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I was hired 8 years ago to be the meetings manager for a small, professional association. We are a small staff and often have to do tasks that don't necessarily fall in our job description. Over time, I was given more and more secretarial type work to do. Recently my boss told me that he wants to add "Executive Assistant" to my title since I was already doing most of the work anyways and he thought I deserved the recognition. I specifically asked if this means that my work load would increase and was told it would not. Now I am a few weeks into this and my responsibilities HAVE increased and I feel the role that I was originally hired for 8 years ago is being put on the back burner (even though the tasks are still important and need to get done).

I want to talk to my boss and tell him that I no longer want this title and just want to go back to doing what I was originally hired for (and I really enjoy it), but I don't know how to approach him without sounding like I'm just complaining. It's not that I am overworked, its just that I do not enjoy these secretarial type tasks. How should I approach this with him?

  • 1
    Hey Larah, was this actually a promotion? It sounds like you just got an additional hat, not that you were actually given a bump in title (at least in my experience, 'Executive Assistant' is read as 'Secretary'). Not trying to be dismissive, just want to make sure the problem is clearly scoped. – jmac Oct 18 '13 at 0:35
  • I personally didn't see it as a promotion but that's the way the boss described it.I also read it as becoming a secretary. There was a small bump in pay, but I will gladly give it back at this point! – Larah Oct 18 '13 at 12:29
  • I am afraid it sounds like you have been had. That's manager language for you. Even if an employee gets "demoted", they would communicate it in a way that makes it sound like a promotion. – Masked Man Oct 19 '13 at 4:59
  • Sounds like something that should be dealt with at a performance review, if it hasn't come up already. – Michael Lai Jul 29 '14 at 23:43
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I have been in this situation before, and this is how I managed to successfully get out of it.

Step 1: Do the dirty work, and do it well.
There is no better way to get your manager solve your problem, than you solving his problem. Sure, it is not pleasant, but sometimes you have to do things, just because your manager tells you to do them.

Step 2: Communicate your concern clearly and politely. Offer an alternative solution.
If you have done Step 1 well, this won't be perceived as a complaint. After all, your manager has seen how much you "love" doing it.

Moreover, offering an alternate solution clearly shows that you are not complaining about your problem, but trying to solve the boss's problem. It doesn't matter if your solution is a good one. For example, you could suggest that you would be willing to train your colleague X to take up this work.

Tip: If you cannot think of a solution, tell this politely to your boss, "I tried to think of a solution, but could not get one. What would you advise?" Works like a charm. Every time.

Keep doing Step 1 and Step 2 until Step 2 is successful. It is very important that if your manager doesn't agree with you, you still maintain the high standard of your work, and remind him once in a while about your concern.

Step 3: Provide complete support to implement the alternative.
Let's say your manager eventually agrees, you should still follow through with your commitment to help implement the alternative. This may or may not be the solution that you suggested, but the better you help implement it, the sooner you can get it over with.

The bottom-line is that it requires plenty of patience, maturity and professionalism to come out of a potentially "boring" work. You just have to keep doing the right things till you get the result that you want.

  • And at the end of the day, this is something you can talk about at your next interview - it shows great professionalism to be able to do what you don't like to do, and do it well, while still communicating with your boss. – Cullub Mar 16 '17 at 16:24
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I want to talk to my boss and tell him that I no longer want this title and just want to go back to doing what I was originally hired for

I think you answered your own question here. As is often the case for questions like these "talk to your boss" is the answer.

Your boss cannot read your mind. He cannot know how you feel about your role unless you tell him.

Find a quiet time to talk with him about your title, your current role, and your career. Express what you like about it, what you don't like about it, and where you would like to see it go.

Now it might be there these tasks that you are currently performing (and which you would rather not perform) must be done, and it's possible that there isn't a better way to get them done. Sometimes, we all have to do some tasks that we'd rather not.

But it might also be possible that they get accomplished some other way, leaving time for you to do the more appealing tasks.

I've been in shops before where people have been promoted beyond their comfort zone, and they felt the need to "take a step back". And I have personally helped some of these folks get themselves "demoted". In those shops it wasn't a problem, it wasn't held against the individual, and everyone was happier for it.

On the other hand, in one shop, I joined as a new manager of an existing team. I needed people on my team to perform new tasks that they didn't really want to perform. Some got on board and performed them. One absolutely didn't want to embrace the new role and just wanted to stay in the old role. Unfortunately, that wasn't possible, so we had to agree that she needed to leave and be replaced by someone who could handle the new tasks.

The only way you'll know for sure is to talk.

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