A reader writes:
I work two part-time jobs. I have been at Job #1 almost a year, and I work Tuesdays/Thursdays. At Job #2, where I’ve been for a month, I am a floating admin between a few of their centers. I was explicitly told this job was three days a week, and my schedule there so far has been Wednesday/Friday/Saturday.
Recently, my boss at Job #2 asked me if I could work Mondays as well. This is not ideal for me, because then my only day off would be Sunday. So I told her that, unfortunately, I could not work Mondays. She seemed upset and stressed, and said, “But you don’t work Mondays at your other job, right? You’re free on Mondays!” I answered that because I work Saturdays, I’d prefer to not work Mondays as well, since it is important to me to have a weekend. Maybe that was a faux pas, I don’t know.
Since then my boss has asked, multiple times, “You sure you’re planning to stay at Job #1?” in kind of a snide tone, or told me “Let me know if you quit that other job.” She makes these comments when trying to schedule things.
I just got an email from a higher-up manager asking to confirm my schedule and asking specifically about my Monday availability. I told them that I was unavailable Mondays.
Am I being unreasonable in wanting to keep my Mondays free? I like camping, so having two days off is important to me. I know that because I am part-time I can’t expect them to prioritize my days off or anything. But I’m also surprised they want to add a fourth day. I was told (verbally) that the job was three days a week. They didn’t mention weekend work when I was hired so I assumed it would be weekdays.
Another concern is that my role was described to me as very admin/secretarial, but I am being asked now to go “marketing,” which means going to shopping centers and give out flyers for our business, and getting interested people’s contact info to call them to set up informational meetings. My boss showed me how she does this and it is very pushy and demanding. They gave me a Meyers Briggs personality test and because of that test, they believe I could be good at sales/marketing if I wanted to be. This is very stressful because, personality tests aside, I do feel I genuinely struggle with this. I do not like pushing people to buy a service they are clearly uninterested in. But my boss is under a lot of pressure to increase sales since her center is not doing well.
That being said, I am good at other parts of my job! I have made the center more organized since I started there. I wish I could focus on the administrative side of things. Is it reasonable of me to ask her to let me off the hook from marketing?
The company is very intense; it is sales-focused and growing. The center directors frequently work six days a week for 12 hours a day. My not wanting to work Mondays and being uncomfortable with marketing is not in line with the company culture. Am I actually unreasonable in these requests?
But that doesn’t mean that they can’t decide that their needs have changed and that they need part of your job to be working Sundays and/or “marketing.” It’s possible that either or both of those things could be the case.
However, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to decide you’re not interested in either of those things and say that clearly and politely.
On the scheduling, I’d say this: “I know you’ve asked me a few times about working on Mondays. It’s really not something that’s possible for me, and I want to make sure that won’t be a problem. Can we stick with the three days a week we agreed to originally?”
If she says no, that at this point they really need the person in your role to add a fourth day, then you can decide at that point whether you’re willing to do it or not, if the job depends on it. But I bet that it doesn’t and that she’s just hoping you’ll agree if she asks enough — and that telling her clearly and firmly that this is not something you’re up for will stop it.
On the expansion of your role to include passing out flyers and calling people to set up informational meetings, I’d address that head-on too. Say something like this: “My understanding when I took the job was that it was heavily administrative and didn’t include marketing work. To be honest, marketing isn’t work that I’d like to do, and I wouldn’t have taken a position that included much of it. Is is possible for me to continue focusing solely on the admin work, like we originally talked about?”
You might hear that no, your role does need to include this stuff. But even that will be helpful, since it will give you more information and at that point you can decide if you want the job under those conditions or not.
For what it’s worth, using your Myers Briggs results to push you into this is silly. It doesn’t really matter if you could be good at the work if you wanted to; the relevant question is whether you want to or not. If you don’t, that’s your prerogative, just as it’s theirs to decide that they do need that.
In any case, start by talking about all of this forthrightly. Often this conversation will lead to them realizing that they’d like you to do something but it’s not a requirement if you clearly state that you’re not interested. Other times, it may not. But this type of conversation is always a reasonable one to have — and it’s much easier when you approach it as “here are my needs and interests; tell me yours, and we can collaboratively figure out hwhether they line up well enough.”