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The One Complaint You Should Never Make

I've consulted with a lot of employees over the years. I've consulted with employees who complained to their employers about discrimination, sexual harassment, disparate pay treatment, incompetent and abusive managers and hostile work environments. Sometimes complaining was the right thing to do; sometimes the complaint shouldn't have been made. But the one complaint that you should almost never make is the complaint that you are being asked to work outside your job description. Here are three reasons:

  1. No Legal Protection. As a general rule, unless you are a union employee or have an employment contract that specifically states otherwise, you are likely an employee-at-will and your employer can ask you to perform whatever job duties your employer wants you to perform. If you complain, your employer could likely legally discharge you.
  2. The Wrong Message.  Your complaint would send the wrong message to your employer. It's tantamount to a refusal to work. It says to your employer, "I refuse to do anything other than this limited set of tasks we talked about when I was hired."  It may suggest you are lazy. It also suggests your versatility as an employee is limited, which leads to reason #3.
  3. You Are Killing Your Career. If you are not terminated for insubordination, you will almost certainly foreclose any chance of being promoted in the future. Why would your employer think you could take a different or more difficult tasks when you've already refused once?

There are obviously exceptions. For example, you should not accept job responsibilities that would put you in violation of the law or jeopardize the safety of others. Apart from that and a few other exceptions, your best response is to welcome the new opportunity and embrace the trust your supervisor has put in you by giving you more responsibility. GSF    

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