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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Can You Say No to Your Boss?

You're an accountant, so why is your boss asking you to unclog the kitchen sink? Or take over new hire orientation? Or.... Welcome to Extreme Multi-Tasking.

Can You Say No to Your Boss?


Film Co. Lawyer said...

When I was starting out in the working world, I was more willing to do that. Today, though you'd better be offering me a share in the business if you want me to care. How come?

A) My husband is in a real life nightmare situation, though he was never asked to do janitorial work. He did that in a prior job (which he hated) & I'd have a fit if he ever got asked to do that. I should note that his employer has ZERO appreciation or regard for anyone going above & beyond. Your effort is a complete waste, especially when you're constantly on the layoff list while incompetents w/more seniority are getting to keep THEIR jobs.

B) I've experienced lots of shady employer treatment & quite frankly, you'll have to earn my trust before I grant you favors. Abusive employers may want to consider that before letting an employee get their lunch or babysit their kids.

Also, some of these employers should keep in mind that some requests could be illegal. Would they ask an employee to do medical work, for example? An employee can get punished for the unauthorized practice of certain tasks that require state licensing.

In particular, attorneys are responsible for ANYTHING an employer does no matter if they're in-house counsel or the receptionist--this is according to state ethics rules. You have to get a writing specifically stating that you aren't working as an attorney if you do other tasks so if the employer were breaking the law (even if you weren't aware of it or directly involved), you wouldn't be held liable.

That being said, I had someone try using me as a free attorney in a new business where there was already an in-house lawyer. I pointed out that it doesn't look appropriate to people getting legal documents from the company's PR rep even though I'm an actual licensed attorney, this in-house lawyer should earn her status & do freebies to advance the business if she's going to be listed on the website + while I might assist friends on things, I'm no one's free attorney. I said that if I were to continue doing that stuff, my title would have to change. I got an apology & never had to do document drafting again.

Personally, if it's not benefiting you or allowing you to have some beneficial skill later on (say supervisory tasks or networking), I wouldn't bother. I'd also point out having limited skills, physical limitations, being bad with kids, etc. Plus, I expect the business owner to give 110% but when so many employers have zero regard or concern for their employees, I wouldn't waste my time in most situations.

I also think you should point out your strengths & if the employer wants to avoid having you utilize them while having you do stuff you stink at or are far too qualified to do, (s)he is a moron whose business will crumble very quickly.

Mike C. said...

First of all, bravo Film Co. Lawyer! I'm in a very similar situation.

Frankly, I get so tired of hearing about how "businesses need to be agile" and "competition is huge" from so called "experts" and "entrepreneurs". No, you want to make your employees do more work with less pay while the business you run makes record profits. Stop drinking your own kool-ade.

Unless they're willing to allow for a significant portion of the business to become employee owned, I'm there for a specific job. Unless you plan on restoring the benefits you took away while the business continued to grow and prosper during the worst recession in a lifetime, I'm not working all that overtime. I spent the past three years killing myself over this job, and I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm not alone here.

The worst part is that if these folks would just hire one or two more folks the workload would instantly become manageable, employees would be happier and the economy would improve.