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Assigned duties that aren't in my job description


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Old 8th March 2014, 11:18 AM   #1
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Assigned duties that aren't in my job description

Hey All. I am a case manager for a non-profit so that generally means that we are perpetually understaffed and over-worked. About 6 months ago I got a new supervisor. In the beginning there were a few bumps in the road between she and I but things have evened out and I now view our relationship as one of team members. She isn't a micro-manager and I mostly feel supported and trusted to work independently. When she was hired we were informed that we were grossly over budget, upper management decided to cut a position. They chose to cut the janitor who had worked there for 12 years. Other than intermittent volunteers, since then we have had no steady cleaning staff. A few staff, including my supervisor, have pitched in to clean up around the building when time permits. We all thought that eventually it would become clear to management that it is necessary to have someone, even if only part-time, to clean regularly. Well yesterday my boss walks into my office and hands me a cleaning schedule. On it I see that I am scheduled to clean 5 days per week. Bathrooms, hallways, the lobby and a client break area. I am a team player, I have been helping out with all of these things when I have time but seeing my name scheduled to clean the bathrooms made my blood boil. As I said before I, as well as my co-workers, are already over-worked with our regular duties.

I couldn't even talk to my boss yesterday. I think she sensed this and we both avoided each other for the day, it isn't hard to do because there is so much to do we don't really have time to talk most days anyway. I know I will have to talk about it with her next week so I'm trying to formulate a positive way to say that I am not a janitor and don't appreciate having time taken from already insane caseload to clean toilets. To make things even more frustrating, a support staff was let go in December due to poor performance so we have had to absorb those duties as well.

Any thoughts on how to talk about this with her? I'm hoping that my feelings of anger and resentment fade before Monday so that I don't end up reactionary discussion and say things that may reflect badly. I'm just very upset by this. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 8th March 2014, 11:56 AM   #2
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Instead of refusing, do it for a week or two THEN have a talk with your boss. At that point, you will have shown that you are a team player and say that you tried but with your caseload, it's too much.
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Old 8th March 2014, 12:23 PM   #3
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Start looking for another job. You already know the staffing / funding problems. Cleaning is an all hands on deck task. If you are the only one getting stuck doing it, ask if the schedule can be more evenly distributed but other than coming to her with a solution, you don't really have a leg to stand on.

The only people who can refuse to do tasks outside of their job description have a written contract backed by a collective bargaining unit / union.
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Old 8th March 2014, 2:21 PM   #4
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does the schedule show the cleaning schedule for everyone? does everyone have to clean 5 days per week? you should at least be able to see if everyone else has a fair distribution of duties or if you are being asked to do too much. you could also ask for it to be addressed at the next staff meeting. sometimes being a 'good' employee works to your disadvantage because managers see you as very willing to help and often approach you before going to a ore troublesome employee; being good might actually be a disadvantage. I'd make sure there is equal distribution of duties first; if you're being singled out or given more that is a problam. but if everyone is required to do the same then it's more fair
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Old 8th March 2014, 2:48 PM   #5
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take your pick: Incompetence or Embezzlement

When a key support role like the janitor is cut from the payrolls, it means someone doesn't know how to run a business and/or somebody in "upper management" is skimming off the top. Either way it's not looking good. I'd get out of there. No way would I take on janitorial duty.
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Old 8th March 2014, 2:53 PM   #6
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When a key support role like the janitor is cut from the payrolls, it means someone doesn't know how to run a business and/or somebody in "upper management" is skimming off the top. Either way it's not looking good. I'd get out of there. No way would I take on janitorial duty.
It's a non-for-profit...dependent on donations & funding, not revenue.management has no control of budget cuts or decreased donations.
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Old 8th March 2014, 4:08 PM   #7
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I worked for a small business owner in which we would occasionally do thinks outside of job description...although we usually had the time since we didn't have much work. In your case if you feel like you are constantly overworked and understaffed and the company won't do anything about it anytime soon, I would look or other work, especially if you're not getting paid more to do so much more work.
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Old 8th March 2014, 5:22 PM   #8
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It's a non-for-profit...dependent on donations & funding, not revenue.management has no control of budget cuts or decreased donations.
Which is why I been laid off 4 times in five years because of working non-profit. I hope to some day be out of non-profit
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Old 9th March 2014, 1:38 PM   #9
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Now is as good a time as any to start looking! Good luck to you!
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Old 9th March 2014, 1:50 PM   #10
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I am not a janitor and don't appreciate having time taken from already insane caseload to clean toilets.
I have a couple of thoughts on this..

One is that I agree you should look for another job, not because they are having you clean toilets or the company is failing but because they didn't run these things by you, if I ask someone to do something that isn't part of their normal job duties then I ask them them and don't tell them to help me.

Another thought, if someone asked me to clean the toilets I would, in fact I have cleaned the toilets of my own employees many times and even for a couple of years when times were tough; so the idea that you should be insulted to clean toilets is really just your ego talking, what you should be insulted about is being treated as a number and not a person when it comes to your job.

I wouldn't do it then tell them you aren't going to do it, that IMO isn't being a team player.
I would however discuss your schedule with your boss and discuss why they are paying you to clean toilets since it isn't part of the scope of your job but doing so in manner that allows them to see that you are a team player but not one to be taken advantage of.

The flip side of making waves is that you might find yourself without a job soon which is why the advice to look for another job is good advice, it sounds like it is time for you to move on up.
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Old 9th March 2014, 4:21 PM   #11
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The OP is in a tough situation because if he starts requesting time off they will know it's for a interview and may get rid of him before he is ready to leave

Looks like the only way out is from a strong connection
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Old 10th March 2014, 9:52 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input everyone. I thought about it over the weekend and have decided to follow the schedule without talking to my boss about it right now. I plan to take the advice of Donnivain and see how the cleaning affects my work time, then approach it with my supervisor if it gets in the way. If I am unable to perform my scheduled cleaning for the day I will let her know and say why. She usually asks me for feedback on decisions that affect my work directly so there is a good chance that she will bring it up to me one day this week. If she does, I'll be honest about my feelings on the subject.

