Career Woes Series: Menial Tasks at Work

I am compiling the Career Woes series to bring some work-related WhatsApp discussions and canteen lamentations to light. This nattering has never done any good on closed walls.

Back in 2016, I wrote about some professional abuse I underwent at one of my jobs, on this blog. A prospective employer wanted to check out my content writing skills. During the interview, I took the flak for having voiced out my opinions on this blog especially when I was trying out for a human resources role. Only now have I understood that the interview was a harassment episode as well.

Every employee undergoes professional abuse, harassment and bullying at work. Thus, a person has every right to discuss his/her experiences on a blog. If an organisation is so worried about its image and wants current/prospective employees to shut up, then it has to curb such work abuse, harassment and bullying to make the work environment better for those employees.

Until then, I would like to speak out. I want to know just how many have had the same experiences at work and how you have combated such issues. Feel free to drop your two cents here.

Handling Menial Jobs at Work: 

Some of my cousins, acquaintances and ex-colleagues have complained about how they are unable to manage low-skilled tasks at work. These are predominantly the millennial and post-millennial crowd. Some of them are hired for a particular role but are hardly given any work. At worst, they end up doing data entry jobs for their bosses.

This holds true for interns, part-time employees, freelancers, freshers, new entrants, contract employees and ones who are exiting their organisation. It gets under their skin when they are asked to do menial jobs when they have proven skills of having handled extremely complex high-end roles.

My Two Cents:

Personal Development:

Usually, I use my free time for personal development. My career does not end with the menial tasks I do. Sometimes those tasks help me understand work better. However, if my bosses deliberately give me menial tasks, I just use my free time to polish my skills. I learn and research about subjects I love so I can improve my resume.

Through the course of my career, I have been reduced to a glorified personal assistant for my bosses at many times. I was hired for strategic and high-skilled roles and asked to do data-entry jobs, write out minutes of meetings or simply be at my seat.

At one company, my boss publicly yelled at me (saying I disturbed her work), every time I asked her for some work. So, I decided to stop talking unless I was spoken to and naturally she threw me under the bus for that. I was not going to ask for abuse, now would I? I am not a masochistic sycophant. The company and my boss forbid me from using video tutorials and worse, simply studying. In fact, word spread around the organization that I was paid to just hang around at office and that I was treated as a favourite by the higher ups. On the other hand, my hypocritical boss had the nerve to tell me that management wanted to fire me since I had no work (though she was solely responsible to allot tasks for me).

I was not going to give up without a battle. I could not just sit and stare at my computer. so I started to write for my personal blog, guided the interns on their dissertations and helped other colleagues out at various departments. Finally, my boss started to feel insecure about my growing reputation and loaded me with work so she could supervise me.

Freelance:

I have seen many of my colleagues do side-businesses and freelance when they are holding a full-time job. They use their free time to carry out their own pet projects and earn additional income. While the company has a written policy against such behavior, my colleagues say, “you are wrong only when you are caught”. I have seen this happen in all the companies I have worked for. I have done that as well to keep myself busy when I was serving my notice at one company for a period of one month. Though I strongly feel that freelancing is a wrong thing to do while you are at a full-time, its prevalence is so strong that it is blurring the ethical lines. Then, are all the companies doing something wrong that so many employees end up having side businesses?

How have you dealt with such deliberate abuse at work? Let me know in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Career Woes Series: Menial Tasks at Work

  1. It is commonly known that a school counselor has to strictly and devotingly perform her role and carry out her responsibilities towards the student community. However,in this particular school, where I worked, my roles were reversed to that of conducting and organising school events such teacher’s day celebrations, World environment day, being a judge for tiny tots club activity and so on where I had no freedom to be creative and encourage students to be involved creatively. One entire programme by high school students was cancelled as the school ‘did not have time to stage it’ and my efforts laid to waste when I could have used the time for student counseling effectively. When I had reported a few instances of substance abuse among high school students and suggested measures to overcome it, the management completely ignored it and said “such instances must go unnoticed to save the school’s reputation”. To add to my fury, the salaries were delayed as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a contractor, I was treated differently. The manager I was working for, wanted to keep his own dissatisfied employees happy. So, threw me to a team where my daily job was to send emails. I am a programmer with 12+ years of experience. In writing code in different technologies. So I wrote emails for 2 months from 9:30 – 9:45 AM, and after that focussed on my PG certificate I was doing, learnt newer skills, applied to a great company and left this place. Thanks to that manager, he actually saved me from long term frustration!

    Like

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