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Home | Got a Minute | Bad bosses | No. 74 – Do I have to look after my boss’s child while I’m working in the office?

No. 74 – Do I have to look after my boss’s child while I’m working in the office?

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31 August 2022

I work as a receptionist in a busy physiotherapist’s office. My boss brings her toddler into the practice when her nanny isn’t available and asks me to mind her son for up to an hour each time. While he is a lovely little boy, he can get pretty full on while I am trying to answer calls at reception and welcome patients, and also keep him entertained. I like to be really professional at work – minding a toddler while on reception makes that really hard. Is there anything I can do or is this now just part of my job?

I am guessing if this request only happened once or twice, with huge apologies from your boss and no expectation of it being part of a professional role, you would probably be happy to help? And I suspect that is how this situation started. But now if it is a regular occurrence and there has been little to no discussion as to how you feel about it being an ongoing part of your job, things have gone too far. It is clearly having an impact on your ability to do your reception work and you need to be supported to feel as professional in your role as you can.

I would recommend in your one-on-one chat with your boss (and ask for one if there isn’t one scheduled), let her know you are concerned that minding her son is impacting your ability to service her patients and attend to their needs. Let her know that while you have been happy to help out, as he gets older it is becoming more challenging. Enquire whether she needs help finding a new nanny who is more reliable and can be available whenever your boss needs them. This will make it clear these are two very separate responsibilities she needs to sort out.

If I wish to re-enter the workforce after a career break of two years, should I have to accept a role I was doing more than 15 years ago, which I am well overqualified for and be paid at less than a third of my usual pay rate?

I guess the answer to that question is how important getting back into the workforce is for you financially. If you can afford to wait, I would recommend continuing to see what jobs are available and ensuring future employers understand the value you bring. Job seekers have more power than they have had in a long time right now since talented, skilled employees are in hot demand. If you can afford to wait, you should. You will be resentful of taking on a job where you do not fulfilled and are not valued as you believe you should be. A career break of two years is also not long at all (especially given what the world has gone through for two years) so I would not allow that to deter you. Good luck with the job search.

I have recently started a job I have been in for about five months now. I did have a higher salary expectation but because they said they didn’t have the budget at the time, I took a lower offer. My manager and team head are pleased with my performance but his recommendation is to wait until six months before a review. In the meantime, new recruits are being brought in on more than me and others in my team are also paid more. How should I approach this and what salary range should I ask for in this upcoming review knowing all this information?

Your boss has opened the door to reviewing your salary in a month so make sure you book in a date and time for that meeting now. Do your research to understand what you think is a fair salary for the job and take to the meeting a list of all you have achieved and the value you have brought to the company and role since you began. Make sure you are clear to your boss you are enjoying the position and that being paid fairly and reflective of your experience is important for you to resolve so you can continue to develop and progress. If you have public information, for example from job ads, of salary ranges of new people recruited into the same role as you, be sure to have that handy as well.

Send your questions about work, careers and leadership to Your name and any identifying information will not be used. Letters may be edited.

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