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I work as a mechanical designer but am asked to move warehouse goods averaging 20kgs per box.

The mechanical work I do is drafting designs for HVAC and plumbing layouts for residential/commercial/industrial developments, both new and those up for renovation. This is vastly opposite from being a warehouse grunt, which my employer has me act as on a daily basis.

I am not only supposed to complete my drafting work assigned by multiple senior engineers, but I am also forced to unload/load warehouse boxes averaging 20kgs upwards to 40kgs and make deliveries that take up to 2 hours per trip. Additionally, I'm also in charge of performing construction site reviews at least twice a week, which take up another 3-4 hours minimum between travel time, site assessment time, and returning to the office to write a report.

There is no overtime paid or banked, but the unwritten rule is that if your work isn't done, you're to stay behind until it is.

Initially when I was hired, my employer told me that I would have to "help out" in the warehouse on occasion, but in the recent years (I've been here for 7), he's made it a point that it is part of my job, even if my workload is overflowing with actual engineering work with real deadlines outlined by him.

The warehouse operates as a separate entity than the engineering firm and the work is completely unrelated. Every time I've approached him in the past (we have no HR, only an office admin who's also approached him regarding the issue as well to no avail), he's responded with a "too bad for you" attitude and shrugged, ending the conversation.

To top it all off, my employer is also one of my high school friends' dad, which was how I was offered the job in the first place. It doesn't help with the dynamic between what seems like him feeling like he can overstep boundaries like this and me feeling like I don't have a say in the situation. I know my friend won't have an issue, should any friction really develop between my employer and I, and I've honestly paid my dues at this point after 7 years here, full-time.

What would be your guys' approach to the situation?

Other notes:

  • Salary is hard to replicate.
  • I lack certification for the mechanical work I actually do and this field does not interest me enough for me to obtain education for it.
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    @KingDuken Yes, this was the exact scenario this morning when he was ripped into for not unloading the inventory on Friday while he was out for 6 hours doing site reviews and only returned to have to rush the deadline for a job for said employer. The employer most definitely gave him the impression that the warehouse inventory was as high priority as all of that, if not more important. – user64081 Feb 24 at 18:55
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this question needs to be about an actual problem that you're personally having. It can't be about someone else who says 'no' to every possible suggestion and who's not even here to answer our questions. – Stephan Branczyk Feb 24 at 19:12
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    In a comment below you clarified that you're the admin, asking on behalf of the actual first person in your question. What does that person actually want to do? You've stated that they don't have a certification for the mechanical design work, but you've also said they don't want to do that work. It's pretty clear that they don't want to do this particular job any more (or warehouse work in general). That doesn't really leave anything to go on. – dwizum Feb 24 at 19:31
  • “I am also forced to unload/load warehouse boxes averaging 20kgs upwards to 40kgs“ Are you doing this by yourself? IIRC Workplace Health and Safety bans lifting anything over 20kgs without assistance, at least down here in Australia. – nick012000 Feb 24 at 20:14
  • Are qualifications for the position required for any reason? Legal, industry standard, etc. (In other words, are qualifications still necessary even if you have experience?) – Mars Feb 25 at 2:44
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You sucked this up for 7 years? Time to move on - you have experience and skills someone else will value.

As for discussing it - yet again... you have tried that both direct and indirect, so your move.

Skills you have:

1) warehouse management & delivery scheduling

2) reporting construction site progress

3) the hvac / air handling design skills based on real experience now.

So, go for it. All the best.

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    Absolutely fair. I'm actually the said admin asking for him, because he's a fairly introverted person. I've told him (as well as his friends) that he needs to find a different place to be, but the pay is honestly hard to replicate and he lacks actual certification for the work he does, so he feels trapped in this situation. – user64081 Feb 24 at 18:53
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    @user64081 Ok, fair enough, tough call... – Solar Mike Feb 24 at 18:55
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    @user64081 If the missing certifications you mention are related to the mech designing, he should actively work on getting them (pay out of pocket if needed) and jump ship. Also, someone who can't ask for help himself after 7 years of this mess really needs to work on being less introverted too! – Alok Feb 24 at 20:21
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    Being introverted is one thing, letting your boss force you to do menial labor outside of your job description for 7 years without making any sort of fuss is a whole different thing. I hate to be blunt, but the term is "cowardice". Changing jobs won't help if he is willing to let people walk all over him like that. It will just end up happening again at the next place unless he's really lucky. The minute you appear to be a pushover, people start pushing. – TheBatman Feb 24 at 20:37
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    @TheBatman The term is complacency. I bet a ton of people would be pretty happy to menial labor at designer pay. – Mars Feb 25 at 2:42
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(OP isn't the person asking, but I'll pretend they are here for the grammar)

It sounds like you are in a very weak position for bargaining. If the qualifications are required for the position and your company is err... "bending the rules," then you really can't complain at all.

If qualifications are required, your options are to:

  • Get the qualifications. You won't get them and help yourself, then no one else can really help you here.

  • Find another company willing to bend the rules for you--a long shot unless you have more connections that you can leverage. This is also complicated by the fact that you're possibly in a position to be blackmailed, as the current boss knows you don't have the qualifications.

If qualifications can be replaced by experience:

  • Job hunting is an option. It doesn't sound like you are in the worst position (there are many with much, much worse conditions--at least your pay is good!), but if you are not satisfied, then it's time to market the skills you have gained and find greener grass.
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