I will say this to you, in the hopes that its clear I mean all of those in higher education jobs.
You are not above work
One of the most frustrating things in academia is the entitlement. The sciences (to be the most general) require a lot of high level reasoning, knowledge and understanding of often many disciplines. This includes programming, mathematics, money play, people management, robotics, physics, 3d modelling and and and and and and into infinity.
And time and time again, somehow the tiny mastery of all these subjects somehow injects the idea that these people are better than everyone else and better than the work.
You are not. No-one who works is. You are not so special, none of your coworkers are or your boss. All people in the cogworks have things to do in the machinery.
The only way to become above work, is to be born rich, (or if in the rare case you come into riches, then that too) or to stop working.
Work is work. While not all work is equal. All work is work. Someone is paying you to do work. Someone is waiting for you to finish your work, so they can do their work, and someone is waiting for that person to get their job done, so they can get their job done, and we all get paid.
If you are working, there are few good reasons to refuse to work.
- Your or others personal safety.
- Your or others personal moral lines have been crossed
- You hate your job and life and hate everything and you just quit.
- Others reasons too much to count for.
If you are a working employee, and someone is paying you to do things for them, your refusal of too 'trivial' work tells far too much about you and your opinion of the company.
- You're not a team player
- You don't see the larger picture (as mentioned, more people work at the same company with the same goal)
- You somehow think you're better than everyone else
- You lack vision
I don't intend this to be an attack on you specifically or those who work in higher sciences jobs. I get how much it sucks to be doing boring things. I too have suffered the same fate of doing menial tasks that I can't stand being a part of.
But as a working person, who is in it for the long haul, and the success of my company and the success of my coworkers. If I need to answer phones for a day, do boring maths or 3d model squares, but I get these done perfectly, accurately and quickly. I succeed as a hardworking individual who doesn't complain, the company doesn't sit in a standstill because someone called in sick, or someone else is overworked and just can't get their part done entirely or whatever reason it is you ended up getting stuck doing whatever it is you're doing and we all win.
On top of getting that work done quickly so I can get back to other challenging things, it's also quickly over. Since it was trivial for me.
If you happen to be getting stuck strangely always doing very very menial tasks (cleaning the building comes to mind...) then this may be symptom of a company or manager that might be trying to get you to quit or some other personal agenda. At this point it is probably good to refuse work...but that might be grounds for your dismissal and exactly what they wanted to begin with.
TO get to your points directly:
Refusing to do work doesn't impose any message that you're intelligent. It tells you're not a team player, you can't help others, and the company success isn't in your vision. There is no contextual message to be read that you need more challenging work, just that you will arbitrary refuse work.
It will prevent people from coming back to you, but it will also prevent people who have the interesting jobs from coming to you. Because you might refuse to do it if all of a sudden you're too challenged, you can't be trusted.
On top of this, it only takes so many refusals before management starts to notice and wonder why you work there at all.
But you already recognised these tidbits some.
So to answer your own question.
Are you above work, or not?