In the 3 years that I have worked at this company, my job responsibilities have grown, but I am not getting compensated for them financially.

Company policy states that my official job description must match my job duties, but when I asked to revise my job description, nothing was done.

How do I approach my boss and tell him to delegate these additional responsibilities to someone else?


7 Answers 7


One thing to realize is that many if not most job descriptions include a phrase similar to "Other duties as required." As long as the majority of your work is include in your current job description then your management is not out of line in asking you to perform a few extra duties.

If you try to refuse to do some of the duties assigned to you, you risk getting in trouble for insubordination. Not to mention once you try your career with the company is unlikely to recover. The incident will be recorded and every review or potential promotion will take that into consideration, and likely cost you greatly. You are better served finding a new job and leaving rather than trying to make a stand on your job duties.

But if you do your homework, present it to your manager professionally, and your job performance merits it, I would expect a reasonable response to a request for a promotion to a title and pay grade that compensates you for the additional responsibilities.

First identify what your actual job responsibilities are and write them down. Your manager is going to want that list anyway and you will need it for the next steps.

Next compare those responsibilities to the job descriptions of other positions similar to your job and determine what the most appropriate Job Title is for your duties and experience. If you have 3 months on the job a title of Senior or Expert is clearly not appropriate. At the same time someone with 3 years on the job should probably not have a junior title either.

Once you figure out what your job title should be, consult sites like GlassDoor or a similar site. This should give you a reasonable salary range for your area.

Once you have completed your homework you will need to talk with your manager. You should be able to show your duties and how these duties align with the new job title and ask to be promoted into this title.

  • 3
    I like Chad's answer. I would add one thing that if they won't buy changing your description -now-, maybe they'd be willing to after a period of success. Maybe attempt to get them to sign a document stating that after a certain amount of time (3-6 months or when your next review is scheduled), you will be given the new title and description and considered for pay raise. Apr 3, 2014 at 22:06
  • 5
    request for a promotion to a title and pay grade that compensates you for the additional responsibilities this, rather than asking them to make your job easier for you, which always make you look bad no matter what the reason is.
    – kirie
    Apr 8, 2014 at 17:38

So - first caveat - many knowledge work jobs have the "Other duties as required." in there, or they are so commonly implied that some duties may be standard for the industry and hard to argue. Example - test your code when you write it. It's hard to say "I'm not QA" - there's an implication that you will deliver minimally working code and that involves some degree of testing.

And there are some basic duties that are commonly understood by humanity that it's fair on occasion to expect that anyone, in any role, would do these things by virtue of obligation to society. My thought would be - try to use a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire, or pull the fire alarm and help others get out of the building - you don't have to be called a fireman to do these basic things, and it's never part of an engineer's job description, but it IS an expectation.

These cases, boil down to "accept it when":

  • It's a basic cultural value needed to glue society together.
  • It's a direct connection to do doing things that ARE in your job description, particularly when it comes to doing your work efficiently and at a basic level of quality.

From there the options for task avoidance depend on particulars of the situation.

Infrequent, Short Duration Tasks

Yep, annoying.

But if this comes up so infrequently that the time to do any of the proposed alternatives would take longer, skip it as just not worth it.

Infrequent, Long Duration Tasks

Ask about prioritization. If we're talking about 2 weeks of work that will delay 2 weeks of work that fit your job description - ask why. Often a boss may miss that the work you were actually hired to do is the key work (isn't that why they hired you, after all?), and have lost site in the heat of an emergency. Try to make sure that you sound like part of the team here, and not a prima donna. "Is that critial to our mission? Is it more critical than this other thing?" is better than a scornful "Is THAT the thing I should be working on? Is it really worth my valueable time?" is a worse plan.

Keep in mind, the answer may be yes. If this two week not-your-job task the difference between bankruptcy and solvency for the company, then it's also the difference between you having a job and not having a job - because regardless of whether they fire you or not, you won't have a job if the company has declared bankruptcy. That's the extreme example, but there are plenty of cases that can fall on this side of the "do it anyway" line.

OTOH - if the answer is "yes" and the task is so long that you could find a new job in that time --- start looking. They don't value the work that you value, and it's time to find a place that can meet your career goals.

Frequent, Short Duration Tasks

Keep an account for some time. How much of your day is this taking? How many interruptions come per week? What is the impact on your actual work?

Once you have a sense of the actual impact - you can triage this as either not sufficiently impacting that you can afford to ignore it, or something that detracts meaningfully from your ability to perform the job you were hired for. Talk to the boss about it - does he understand and agree with the frequency of this task and it's impact on your work? Do you have any ideas for changing it? The work is likely necessary, but maybe there is another way to do it that works better, is faster or is done by someone else. The "find someone else to do it" option is always there, and very tempting, but you may get more mileage out of ways that don't increase the team headcount.

Keep in mind that bosses can give vague guidance - "do it some, but less..." may be the response. Follow up with a request for specifics - how often? And what happens if the need arises and doesn't get met. Some things (like washing the windows) can be ignored for some time before they get out of control. Other things (like answer the hotline) need a backup plan (get an answering machine?). Yet others (vaccum the floor) can be automated (get a roomba?). There's no one single answer.

Bear in mind that if the task would typically be done by someone more expensive than you are, the answer may be - do it anyway. It's your choice - get good at it, and demand the higher salary (now, or from a future employer), or find a job where you can do things you like doing better.

Frequent, Long Duration Tasks

It's time for a Serious Talk. Your boss has a very different vision for your career than you do. It's time to talk about this. What's the real answer for why you aren't doing the job you were hired for? What's the need in the near term and long term for you to do this other work? Should you change your role, or should you go back to your regular work?

