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Drug-test coaching, checking roof for dead birds may be inappropriate
want me to do what?
can lose their workers’ trust by asking them to do things that go beyond the
scope of their job, according to CareerBuilder, which found in a recent survey
that 22 percent—or about one-fourth—of 3,022 workers in the U.S. said their
current boss has asked them to do things unrelated to their jobs.
Selander received an urgent request to find a bloodhound for a press conference
when he was working on the 1998 re-election campaign of New Hampshire Gov.
manager decided we needed a bloodhound to ‘hunt down’ our opponent, who was
refusing debates,” Selander said in an e-mail. They found one via referral from
a retired police officer who knew someone who used a hound for hunting.
few days later, Selander was “hanging off a scaffolding trying to affix a
billboard to a building,” he said, noting “campaign jobs are fascinating.”
a previous job, Dennis Tupper lived three doors down from his supervisor. His
boss, who was attending a weeklong conference in Florida in January, asked
Tupper to clear his driveway if it snowed while he was gone.
the second-to-last day of the boss’s trip, a blizzard hit Tupper’s town,
located on the North Shore of Massachusetts, and Tupper cleared the drive,
because, he said, “it was the 'neighborly' thing to do.”
boss was appreciative. Shortly after he arrived home, he came to Tupper’s house
to give him a bottle of wine from his private collection and to thank him for
helping him out.
retrospect, while the request was a little quirky, I didn’t think it was the
worst thing in the world,” Tupper said in an e-mail to SHRM Online. “However, I wish he had told me about the snow blower
he had in his shed in the backyard. It would have allowed me to shave an hour
off of my work.”
Miller recalled being asked to carry out some unpleasant downsizing-related tasks.
was 1987 and “we were making great strides growing the business,”Miller said.
He was a national sales manager with a division of the Adolph Coors Co. and a
few years earlier had hired a team of sales representatives at the direction of
the division president.
working with the representative in Atlanta, the president called to tell me the
Coors board decided to sell the division. I was to terminate the rep in Atlanta
and retrieve the company car, equipment, supplies, etc.
asked me to do the same in Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco the
following three days. Not only was this request unusual, it was extremely
painful because I knew what awaited me when I returned back to Golden(Colo.). Sure enough, the ax came down
on me when I reported to the office on Monday. So much for carrying out company
orders,” said Miller, a business placement coach who has been self-employed
Among the unusual supervisor requests Harris Poll heard about in the survey it
conducted among full-time, nongovernmental workers in February and March 2014
another employee on how to pass a drug test.
another employee and then drive the terminated person home.
items on the employee’s personal Amazon account so the boss’s spouse wouldn’t
know about the purchase.
the boss’s Facebook videos.
better friends with the boss.
his opinion of his boss’s profiles on Tinder, a dating app.
on the roof and check for dead birds.
with the boss’s daughter-in-law about the death of the daughter-in-law’s cat.
out how to obtain a death certificate for the boss’s deceased ex-husband.
a client’s unibrow before a photo shoot.
the real eyebrow-raiser—visit a voodoo priest.
Reischer, a junior associate in a small
criminal law office in Queens, N.Y., and his boss, a partner in the firm, were
headed to court to file a motion when the boss insisted on driving to the
Jamaica neighborhood in Queens, to have a Haitian voodoo priest perform a
ritual and bless their case.
totally refused, but he insisted,” recalled Reischer of that moment seven years
ago. He waited in the car while his boss went in.
do not know, nor do I ever want to know, what happened inside that day, but the
ruling came down in our favor,” he said in an e-mail.
so glad I never went in, as I believe in karma and do not like meddling with
the forces of nature.”
Kathy Gurchiek is the
associate editor at
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