Dilemma - David Emin on the job

This week's dilemma...

My social life has recently taken a bit of a hammering when my boyfriend, who I also work with, left me for another woman at work. I have been getting through at least two bottles of wine every night to drown my sorrows. This has meant that occasionally I have failed to wake up on time for work and my boss told me that if I continue to be late he will fire me. I decided that enough was enough and that I must get my life back in order, so I am considering joining a gym and giving up alcohol. Unfortunately, the other day as I was driving to work, my car conked out. I had only just left home and so I was late for work. My boss immediately gave me a final written warning. I think that this is unfair, as this time it was not my fault I was late. What I should do now?

The first bit of help I can give you is as follows: a car breaking down after being driven only a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine.

It's worth checking as to whether there is any debris in the fuel line. If there isn't and it appears clear, check the clips that hold the pipes onto the inlet manifold. If this still does not solve the problem, it might be you have a faulty fuel pump, which then means that you are not getting enough fuel into the carburettor.

If that does not help, I'd look for a new car. Your present one is obviously unreliable and going nowhere.

After this, I'd look for a new job. Your present one is obviously untenable. Like your car, your career seems to have stalled.

While this is in part due to your personal circumstances, I'm afraid you did bring this on yourself. Sadly, whether it was your fault or not, if you were already on a warning for being late and were late again, you do not have much of a defence. However, you should have had a disciplinary hearing in which your boss not only discussed the issue of your persistent lateness, but also gave you the chance to put forward your case. You should also have had an opportunity to lodge an appeal against your final written warning.

It might well be that your boss was a bit too hasty and it may well be worth your while getting some legal advice.

However, working in the same place as your ex will continue to be painful and, from the sound of it, you will probably be out soon anyway, whether you like it or not.

Sign up with a few recruitment consultants, then leave with dignity before you lose your job. Oh, and join both AAs.

- David Emin is director of advertising at Mirror Group Newspapers and has 20 years' experience in national press. If you have a career dilemma you would like David to address, e-mail david.emin@haymarket.com. We will keep your name confidential.

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