A reader writes:
I am currently a secretary, with a degree in computer engineering. My employer now wants me to be the back-up I.T. person in the office, which is not a part of a support staff position. Is it unprofessional to expect or to ask to be compensated for this addition of extra duties? Can you please tell me the best way to ask for compensation and the appropriate time to ask?
Are they asking you to work more hours? Take on work that you strongly prefer not to do? Or is your only objection that it's outside of your regular job description?
If the latter, asking for more money isn't likely to go over well. You'll risk being seen as difficult and not particularly committed to the company or your own performance.
Keep in mind that an employer hires the whole package when they hire a person, not just a limited set of skills that directly correlate to the job description. Maybe your I.T. skills helped you get the job over other candidates, in the first place.
Instead, a better way of looking at this is as part of your performance overall. Incorporate this into your next performance evaluation and discussion of an annual raise, even if that's a ways off. Use the discussion to point out your value as an employee.
Additionally, this may be a way to make yourself more marketable in the future and possibly grow within your current company. Any time you take on new responsibilities, it's an investment in your value to your current employer and future ones. Take the long-term view that this might help you down the road.
Alison Green is the author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader's Guide to Getting Results. She is chief of staff for the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit lobbying organization, where she oversees day-to-day management of the staff as well as hiring, firing, and staff development. Her writings have been published in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Maxim, and dozens of other newspapers. She blogs at Ask a Manager.