout at your boss.
  • Everyone makes mistakes, if you do, fix it as soon as you can, apologising is always a good idea and never, ever try to justify it. It’s not a matter of interpretation, it’s a mistake.
  • Don’t backdate documents to fit within timeframes.
  • Try not to get booked for speeding or other motoring offences in the Council car and, when you get picked up by radar outside Goulburn on the first day you got the car and it‘s your birthday, with all your mates in the car, don’t tell the cop you were lucky he didn’t catch you 10 km earlier.
  • If you leaseback agreement says you report minor damage, do so.
  • Don’t pinch things from the Council - whether that be stationary or petrol outside your entitlements under the leaseback agreement.
  • Don’t, if the Council is asking legitimate questions about where you were or what you were doing, go home panicking because you’ve been sprung and then go on stress leave. It’s hard to come off stress leave and you still have to deal with the issue.
  • Don’t do any applicants or objectors any favours beyond your normal professional responsibilities because they can often be misinterpreted or misunderstood and you never know who’s watching.
  • If the ICAC turns up and asks questions, assume they already know the answers and tell them exactly what you know. You never know what they know and they wouldn’t be there looking for a fire if they didn’t have evidence of some smoke.
  • Be careful of the images and other things you receive, send and store on the Council’s computer. If you wouldn’t be prepared to let your mum see it, it shouldn’t be on the Council system.
  • Don’t call the HR flunky unprofessional, unhelpful, or an idiot - even if they are. Leave that to me when I get back.


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