This is a closed door, don't leave without acceptable answers moment.

You may end up leaving. If every day, for many days, and major work, you are not doing the work you were hired for, then either the company needs to own up to it, or you need to look for a new job. The only exception would be if you like the work, the pay or the team enough to compromise on it. But I'm betting that if you were willing to ask the question in a public forum, this is not the case.


A big thing in any conversation is to be aware enough of the specifics to have a meaningful conversation. I was just reading about how different cultures will make decisions in different ways, but in your impression, there is a discrepancy between your expectation and the company's. Have enough information to be able to justify your point. And if the information points out that the impact of the not-job-related work is minimal, give up the battle as there is always some lack of clarity in the workplace.


Many times, career advice suggests to you that doing the job you want next is a great way to get it. So if you find yourself doing a job above the current one you have, don't try to get this "fixed" so that you just do what you were hired for. You're more than halfway to a promotion. At this point all you need is the job title and the salary.

You've kind of messed it up a bit by complaining when you were trusted with more responsibilities. But you can still make it right. Go to your boss and say something like this (assuming it is all true to you and you're not lying by saying this):

I don't think I explained myself properly last time we discussed my job description, and I apologize for that. I'm actually quite proud of my growth in this role and the new tasks I've taken on. I'm grateful to you for letting me show that I can a, b, and c even though those are not in my job description.

(pause. Smile. Look like someone who is proud and grateful, not someone who is ticked off and wants the extra duties taken away.)

How long do you think it will be until I am promoted to a role where these things are in my job description and I'm getting paid accordingly? Do I need to reach a certain level of capability with these tasks? Do I need to wait until someone else moves out of a role to free up a position for me? Is there anything I can do to make it happen faster?

(listen. Listen very carefully as your boss explains how your company works.)

Great! I will get started on my part of that and continue to work towards the new role. Thanks! And thanks for taking the time to explain it.


I see. That feels a little unfair to me. [Or that feels like a really long time to me, or whatever your negative response is.] Will I get any kind of raise to acknowledge these new tasks I'm doing before I can move into that role? I'm pleased to be growing in my role, and I'd like to see that growth recognized by the company.

Focus on asking questions rather than telling your boss what to do or making demands. You have a great opportunity here to learn about your company and to land a solid promotion. I hope it works out well for you.


Much of the other advice is solid.

One additional suggestion.

Assuming your request for your job description change and reduction in responsibilities are also refused.

An additional (last ditch) method of getting reasonably recognized is simply get a job offer from someone closer to fair. Take it to your boss and say. "I'm trying to be fair, I don't want to leave, but if I'm not compensated fairly than I have to do what is right for me."

Set a very tight deadline (like one day) that they make you a counter offer, or you put in your notice.

All this is assuming you REALLY like your current job, otherwise just find a new employer. If an employer doesn't treat you fairly, then they should expect no different from you. (still put in your notice and all that, you just don't owe loyalty to someone who takes advantage of you)

Note You are forcing the issue, this very easily could result in termination.


I guess the real answer to this is how important to this is you and how far are you willing to go over it? Any answer depends on the answer to those two questions. As you've previously tried to address this but been rebuffed then it goes to show that you may have to make a firm stand to get anywhere with this, and in doing so put some backs up. Be prepared for the consequences of that.

That being said you've mentioned company policy is on your side. It's important to come across as professional and seeking to resolve and issue, and not being petty or greedy. You will need a delicate touch to see this through, though at times you may feel that you're being anything but delicate.

Firstly I would recommend speaking with your manager about the issues you're having surrounding the extra responsibilities being asked of you. Explain how you feel in a polite, professional and detached manner. Back up your statements with facts, such as the company policy and your employment contract.

From there you can either ask for your job title to be expanded to encompass the additional work you're being asked to do with suitable remuneration or have the work passed on to the suitable parties.

Be prepared to be flexible on this issue. Everyone, regardless of company policy, is expected to help pull their weight in the office. That's my experience anyway. It may be that no-one is officially responsible for the work that is being done and your manager is trying to simply get the necessary work done with the resources he's been given.

You can't be expected to do more than you're contracted to, but if you stick to that attitude you won't get far in any job. It's those who go above and beyond who are favourably looked upon in the next reviews. When the time comes for bonuses and promotions, how hard you've worked compared to your colleagues often determines who gets what. If you're standing your ground and only working what your contract says you need to do then well done, you'll have made your point, but it will be your colleagues who have gone above and beyond who will be getting the bonuses and promotions.


This sounds like a policy issue. Since they are being sticklers (nice word for it), and you are being asked to do work outside of your job description, you need to have a serious talk with your manager or HR about your being asked to do work outside of that job description.

You need to be upfront and firm. Indicate that you previously asked to change the job description to match what you are being asked to do and was denied. Since they were not willing to adjust this, you feel it is inappropriate, and against company policy, for you do the work that is outside of your job description.

Be prepared to be let go over this though. If they do, good riddance, they were not worth working for if they are just going to take advantage of you like that.


Two assumptions...

  • That it is significant & persistent extension to your responsibilities (going beyond your standard job description).

e.g. same time last year i was leading a development team for 2 products and then over a period of 6 month without change in job description i got responsibility of another product line (more people management & different natured projects)

  • That not being financially recognized is the only reason for you to propose delegating those responsibilities , and you are happy otherwise executing those responsibilities

Tell the boss and HR that -

  1. These are important responsibilities for the company
  2. These are significant in terms of effort & emotional energy
  3. To execute them well they need to be officially recognized
  4. It is not fair to be delivering them & not being recognized

Hence, I can not execute them anymore please take them off my plate.

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