How do I tell a new boss: "That's not part of my job"?

without coming off as totally snarky?

The deal is, it really isn’t. I’m an AA. He wants me to go on meetings with him, to see clients/customers/etc. Um, no. Not only do I not get paid for this, I also lose time from doing important things at the office - which are part of my job description. I mean, I’m going to get rated on the things in the office, not outside. It’s his job to meet with the clients.

Any ideas? Or is there no way to say this politely?

Could he maybe be trying to groom you for a new position or expand your responsibilities?

I would just tell him your concerns: You are worried about losing time doing things inthe office that no one else will do, which would have a negative effect on the office as a whole.

good luck

Just because it hasn’t been part of your job in the past, does that mean it can’t be made a part of your job by your new boss? And what do you mean you don’t get paid for that? Is he making you “clock out” and forego your salary or hourly wage while you’re doing business outside the office? If not, then you are being paid for it. Has he explained to you why he would like to have an administrative assistant accompany him on his calls? Perhaps he wants you there to record the meetings. How do you know it wasn’t represented to him when he hired on that he’d be able to have his assistant go with him on calls? Have you considered asking for more compensation for the added responsibilities? Have you discussed with him ways in which your office load could be lightened to accomodate the additional time out of the office?

He’s your boss. If he says its your job, its your job. You don’t tell your boss “its not my job” or he’ll find someone less picky.

If you have too much to do, that’s a resource issue you can bring up “I’d love to attend the client meeting with you, but I have this pile of stuff you’ve already given me I need to get done.” His job is to set your priorities. But if he says that the priority is the customer call (unless its unethical or illegal or he is sexually harrassing you or something) that is the priority.

Or unless you have several bosses, in which case the answer is “I can’, I promised Bob I’d have this to him by 3:00.” If he has a problem with that, tell him to take it to Bob.

Whoa, lots of questions. Let’s see:

No, I am fairly sure of this one, since we’ve let lots of people go.

  1. No, he is not making me clock out or forgo any wages. I meant that my responsibilities are suddenly increasing without any corresponding wage increase. I already get paid significantly under what others do in my field, because it’s a not-for-profit.
  2. Nope.
  3. He has an AA. I am his second now. He does not under any circumstances need two. Plus, his other AA doesn’t do a good deal of the duties I do - no banking, no money issues, no bills.
  4. Haha. See above re not for profit. But it might be worth a try at least.
  5. See below:

Ok, I have two bosses. Maybe 3. In a not-for-profit the bottom line is MONEY. The question I constantly have to ask myself is: Am I earning money for the organization? The work I do in the office is towards our two biggest events that rake in $600,00 when combined. The work he wants me to do (currently) is for two small events that will rake in maybe $5,000 if we’re lucky.

Honestly, I’m thinking I’ll just have to suck it up and deal with it - until the time comes for our fall $100,00 event, and then I will simply have to say “I can’t go, I have to work on this event, which is the big money.”

It does irk me though. I’ve been here almost five years and I see him making many of the same mistakes new employees do - chase minor events thinking they’ll make big money, etc. He is wooing people who have time and time again promised things and failed to deliver. And he’s been told this by the bigwigs - certainly not me - and yet he ocntinues.

So maybe that’s another angle: “Boss, if I spend my time on this project, we’re only likely to bring in a couple grand. But if I spend my time on that project, we stand to bring in a couple ten-grand. What should I do?”

Oh, well, in that case, he may just be terminally dense, and won’t respond to the above tactic. Either move up the chain of command, or wait until he get’s fired. (Which might be quicker if TPTB hear you ask why you’re working on small potatoes projects.)

Does your large company have a specific formalized review process in place where it specifically states what goals you are to meet? And all this additional project work is not taken into account? Do you have an on-staff HR person who you can reach out to, via private encrypted email or phone, to discuss this? Is this boss a manager or an ‘owner’?

If my answers are hitting way too close to the mark for you to be comfortable, then yes, I know Exactly whats going on, why its going on, and depending on how much you trust your career to him/her, whether this is a problem.

Hypothetically, some service industries are not allowed to bill hours to clients until after those clients sign a contract. Basically, until there’s a contract, everyone’s working for free.

Hypothetically, an AA bills time to internal work, so the hours worked on a potential new client would be ‘masked’ and artificially inflate that manager’s efficiency.

This is the Why.

