"I don't get paid enough for that."

(Too mild for the Pit, really…)

Am I alone in finding this phrase to be the ultimate cop-out? The most annoying thing a coworker can say, without resorting to direct attacks on others?

I find this being used fairly often by people who are actually well-paid to begin with, in response to questions about why they don’t do something that’s inarguably part of their job. I will use today’s episode as an example:

Me: “Hey, where were you this morning? I called your cell like five times; we had an outage going on.”

Them: “Oh yeah? When?”

Me: “Starting about 4:30.”

Them: “Oh, I was sleeping, ha ha!”

Me: “But you’re on call this week…”

Them: “Yeah, but they don’t pay me enough for that. I don’t start until 7:00.”
I mean, what the hell is the thought process here? If you disagree with part of your job duties or are incapable of doing them, find another damn job already!

What really pisses me off about it, I suppose, is that invariably these folks don’t have the balls to admit to management the same thing they’ll admit to their coworkers (like me). If management were asking the questions, it’d be “The phone must’ve been out of service” or “I never got the call” or other BS like that.

Is this considered a ‘legitimate’ reason for not doing things you’re supposed to? To me it seems like saying, “I don’t like it so I just won’t do it, neener neener neener!”


That is really obnoxious. I’ve only uttered the phrase when, literally, I didn’t get paid enough to ADD that thing to my list of job duties, seeing as it wasn’t part of them to begin with. Babysit the bosses’ kids while trying to answer phones and greet clients and do the payroll and get the bank deposit ready? I don’t get paid enough for that.

No it is not a legitimate reason in my mind in this case. If you are on call 24-7 for a week (my job also requires it, I hate it but I do it and I answer well before the expected response time) you turn up your cell phone so it wakes you. This is part of the job. However it is a legitimate reason if you are asked to say work on weekend moving desks even though you are only paid to cover that client from M-F 9-5.

Ah, Sofaspud, we can deal with that in my office. If one of my guys calls the on-call and they don’t get a response back within the allotted time, we call their manager. It only takes 1-2 times of their manager getting the escalation for them to stop that crap.

I’ve muttered it to myself, but only in context of griping about something I’m going to do anyway but not looking forward to.

The other variant is “That’s a decision that’s made above my pay scale,” meaning that is something the high muckymucks have decided or will decide in their infinite wisdom, and to which I am bound but for which I am not responsible.

There are legitimate uses for the phrase, though - the bottom rung call center guy doesn’t get paid enough for me to scream at him, so if I’m spitting fire when he answers I ask to be transferred up the line. He doesn’t get paid enough for that.

Good example. I’ve also seen it used by someone being asked to do something clearly beyond their job description, much as WhyNot describes.

But the way it was used in the situation Sofaspud describes is much more than annoying, it’s an outright falsehood. As Queuing implies, if this is part of your job, and you knew it was part of your job when you were hired, then you are paid enough to do that.

So, nice little rant, Sofaspud, even if you didn’t put it in the Pit.

I admit, I use the phrase-- but only when people ask me why I don’t handle venomous snakes.

Since handling venomous snakes is not actually one of my job responsibilities, I always thought this was an acceptable response.

I hate this phrase. Its up there with the concept that low-paid workers shouldn’t have to be polite or make an effort with customers. My view is that if you have a job then you do it fully and to the best of your ability. DO NOT give me crap about being some poor put-upon little thing who is being stiffed by their employers and therefore has a right to be rude to me. When I was younger I worked a lot of customer service jobs and I did them honestly and well - its not that hard to act decently. If you don’t think you get paid enough then get another job. If you’re not capable of holding down a better job then you will have to stick with the one you have and do it with good grace.

er…</rant>. Sorry, went off on one a bit there.

I used it once, when my boss asked me for a neck rub.

I’m house sitting for my parents this week. I volunteered for the job and am not getting paid at all. My responsibilities include keeping the dog and the plants alive and, preferably, not burning down the house. Of course, as soon as my parents leave the dog gets diarrhea. I thought the phrase, might have muttered it out loud, but then I sucked it up and got really good at cleaning carpets. Sometimes a job sucks, but you just have to deal with it and move on. Is this really such an out there idea?

