How To Deal With A Boss Who Has Ridiculous Requests

By Lorena Roberts on January 6, 2019

When you’re a college student, trying to make it to the end of the month, most likely you’re doing everything you can to make money. You might have even taken a job doing something you despise because there’s no other way to pay the rent. You might be stuck in a job you’ve had since high school because the prospects of getting another job aren’t looking too great. Or maybe you don’t have a steady job at all, and you’re just working here and there doing things for people wherever and whenever you can find the time.

No matter what your work situation is, there is going to come a time when you’re asked to do something that seems ridiculous. You’ll tell yourself there’s no way you’re going to complete this task, but then you remind yourself that you’re getting paid — you struggle with whether or not this is really something that should be required of you. In your mind, this wasn’t in your job description, so you might be thinking there’s no way your boss can request this of you. But you also might be telling yourself that you have a really good job – one that you don’t want to lose… no matter what.


So how do you handle it when your boss comes to you with a request that seems not only out of the ordinary, but unfair, ridiculous, and self-centered? Here’s a guide to everything you need to know for dealing with your boss’s ridiculous request:

1. Read your job description.

Your boss asked you to clean the toilet. But you’re the “front desk girl.” Do you really have bathroom duty? I don’t know. Before you start a new job, you should always make sure you read your job description carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask for a list of possible job duties. When you’re asked to do something out-of-the-ordinary, go back and read the description of what you signed up for. If it’s not in there, chances are, you don’t have to do it.

2. If it’s not in your job description, talk to a manager.

It might be as simple as miscommunication, but there’s also a chance that someone is taking advantage of you. Don’t be afraid to take your job description to a manager. Part of being a good manager is ensuring your employees are happy in their roles on the team. If you feel as though you’re being expected to do more than what’s in your job description, don’t be afraid to talk to a manager. Part of their job is to manage their employees.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Intimidation is always a factor when it comes to why employees don’t go to their bosses when they’re unhappy with what’s being asked of them. Don’t feel like you have to walk into your boss’s office in a confrontative way just to approach the topic. Most managers are more than happy to answer questions. Maybe instead of coming to your manager with the attitude: I feel like I’ve been asked to do something ridiculous and I don’t want to do it, ask them if the task you’ve been assigned is part of your job description. You can even tip-toe around the topic and ask them how often you’ll have to do this task.


4. If it’s without compensation, you’re entitled to say NO.

No one works for free. Obviously. So don’t let your boss talk you into completing “favors” for them without being on the clock. Even if it’s running something to the post office — that’s not your job. If it is in your job to run errands for your boss, there should already be a system in place for how you’ll be compensated.

5. Pushing back is appreciated in the workplace.

Imagine an office where everyone does exactly as they’re told, no questions asked. Nothing ever changes.

If you’re in a position where you’re unhappy with what someone has asked of you, don’t be afraid to push back a little bit. Respectfully push back, obviously. But without you, things would stay the same; stagnant. You can be the change in this workplace. And for the people who come after you, things will never be the same.

6. Come to a conclusion that suits both of you.

Maybe all you need is a little conversation in order to settle this dispute between you and your boss. Whether it’s deciding on a longer timeline for the project to get done, splitting up the work with one of your coworkers, or giving the task to someone who is more “fit for the job” altogether, communication is key in this situation.

7. Follow up with your boss and show your appreciation for the way things were handled.

Don’t walk away from a situation with your head held high because you got out of doing something ridiculous without saying thank you to the people who worked through the problem with you. It’s unfair to expect that people will just bend to your “rules.” So instead of walking away feeling pleased with yourself, walk away with an appreciation for the people you work with. Count your many blessings that you have a boss or a manager who is willing to work with you and listens to you when you don’t feel comfortable completing something that’s been asked of you.

Sometimes work situations can be a bit tricky — how should you navigate being asked to do something that you don’t think is warranted? If you’re a recent college graduate (or even if you aren’t), you’re probably looking for tips on how to handle various workplace situations. If you feel as though you’ve been asked to do something ridiculous by someone at your place of work, reach out to a manager and ensure that all parties are communicating. The only way to fix a problem is to talk about it.

Lorena graduated from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville last December with a BA in Honors Psychology. After some serious soul-searching, she's decided to pursue a Master's in teaching in order to teach middle school math! In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her Whippet mix, Gio, at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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