Article posted Wednesday, October 2, 2013 11:01pm

Dear Mary Pat,

I think my kindness might be taken advantage of by my employer. We have a great relationship, friendly and cordial, but she keeps asking me to do favors that are not work-related. At first it was simple, “Would you drop this package off at my mom’s place on your way home? It’s right on your way.” No problem.

But now it’s “Would you mind letting Tammy (her dog) out for a potty break on your way to the bank.” “Would you pick Suzie (her daughter) up from the children center and just leave her at my mom’s – I’ve got to do payroll.”

I don’t mind doing something for her here and there, but these seem like odd requests that would be better left for a relative or close friend, don’t you think? What should I do?


Where to Draw the Line

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Dear Where to Draw the Line,

You yourself said that you and your employer have a great relationship, perhaps she doesn’t realize that she is asking too much of you.

With a small business, everyone does end up handling all sorts of jobs that they maybe wouldn’t in a corporate setting where there are more people. Since you have a friendly working relationship, she is comfortable asking for your help. She also obviously trusts you with important tasks (picking up her daughter).

Ask yourself honestly if the perks run both ways. Is she generous with you? Does she adequately compensate you for your time? Does she do favors for you as well? Is she having you do these favors on her time? If not, then you should have a direct conversation saying that you are happy to help but that your time outside of work is limited.

I’m sure you will be able to come up with a reasonable solution that is fair to both of you.

Good luck,

Mary Pat