No, I don’t like the phrase either if it’s being used as an excuse not to do one’s job.

I strongly agree with the escalation thing. They don’t answer, you call the next person on the list. Their boss doesn’t care? Find one who does, starting with your own.

What part of “on call” does this person not understand?
Having said that, there are times when you do not get paid enough to do the task or put up with the shit. Then you gotta stand your ground and take the heat.

On my own job, a couple of months ago I refused to unplug a dorm toilet that was overflowing with feces. I refused to even walk into the room, because it had overflowed onto the floor and my old boots had a hole in them. That is not part of my job description and I do not get paid enough to consider doing that. That’s why they have cleaning crews, maintenance people and plumbers.

I had a job once where I was taking much more crap that the minimum wage I was making could account for.
I quit.
I decided that I literally didn’t get paid enough to put up with that job. Problem solved.

I agree that the person who is on call is using that as BS excuse. If your job requirements specify that you are on call, then you are getting paid for that. If you think you are not paid enough to merit answering your phone at the butt crack of dawn, find a new job.

As I get paid on commission, based on taking excellent care of my customers, that phrase has never crossed my lips. But as I am reasonably well respected. I have never been asked to do anything too out of line. Yet.

I hate this phrase, and it’s close cousin, “That’s not my job.”

Look, if you work for the company, and I don’t; if you are the service provider and I am the customer; then I frankly don’t care what you get paid for or what your job is – if you can’t help me with a problem that your company should be addressing, then transfer me to someone who can help me. Because IMO it certainly is your job, whatever your actual job duties are, to assist a customer to the best of your ability, because customers are what makes your company run.

So I don’t have a problem with “You’ve reached shipping; let me transfer you to accounting” – IOW, “that’s not my job, but I’ll send you to the person whose job it is.” I have a BIG problem with “that’s not my department” or “that’s not my section” or “that’s not my job.”

That’s how I take it. I’ve also said stuff like, “That’s why he gets the corner office” or “That’s why she gets the big bucks.” With greater pay comes greater responsibility, and I refused to deal with bitchy customers when I worked at Panera…that’s why we have a manager.

I was once told “I get paid too much to do that”.

This was a programmer from another department that decided he needed some specific piece of hardware. It was fairly well known that I would hunt down obscure shit for my boss (especially since it usually made my job easier). This obnoxious twit comes up and tells me, out of the blue, that he needs whateveritwas. I respond “Well, why don’t you order it then?” No, he expects me too do it (and charge it to our budget rather than his) because he’s far too important to waste his time on such trivial matters.

Doesn’t really have anything to do with the OP, I guess, but there’s my story.

I once decided that I didn’t get paid enough to be on call 24/7 (it was while driving home at 3:00 AM through a blizzard), but I got another job instead of pissing off coworkers. Seemed to make more sense.

> Its up there with the concept that low-paid workers shouldn’t have to be polite or make an effort with customers. My view is that if you have a job then you do it fully and to the best of your ability.

Mmm. There is a balance here, perhaps. I think that people who are not interested in working but have to survive should be able to opt for some sorts of jobs that don’t pay well and that accept partially committed employees. This allows for members of society whose interests lie entirely outside of their work. It also allows for very economically hiring people to do some minimally valuable and intrinsically limited work. IMHO it is good that both of these things are possible, even though it’s a much happier situation when challenging, open-ended opportunities and enthusiastic, helpful, versatile people fine one another.

And, taking care of customers would NOT be an example of “minimally valuable and intrinsically limited work”, so I agree with Jodi.

I agree with many others that there is a time and place for the phrase. The example you gave is neither, though.

I’m an electrical engineer by profession, and an EMT by hobby for lack of a better word. I’ve been told many times that I ought to become a Paramedic, but honestly, I couldn’t justify it unless I was in a paid position. My standard response to them is that I couldn’t afford the pay cut.

OTOH, one of the catch phrases in my fire department is, “You can’t pay me to run into a burning building. I’m a volunteer.”