Friday Funny: Has Your Boss Asked You To Do Anything Weird?

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

Did you know that more than one in five workers say their boss asks them to do things unrelated to their job? According to a recent study from CareerBuilder, that’s one of many reasons why bad bosses cause grief among employees. Fortunately, the same study finds that a majority of workers think their boss is doing a better than average job.

The Good News: Making The Grade

Asked to evaluate their bosses’ performance, more than six in 10 (63%) U.S. workers say their manager deserves an “A” or a “B” while one in seven would assign a “D” or “F” (14%). Grades appear to be aligned with bosses’ communication and management styles. Workers who interact more frequently with their bosses tend to rate their performance better than those who keep their distance. Thirty-one percent of workers who interact several times a day in person with their boss assign them an “A” compared to just 17% of workers who interact with their boss once a day or less.

The study also showed a correlation between positive ratings of bosses and open communication, even if that communication doesn’t take place in person. Twenty-five percent of workers say their boss typically communicates with them via text or instant message. Of those employees, 30% assign an “A” to their boss’s performance.

“Managers who interact frequently and communicate directly are more likely to have the support of their employees. The ideal form of that communication will vary from individual to individual, but everyone’s jobs get done better when expectations and roles are clearly defined,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “The best managers understand the triggers for their workers’ success and are able to course correct when productivity drops or conflict arises.”

The Bad News: “That’s Not What I Signed Up For”

Unknown-1There is one way, however, bosses can quickly lose workers’ trust: giving tasks well outside the job description. Twenty-two percent of employees say their current boss asks them do things unrelated to their jobs, and unsurprisingly, 51% of those employees give their bosses grades of “C” or worse.

The following are real requests bosses asked of their employees, as shared by survey respondents.

  • Asked employee to coach other employees on how to pass a drug test
  • Asked employee to fire a colleague and then drive them home
  • Asked for employee’s opinions of Tinder profiles
  • Asked employee to order items on personal Amazon account so boss’s spouse wouldn’t know about it
  • Asked employee to pluck a client’s unibrow for a photo shoot
  • Asked that employees “Like” his Facebook videos
  • Asked if employee would be better friends with him
  • Asked employee to find out how to obtain death certificate for her deceased ex-husband
  • Asked employee to commiserate with daughter-in-law about the death of her cat
  • Asked employee to climb on roof to see if there were any dead birds

(Okay, that last one makes sense for employees in the facilities management department.)

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,022 workers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between February 10 and March 4, 2014.