The What is that you have nothing from this boss in writing protecting you come review time when you clearly have not met your written, stated goals. Basically, you’re asking “should I trust this guy, who is already showing to be ‘ethically challenged’, to do the right thing, give me a glowing review and a nice raise, based on nothing more than his word?”

Its a very good question, and one that HR might have to settle. If only there was an ‘ethics department’ that you could consult… :wink:

How about asking for his recommendation on prioritizing with your other responsibilities? For example, “Thanks, and I’d love to attend. However, I also have to accomplish X, Y and Z for This Big Money Event. How about we talk to Other Bosses so we can all agree on how to prioritize so nothing falls through the cracks.”

  1. Yes. My review takes place in December.
  2. Nope.
  3. Um…not really. I mean, technically there’s one, but if I reached out to them I highly doubt it would be confidential. Nothing’s confidential in an nfp.
  4. Manager.

I see your points and agree. I think he’s trying to inflate himself… We don’t have billing time but it’s like he wants to show off - look, I have this great AA at my beck and call. :rolleyes:

And Shayna, I meant to point out that I edited your statements to add the numbers, etc. So sorry!

To be blunt, bullshit. I work in administrative/accounting capacities also, and I can assure you that my duties don’t extend to anything my boss can think up for me to do. I am a professional administrator; if the duties are related to administrating, chances are good that I will indeed do them without any fuss. If they are not, however, I will not be doing them. If I need to quit over it, that’s how it will be. Just because I work in a “pink-collar” industry doesn’t make me subject to every whim of my supervisor.

Hmm, apparently picking my keyboard up and shaking the crumbs out of it makes it post for me. I was actually about to edit that post, asking you for more clarification, Dangerosa. Do you mean anything that a boss can come up with (excepting illegal/immoral things), or just administrative things?

From an HR perspective, I’m basically with Dangerosa. An employer has a great deal of latitude in changing your job duties. And an individual manager has as much latitude as the company/nfp will give him or her. Taking notes at an offsite meeting is really no big whoop in the scheme of things.

If an employer were to cross the line on this (you, hired as administrative assistant, will now be mining coal) the best you could hope for is that you could quit and it would be considered constructive discharge, allowing you to collect unemployment.

I agree with Dangerosa. I’ve seen quite a lot of job postings that have, at the end of the list of duties:

A few years ago, an entire workgroup was done away with in my company and my department (IT Service Management/Project Management) was told to pick up the roles and responsibilities of the former workgroup. We wanted to stay employed, so we did what out boss asked us to do. Of course we all had the option to resign (but nobody did).

Your boss writes your appraisal, awards your bonus and/or raise and keeps you employed. As long as you’re not being asked to do anything illegal/immoral, you need to please your boss in order to stay employed.

You guys are scaring me. You’re saying that if you are hired in a professional capacity (and administrative assistants are professionals), you would do “other duties as assigned” if they included way out things like washing the boss’ car, mowing the lawn at your place of business, planning the boss’ daughter’s wedding, etc?

As a supervisor, I always made certain that all subordinate job descriptions ended with the statement: “Performs other duties as assigned”.

Wash the boss’ car, no. Be asked to attend a three day out of town meeting to take notes and provide assistance, yes.

Mow the lawn, probably not. Be instructed to wear “old clothes” because we were going to be cleaning out a back room and loading the junk on trucks, yes.

Plan the daughter’s wedding, no. Plan the office Christmas party, yes.

In short, if something needed to be done in that place of business, I considered it to be everybody’s job.
I had the good luck/skill to only hire one “it’s not my job” person, and she didn’t stay long. The “yes, I’ll be glad to handle that” folks had long, happy terms of employment with frequent raises, awards, and an occasional surprise afternoon off with pay.

That’s exactly when the survivors take on more duties. It’s unfortunate, but it’s also an opportunity.

I assume going out to see clients has higher prestige? Maybe he’s uncomfortable going alone? Did he tell you what you’re supposed to be doing at the clients? Is there a shortage of people who can meet them, and is he preparing you to be one of them?

Not spending time on the high money items perhaps is something he’s not adequately aware of. So that is something to bring up.

In the companies I’ve been at, those who get promoted are already doing the job. Much safer for TPTB that way.

I’m in the Admin Assistant category, and none of the things you listed are in my core duties. I’d answer them slightly differently, though.

Was the boss’s car: Sure, if they don’t mind it going through a car wash. I’m not going to get out there with sponges though.