I did look over my job description, there is a clause that says "any other duties as assigned" so either way I know I have to do it. I absolutely love my job and do not plan to look for another. This would is not enough to cause me to want to leave. My feelings when I made this post were reactionary, I knew that and it's why I didn't talk to my boss about it then.

To address Art Critic's post: My biggest issue with this cleaning is that I am now scheduled to do cleaning that I already perform for the most part, just on my own schedule. The toilets I am talking about are not for staff, they are for individuals with various disabilities. There are 3 bathrooms in the building and one of them is a large locker room with 3 stalls for our folks. Some of them have accidents which I regularly help them clean up. As I said before, I already do this, now I am expected to help more. Bathrooms aren't the only issue, we have a large cafeteria that I clean on Fridays with the help of one of my individual's now I have that plus another room to do that day. I have a caseload that is much larger than that of my co-worker because I am trained under 2 different state requirements, he is not. I am very much a team player with already very little time to complete work that is deadline sensitive.

Regardless, I still like my job and after thinking it over I can see that my boss is just trying make the budget work and struggling to be successful where several of her predecessors were not. I looked the schedule over again today and see that myself, my supervisor and one other staff are scheduled for cleaning 5 days per week. 3 other staff in the building are scheduled for 3 days. It's not fair but I'm going to do it and see how it affects my work day.
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Old 13th March 2014, 5:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Real36 View Post
Thanks for the input everyone. I thought about it over the weekend and have decided to follow the schedule without talking to my boss about it right now. I plan to take the advice of Donnivain and see how the cleaning affects my work time, then approach it with my supervisor if it gets in the way. If I am unable to perform my scheduled cleaning for the day I will let her know and say why. She usually asks me for feedback on decisions that affect my work directly so there is a good chance that she will bring it up to me one day this week. If she does, I'll be honest about my feelings on the subject.

I did look over my job description, there is a clause that says "any other duties as assigned" so either way I know I have to do it. I absolutely love my job and do not plan to look for another. This would is not enough to cause me to want to leave. My feelings when I made this post were reactionary, I knew that and it's why I didn't talk to my boss about it then.

To address Art Critic's post: My biggest issue with this cleaning is that I am now scheduled to do cleaning that I already perform for the most part, just on my own schedule. The toilets I am talking about are not for staff, they are for individuals with various disabilities. There are 3 bathrooms in the building and one of them is a large locker room with 3 stalls for our folks. Some of them have accidents which I regularly help them clean up. As I said before, I already do this, now I am expected to help more. Bathrooms aren't the only issue, we have a large cafeteria that I clean on Fridays with the help of one of my individual's now I have that plus another room to do that day. I have a caseload that is much larger than that of my co-worker because I am trained under 2 different state requirements, he is not. I am very much a team player with already very little time to complete work that is deadline sensitive.

Regardless, I still like my job and after thinking it over I can see that my boss is just trying make the budget work and struggling to be successful where several of her predecessors were not. I looked the schedule over again today and see that myself, my supervisor and one other staff are scheduled for cleaning 5 days per week. 3 other staff in the building are scheduled for 3 days. It's not fair but I'm going to do it and see how it affects my work day.
Be careful with your plan..

I honestly think that you should say something sooner rather than later.
Just..jsut to make the point that this is/should be either much more of a team effort or a short term fallback.

You said you already do 'x, y and z'. Does your Supervisor and the others on the 5 day rota also do extras such as you do on a regular basis?

The supervisor is showing willing - granted.
Is he/she aware of what you do already and how long it takes - plus how long the extra work will take?
For you all and for the team is there anyone you know who needs a job part time who could do all of this?

A team player is brilliant!
However a team player will also look to other avenues to solve the issue the team and company have.
I'm just concerned that you may end up over worked, undervalued and having your caseload decreased due to having to cover cleaning duties.

For the record - I have always worked for profit organisations and I am a Management Accountant.
I did a two week stint covering when we had no cleaners and got 75 for it - cheap but for two weeks it was OK and I did the work during my work time.
I also still dig the snow and grit the carpark..cos our maintenance guy appreciates the help..plus I love snow!

You could go to your boss with a positive solution for you all rather than live with this and possibly feel 'walked upon'.(I know that you don't entirely but..the feeling is there isn't it?!)
Are you a charity? Are there ways you could make some cash to employ someone for a few hours a week?

I do think you should say sooner rather than later that there needs to be a solution to this of some kind though.

I praise your positivity but also..don't be a mug..you can have your say too.
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Old 13th March 2014, 9:57 PM   #14
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The sooner the open discussion the better. Folks are not reading that you were previously helping out thru what was perceived as a temporary hump in the business dynamics. Now that its appearing to be the "Lets all pitch in more " for free, I must ask that you draw the line. Cleaning around ones desk area is common yet taking it to the level of duties set specifically for the janitorial staff is crossing a line. Whether your employment has that nifty clause :"and anything else we ask of you", there are employment laws to protect the individual. Ya see, that clause doesnt mean managment can make you climb a tall building and make you clean the flag pole ( safety issue) or fire you because you declined such. They are accountable in many ways. I would tell them flat out, I did my fair share and you'll need to find another patsy. Should you be injured doing a task that is outside your true nature of hire, there could be further legal action.
Draw the line while its still fresh....
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