DEAR HARRIETTE: I am doing things at work that are not part of my job description, and I’m not getting paid for them. I’m well respected at my job, which is why people trust me with these tasks, and while I don’t mind doing favors once in a while, I’m not getting paid for these favors. It’s becoming a pattern. I work for a small business, and I’m very close to everyone. There’s a sense of loyalty among all of the co-workers. How should I approach this situation without burning bridges or causing conflict? Should I ask to get paid, or should I just stop doing the tasks entirely? -- Drawing the Line
DEAR DRAWING THE LINE: On one hand, especially in small offices, people tend to pitch in and handle functions that need to be addressed simply because there is a need. On the other hand, these duties should either be shared by office mates or assigned to a particular person as a job responsibility.
This is a tricky situation. I recommend that you observe and evaluate it carefully. Make sure you are not being too sensitive. Are these extra duties so far beyond your scope of work that they should be handled by another? Or should your job responsibilities expand to include these tasks? Do you believe you deserve additional compensation to do them? Or are they distracting you from completing your job? Does anyone else have random additional job functions to fulfill?
After your evaluation, speak to your supervisor. Explain that you are a team player, but you feel uncomfortable having to take on these functions that are outside your scope of work. Point out that only you are being asked to do these things -- if that is true. What seems fair is for extra tasks to be evenly divided if there is no set person to handle them. Just know that pitching in is considered an asset at a job, as long as it isn’t abused by your employer.