SCENARIO #1: PICKING UP HER MEALS
What’s acceptable: Occasionally getting your boss’s coffee order on your way to work.
What’s absurd: Being asked to pick up her groceries after office hours.
The first makes you look dependable and caring. The second makes you look like a doormat. Turn her down with a work-related reason like, “Sorry, but I’m tied up rushing out these deadlines.” Then, politely suggest ways she can, you know, do things herself – for instance, slip her the number for a grocery delivery service.
SCENARIO #2: DOING WORK UNRELATED TO YOUR JOB
What’s acceptable: Taking on extra tasks related to your job scope.
What’s absurd: Doing sales even though you’re in logistics.
If this is a temporary arrangement, you can accept these extra duties as a favour to your boss, but make sure she recognises your contributions in your appraisal. If it’s permanent, see if you can negotiate a raise or new job title. If you would like to stick to your current job scope, let her know and see if she can delegate everything else.
SCENARIO #3: PLAYING MATCHMAKER
What’s acceptable: Looking out for a date for your boss’s son.
What’s absurd: Being asked to go on a date with him.
Before you go “What?!”, both are real requests made by bosses here according to a survey by online jobs portal Jobscentral. The first is okay if it’s a casual request. The second, however, encroaches on your time and personal space. Tell her you’re already seeing someone or that you’re too busy.
EXPERT SOURCES: Michelle Lim, chief operating officer from Jobscentral Group; Joanne Chua, associate director at recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Singapore; and Elfarina Zaid, executive coach at ELF Coaching.
This story was first published in Her World magazine March 2014 issue.