DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work for a public university, and my boss is the head of the division. When I was hired, my duties included supervising his executive assistant, but she was laid off in 2020. My title is not administration-related.
My problem stems from being assigned tasks that I understand were often asked of administrative assistants in years past, but which should no longer be required of the role in modern times (in my opinion). However, perhaps I am mistaken on where the line is currently drawn between business and personal tasks.
These are things like ordering flowers for a colleague of my boss who has suffered a loss; sending a card or food on his behalf to the family; ordering and picking up food as his contribution to an office potluck; sending a fruit basket to a colleague of his who was ill, etc. I don’t usually know the person he is asking me to buy these items for, and do not know their dietary needs or preferences. And writing a card of sympathy for someone I don’t know feels icky.
Even before his executive assistant was laid off, I was often asked to do these things. I consider the requests to be inappropriate and personal in nature, not business-related. They are things he could ask his spouse for help with, if he really couldn’t do it himself (which he could, he just doesn’t want to). He is paying for these items with his own funds and they are from him directly, not the university or the division.
These duties were not mentioned in the job description for which I was hired and, frankly, feel sexist in nature: He is not asking any of his male employees for help in these areas.
Miss Manners: My husband’s colleagues won’t talk to me. Am I allowed to knit at their events?
Miss Manners: Strangers call to accuse me of being heartless
Miss Manners: I dumped his gifts at his door to make a point, and now I want them back
Miss Manners: How did her houseguest problem end up in my lap?
Miss Manners: I was appalled that they sold raffle tickets at their wedding
Am I overreacting to being asked to do these things, or do I have a legitimate complaint? Is there anything I can say to politely convey that these requests make me uncomfortable?
I am concerned that if I object, I will put myself on my boss’s bad side and …read more
Source:: The Mercury News