Ask Alicia: A column by Alicia Lamb

Dear Alicia,
I recently started a new job that I absolutely love. In the past few days, my employer has started asking me to do other duties that are not in my job description, such as collect rent from his rental properties, check on the apartments and call his doctor to make arrangements for his wife to pick up his medications just to name a few. It’s not that big of a deal but I am only paid minimum wage for the job I was hired for. Should I just do what he asks and be thankful to have a job, or should I refuse unless he pays me more?
Sincerely,
Flustered
In a situation such as this one, it’s hard to know what to do. On one hand, you have a job you love, but now have extra work to do that wasn’t described to you when you accepted the position. Let’s start at the beginning. When you interviewed for the position, were you given a written job description? If so, did it include language such as “and other duties deemed necessary” or something close to that? If so, then I’m sorry to tell you that you are pretty much on the hook, because he may think these additional duties are covered under that clause.
If you weren’t given a written job description, then you have a little more leeway to decide if he’s taking advantage of you. Do you have enough work to keep you busy all day doing just what you were hired to do? Do these extra duties prevent you from performing your job to the best of your ability? If you have time to do everything he asks in a normal work day, then maybe it would be a good idea to just leave well enough alone for now. If he sees that you are capable of handling everything, he may offer you a raise after you’ve worked there for awhile. It’s been my experience that most employers would rather pay one competent employee a little more, than have two or three incompetent employees doing one person’s job. It’s simple math and saves them money in the long run.
Now let’s look at the flip side of this situation. Do you feel like he appreciates the extra work you are doing? Does he recognize that what he asks is above and beyond your job description and thank you for going the extra mile to help? Or does he just tell you to do the extra work and expect it to be done with no thanks? If you were hired to do a certain job and then take on extra responsibilities, you have every right to ask for an increase in pay.
My advice to you is this – think about the situation logically, and look at all sides. If you still feel he is taking advantage of you, then approach him in a professional manner, and let him know you’d like to discuss your additional responsibilities and possibly an increase in pay. Be prepared to present your case describing why you believe you deserve a raise. But, at the same time, prepare yourself to be turned down. If you’ve only been there a short time, this may be a trial period to see what you are capable of before he increases your pay. Or he may have no intention of raising your pay at all. Either way, you are ultimately in control of what happens. Each and every person should know their worth (personally and professionally) and what they will and won’t accept. Decide what you are worth, and don’t compromise if you truly believe someone is taking advantage of you.
So for now, loyal readers, I’ll leave you with this quote to ponder during the week. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” —Eleanor Roosevelt. Believe in yourself and what you are capable of. Never let anyone make you feel like you are inferior. It’s your self-worth – take in positive energy and it will improve. Or take in negative energy and it will get worse. You are in control of your life, no one else.
Bright Blessings, Peace and Happiness,
Alicia

 

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