Punk Rock HR Question 12: Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier!

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Hi Queen of all things HR,

My boss has his own secretary but uses me as his personal filing cabinet. While I am more than happy to store and file information as best I can, I truly resent being used this way.

Please advise.

Not Thilla-ed With the Manila (Files)

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Dear Champ,

I worked at Blockbuster Video in the early 90s when VHS tapes weighed 98 pounds. Very often, customers would attempt to hand me a tape as I walked around the store. They would shove a tape into my arms and say, “I don’t want this one.”

I would let it fall to the ground and respond, “Okay.”

The lesson?

  • I’m not paid to respond to rude people.

I set personal boundaries for myself, and I recommend you do the same.

  • Your boss may hand you a stack of folders, but he’ll never do it again if you plop those files back onto his desk.
  • Or if you refuse to extend your arms and accept the folders in the first place — and paper documents fall to the floor as you walk away.
  • Or if you accidentally misplace those files in the garbage bin — and then suggest he send his secretary on a pointless, all-day manhunt to find the lost folders when he needs the information for an important meeting.
  • Of if he tells you to remind him about an important event and you forget.

I could go on like this for hours.

It reminds me of the time when a VP of Human Resources asked me to get him coffee before a meeting, and I happened to return with a cup of decaf that was 38% sugar. Or when a supervisor suggested that I attend a team meeting that had nothing to do with me and I interrupted her in the middle of a sentence and asked, “Will you excuse me?”

I never returned to her office, and I never attended that meeting.

It’s boundaries, baby. Protect them.

Love,
Laurie

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