(Closed) Are my co-workers dumping work on me…or is this just my job?

posted 4 years ago in Career
Post # 16
5635 posts
Bee Keeper

The dishes would piss me off. Like what kind of professional brings their dishes to their assistant? Our office actually has a person for that but the role is clear and people stack them up in an orderly manner and throw out trash and clean up after themselves for the most part. In fact if I brought dishes to get workstation I think I’d get an earful.

When someone nags me I always say let me look at my workload and get back to you. Incessant calls for non emergencies ate ignored until I have time. If I don’t have time and I’m working on something for say Boss Bob, I ask nagger if its urgent? Then I say ok let me talk to Boss Bob to see if his project is urgent and I’ll get back to you.   

Post # 17
590 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017 - Nepal

View original reply
rebeccasum :  I’m an executive assistant to the CEO of two corporations, one in CA and one in FL. Oy. I feel your pain. You are the jack of all trades, which can be extremely overwhelming. I have the same gripes as you do. People who I do not directly work for always come to me requests.  I do things for others when I should many times say no. I even have executives come to me for things that THEIR OWN EA should handle. When my plate is spilling over, I bring it to my bosses attention without being the tattle take. If my boss asks me to do something I’ll say “I’m currently working on x, y and z for so and so. When would you like this completed by?” That totally squashes my co-workers requests because I am his assistant, not theirs. 

Post # 18
3820 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

Putting dirty dishes on your desk for you? No way! I don’t care if they’re the flipping CEO, that is incredibly rude. You should bring it up.

Post # 19
375 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
rebeccasum :  For the person making repeated requests, I would say ‘ I am a bit busy, all requests need to go through ‘insert VPs name”. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Post # 20
1001 posts
Bumble bee

My partner used to be a custodial supervisor.  Even the custodians generally don’t do other people’s dishes – their job is to clean the facility, not clean up other people’s messes.  If there are dirty dishes in the sink, they remove the dishes, clean the sink, and put the dishes back.  Asking you to do this is far beyond your job description.

Post # 21
13951 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Leaving their dishes on your desk is incredibly inappropriate.  I would move them from my desk to the sink and leave them there for the culprit.  If meeting rooms are left a mess, I would email the person who used the room last with, “Hey Joe, I see the conference room still has materials left from your meeting.  Please come back to gather them as soon as you can so the room will be ready for the next meeting.”  And cc their supervisor. 

Some of the things you named would fall on an admin, in my opinion, like setting up letterhead or mailing things.  I think YOU need to establish what your job duties are with your direct supervisor, and then enforce the lines that are established.  I’m certain your boss would be unimpressed with people asking you to do their dishes. 

Post # 22
1296 posts
Bumble bee

Tell them to ask your boss if they have requests for your time. That should squelch it. I used to work as a graphic designer for the development portion of a nonprofit, and I can’t tell you how many times people would ask me to just mock up a quick few logos for them, or a flyer, or even personal stuff! My boss was so annoyed because I would take it on and then have to stay late to do the things that were actually in my job description. So finally all requests had to go through her, and they stopped pretty much immediately. 

Post # 23
9388 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

I’d have a talk with the boss about expectations.

Just let him know “These maid-type tasks impact my ability to do the work I thought I was hired to do.  They are very time consuming and frankly it’s a little surprising you’d have an executive assistant do janitorial work.  That said, I’m here for you so if this is what you need me to do, I’ll do it.  Is this in fact how you want me to spend my energy and attention through the day?  I want to make sure that I do the best job for you that I can and doing that means I need to know what your expectations are.”

If he says yes, he wants you to do the dishes then I’d say “ok, good to know! I’ll handle it.” and then.. do the dishes (and look for work elsewhere).

Otherwise, come up with a solid job description that you agree on which explicitly says you do NOT spend time on X chores, then as a follow up write an email to him saying “this is what we spoke about–correct?” so that he has to respond “yep” so you have it in writing.

