When Strange Duty Calls

Handling a Boss's Weird Requests Takes Finesse – and Sometimes a Weed-Whacker

Cites consultant Kerry J. Sulkowicz
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Or, in the case of Laurie Stewart, call local pet stores to borrow a guinea pig for a photo shoot. Stewart, a reporter for a Pennsylvania trade publication that focuses on diagnostic imaging, was asked a year ago by her boss to “rent” a guinea pig for the day. Her boss wanted the next publication’s cover to show a guinea pig getting an MRI.

For the most part, employees will simply do what is asked of them, unless it puts them in danger, or feels like harassment. I had a position in a former life where pretty much anything was fair game. Ask [Amy Joyce], she’ll do it. And I did. But I didn’t hate it. Those requests often put a little extra spring in an otherwise flat day. Renting a guinea pig would have been a fun item to add to the repertoire.

Those wacky demands made of employees can often fall into the “someone’s-gotta-do-it” category. And, [Kerry J. Sulkowicz] said, some employees could really take it as a compliment that their boss trusts them enough to buy his clothes in an emergency, or get that guinea pig.

Written by Amy Joyce