A reader writes:
I’m a departmental assistant at my current job. I have been here 2-1/2 years and I like my job, but recently my old boss was let go and a new boss started.
Our company is set up so that each department has an assistant who helps with the administrative work functions for that department. That’s always been my job.
But my new boss is very demeaning and is always telling me to do personal, non-work related tasks for her. I have to pick up her coffee, order her lunch, run out and get her frozen yogurt, schedule her hair salon appointments, work out an issue with the airline for her family vacation, and even go and pick up cupcakes for her kid’s birthday party, all while staying on top of my own department work. None of the other assistants have to do any of this, and I didn’t have to do it in the past. The worst part is that my boss never asks (she leaves stickies on my desk or sends emails) or says thank you for doing any of this. She just assumes because I am the assistant, I have to do it. Her notes and emails generally are the “have this done by this time….” or “I need you to do this before….” variety. In the past, I’ve taken the “this isn’t a priority” approach with her, and she always tell me to do it when I get a chance, and sends follow-up emails/texts and calls until it’s done.
I’m thinking about going to HR, but I don’t want to seem like a whiny, complaining employee. I don’t mind doing my job and I probably wouldn’t mind helping her out with non-work related issues if it wasn’t on a consistent basis.
You can read my answer to this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and often updating/expanding my answers to them).