Then you’re free to tell your co-workers, straight up, while ccing your boss, “hi Felicia, I apologize for any inconvenience, but going forward I’ll be focusing on the job I was hired to do and will be making a concious effort not divert so much of my time to doing secretarial favors for others around the office.  Thanks for understanding.”

Post # 24
5891 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

For that woman who keeps dumping work on you

“I’d be glad to help you by doing X. I currently have assignments fo VP that take priority. I can can to your assignment 3 days from now”( or you’ll have it by COB Monday, or whatever is 3 days from now LOL)


“I’d be glad to help you by doing X. However, I only take work assignments from VP. If you need me to assist you, please bring it up with VP. He/she will then assign it to me and I can properly prioritize it”

As women, we have to be careful how we push back. Just saying NO can have repercussions. It sucks but it’s true. So, try to say YES but…here is my boundary. 

I was temping once and working on a project scanning documents. My computer was in use, but all I could do was sit there and read until that batch was completed. Then I stuck the next batch in. Other employees complained that I wasn’t helping them with admin work. I enthusiastically told my boss I’d be glad to help them. I just thought his priority was to complete the scanning project. But if his priorities had changed, then just tell me what to do. At that point, he realized, with my help, that he wanted the scanning project done. And told all the other people that it was my priority and to back off. And that is how I spent 4 months getting paid $18/hr to read books LOL 

Post # 25
3212 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think you need to get better at saying “sorry, I’m occupied today.” Taking issues about dishes to your boss isn’t going to make it seem like you can take care of things yourself. Someone asking you to send out meeting requests who isn’t your boss? Forward them your mailing list and say “the message will probably be clearer coming from you.” Try to find a professional way to manage your own time and it’s going to look better when you go to your boss and say, “here is the issue I’ve noticed, here is my potential solution, what do you think?” Rather than, “here is the issue I’ve noticed, please fix it for me.”

Post # 26
729 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Hey, so I’m a group admin at my company (for a group of 35 people) and also am considered the assistant to the EVP of my group, and I think that what the others in your group are asking you to do is too much. Unfortunately, they are leaving you no choice but to put your foot down. The dirty dishes on your desk are completely unnacceptable. If you know who it is who’s doing that, I would say something right away. If not, I would leave a note on your desk informing them not to leave dirty dishes there. Also, not cleaning up themselves after a meeting is also not acceptable. I would maybe make an exception if it’s a C level exec within the company, but otherwise you should tell people to clean up after themselves. 

I agree with other pp’s about discussing with your boss your responsibilities. It doesn’t have to be a big deal or sound like you’re complaining, just say something to them along the lines of “…asked me to do this for them but I am busy doing xyz for you so I told them I do not have time.” I also agree with the others about bringing up the need for an admin if you are the one being asked to do all of this.

Even though I’m the admin for my group, I still don’t always have the time to complete certain things I’m asked to do, and I let people know. It sounds like that one woman at work things you are her assistant too, I would clear that up with her/HR/your boss in a nice, professional way.

As assistants, it’s up to us to push back if people are asking too much of us or crossing boundaries!

Post # 27
1292 posts
Bumble bee

I think you have rec’d some good advice here, so I don’t have a whole lot to add… but I would have a genuine, open and frank conversation with your boss. I would take the job description that you have…. and add on all the ‘new’ things that you’re responsible for since the job has changed so much since you started. Then also provide a list of things that you are being asked to do, and ask for clarity on what your responsibilities specifically are.

He/she should know that you are being asked to do thing like print letters for others, clean up others’ dishes, etc. Then ask, ‘so if you are saying that I am not responsible for X, Y and Z… then how do you want me to respond when so-and so asks me to do these things and complains when I don’t?’

Something comparable happened to me many years ago and my boss ended up sending an email and having a conversation with those that asked me to do stuff that HE agreed weren’t my responsibility.

Good luck, bee… let us know what happens!

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