I work as a programmer and my usual tasks are HTML5 games. Since those are not that common, sometimes I do other things, including some web development, even though I hate it (I'm the only one here that knows how to build a website.)

This is just some background, my problem is the following:

The owner of my company has another company which needs a website and they want me to do it. No one asked me if I wanted to, they asked if the idea they have is possible (which I said it is) and just added another task in my task list. I really don't want to do it but I don't know if I should say anything or not. And if I do say something, should I mention that "I don't work for your 'other company'" or would that be too aggressive?

(In case anyone is wondering, the project is not that hard or anything, but I'm about to leave a web project and I'm completely burned, even finishing my current tasks is taking longer than it should because of it, I really don't want to start another)


2 Answers 2


This question has been asked in several different ways (Should I be fixing my boss's computer?, My job responsibility is more than is noted in job description. How do I decline these additional responsibilities?), but the answer boils down to "your manager/boss/employer told you to work on something, so do it" (as long as it isn't illegal or morally repugnant).

As to the specifics of your situation, where you are in the world can make a difference.

Realistically, when we take an employment position, the company decides how to allocate the time for which we (as employees) are being paid. Your employer may have a service contract with another company to provide application development services. That would put you in the role of providing work for another company. Your employer is still the company that pays you, tells you where to show up for work, handles your benefits, etc. As long as the terms of your employment contract aren't breached (assuming you have a contract), no laws are being broken, and you are not being asked to do something outside your morality, then you are being compensated (paid) for your time (service provide by you) to perform some function as specified by your employer.

If you don't like the work you have been tasked with, for your own happiness, find another position.

  • 1
    And you can still on occasion share what parts of the job you like and dislike, without emotion, that's normal.
    – user8036
    Apr 23, 2014 at 9:00
  • Thanks for you answer, can you mark it as a repeated question?
    – Luke B.
    Apr 23, 2014 at 12:51

Ethically, unless this other company is a subdivision of the one that pays you, you shouldn't be working on it.

That said however, I know a lot of companies that do this.

It seems that the bigger subject is that you need to talk with your manager about doing web work, and how it really isn't your thing, but you do it anyway because you know it needs done. With that said, you feel it is unfair to be asked to do even more for a company that you shouldn't even ethically be doing it for.

Don't expect anything to change though.

If they agree it is unethical, but they really want it, maybe you can arrange for them to pay you as a consultant/contractor of the other company, but this will mean doing it after hours so to speak. The extra cash may soften your dislike a bit.

  • 1
    If he is really the owner of both companies, is it unethical to do work for the other company? It would be similar to the owner asking you to do personal IT work for him. He is the owner and it is up to him how he chooses to use his assets.
    – David K
    Apr 22, 2014 at 20:47
  • 1
    @DavidK - I would say if he is the SOLE owner of both companies. Apr 22, 2014 at 20:54
  • @WesleyLong It's complicated, my company is owned by A, B and C, the other company is owned by C, D and E, and D is also my manager.
    – Luke B.
    Apr 22, 2014 at 20:57
  • Then I would say: Get the instructions in email, making it clear that D, your manager, instructed you to do this. Then you just say all you did was what your manager directed you to. Nothing to worry about, then. Apr 22, 2014 at 21:17
  • @WesleyLong The worrying part is that I don't want to do this unless I really have to :P
    – Luke B.
    Apr 22, 2014 at 21:24

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