Be asked to attend out of town meeting to do minutes, etc? Sure! I have been all over the place to take minutes and stuff (day trips only, so far), which was certainly not on the list of Anticipated Duties at the outset. Still, you learn a lot by being where the action is, so it’s actually pretty good being able to be involved a bit more - even if it’s only from a spectator position.

Mow the lawn? No. But I’ll ring around, get quotes on services that will do it, and book the mowing session if you like.

Clean out back room? No.Way. I don’t even clean out MY back rooms, I’m sure as eggs not going to clean out anyone else’s. And if it’s a storeroom at work, they can hire professional cleaners, movers, or whatever they think the job justifies, but they’re not getting me in there.

Plan the wedding? Certainly not in any primary fashion, but I’d be happy to chase up quotes for things she’s decided on, type up the list of names/addresses for invitations, or what have you.

My general take on it is that I’m there to do whatever makes my boss’s job easier. Since my boss’s job is to bring in the $$$ anything that distracts significantly from that is a Bad Thing. So, I clear away the Bad Things - within reason. I don’t, for anyone, do manual labour. (If you could see my house, you’d realise the truth of that statement! :smiley: )

The amount of times I’ve actually been asked to do ‘foreign’ tasks, though, have been fairly minimal, and never at the expense of something more important. I have a good boss.

I think that Anaamika’s issue is not with the tasks themselves, but with the fact that they pull her away from other tasks that are more important to her primary job function.

Like Bites When Provoked says, when I worked as an admin, my philosophy was that my job was to do everything I could do, so that my boss could do the things that only she could do. However, a boss might sometimes need to be (gently) reminded of what you are already doing, because it is possible they either don’t know or have forgotten. That need increases in correlation to the number of bosses you have.

Anaamika has 3 people assigning tasks. Boss One says, “top priority today is washing my car before I have to take Potential Big Donor to dinner after work.” Boss Two says, “top priority today is getting this mailing out for Huge Money Making Event - we’re already late getting it out.” Boss Three says, “top priority today is coming to this meeting for Small Money Event and taking notes.” These three bosses may not have spoken to each other. Only the admin knows what’s been assigned, and what other things she also has to do (billing, etc.). So, Anaamika has to demonstrate her ability to prioritize, but needs to communicate what she is doing so none of the three feel she is ignoring their requests or slacking off. I think this can be acheive by asking for feedback / consensus from the bosses.

For example, tell all three your plan for the day, and give them the opportunity for input. “The mailing will take 4 hours start to finish and the meeting is from 2 - 4. I have 3 hours of accounting work to do today. Boss One, I can call a car detailing place that will come here and get your car, but I’ll need to ask the front desk to handle the details with them when they arrive. Boss Two, I’ll work on the mailing until the meeting starts at 2. Can I pull in Co-Worker X to help anything else that might come up? Co-worker Y, while you’re out, could you please pick up some lunch for me? Here’s $10. And after the meeting, All Bosses, I’ll be doing my own stuff, so please understand that. And the billing won’t be done until tomorrow morning.”

At the very least, they’ll be impressed with your initiative and your skills. At best, Boss One will say, you know what, I’ll take the car at noon, and I’ll bring you back some lunch." Boss Two will say, “Good idea asking Co-Worker X for help. She’s been looking for more to do.” And Boss Three might just say, “Thanks.”

I think Anaamika is on target when she says that the boss is trying to inflate himself by having her come along on business meetings.

I’m a professional administrative assistant. When my former manager, G, was first transferred into my department, he asked me to attend one of his business dinners at his country club. The topic was the supply chain, of which I have NO experience or interest. Um, and why would I want to attend a Supply Chain meeting? There was certainly no business need for me to attend. So I told him, nicely, that sorry, my evenings were reserved for my family.

Now I suspected him motives for inviting me were twofold: 1) he wanted to impress me by taking me to his country club; and/or 2) he wanted to impress his business associates by having his assistant attend. (In our company, assistants to high level managers will occasionally attend meetings in order to take notes, trouble shoot technical issues that might arise with the videoconference/LCD projector, etc. ).

Another thought, one that I suspected of my former boss, is that he’s attracted to Anaamika and is creating excuses to spend private time with her.

To answer the OP, instead of saying, “That’s not part of my job.” I’d simply say, “Thank you for the offer, but I don’t have the time to take on any more responsibilities right now.”

So someone besides me has done Priority Management training? :slight_smile:

You said, basically word for word, what I was going to say.
All of the job descriptions at my company end with “and anything else that is asked of you” - being reasonable people, we all know that “anything” precludes illegal or harrassing duties.