Should You Run Personal Errands for Your Boss?
Especially in a tight economy where many workers are looking for any edge possible to maintain employment, going above and beyond one’s job description can be time well spent. Employers value team players who are willing to pitch in as necessary for the good of the organization, and a can-do attitude is a definite asset.
Should this “I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do” mindset, however, extend beyond tasks that are directly related to the business? For instance, (assuming you weren’t hired as a personal assistant) if the boss wants you to pick up his dry cleaning or select a birthday present for his wife, should you?
“Unless it's unethical, immoral, or illegal, the answer to your boss’s request is ‘yes,’” says Alan Vengel, a consultant on workplace issues and author of Twenty Minutes to a Top Performer and The Influence Edge. “You just need to let the boss know that you are working on an ‘A’ priority task or project, and running this personal task will take you away from the completion time of your priority task. When employees don't request the extra time for completion of their real work, they will end up with resentment and bad feelings toward the boss and the job.”
If you’re having trouble with the fact that the task isn’t directly linked to business operations, it might help to view the request in a different manner.
“I always suggest that employees think of their boss as their customer, and sometimes customers request something that is outside of what is normally requested,” Vengel says. “If it’s possible for you to accommodate the request, that’s just good customer service. As long as it’s appreciated and paid for (i.e. more time on regular projects), then you will come out ahead and be seen as more valuable to your boss.”
Have you ever been in this situation? How did it make you feel, and how did you respond? Share your comments below.