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  1. #11
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    She should have brought him the piece of cake, because he might not have known where it was, and probably felt that it wasn't his place to go take a piece of cake if it wasn't his division.

    Common decency.

    (Unless he asked rudely.)

  2. #12
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Would you get a coffee for the person you work with? Yup.
    How about everyone in the factory? Not regularly, if ever.

    If this guy wants to extend his "and any other duties that may be required of you" to include "I want cake" then he should have the nuts to say so. If he feels awkward then perhaps it's because he knows he should get some himself.

    There again perhaps he's just looking for a friend in the room... even CEO's have some humanity left.

    Mind you if one person was doing all the work then one impulse brewing in my head would be to help with the task not lie back and benefit from the efforts...
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  3. #13
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Is she sleeping with her boss? That's the only reason I'd bring someone cake...if I was sleeping with her.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  4. #14
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Hmmm, you know I'm actually going to take the minority viewpoint on this.

    I've also had EA/admin assistance positions and I've been treated like crap at some contracting positions (at one government contractor, they told me I could EAT LAST if there was food left when they bought lunch for the entire office and they also wanted me to sit ON A BOX when they ran out of chairs at a meeting, that place was outta control ). I've also had EA positions where I was treated very fairly.

    My last non-administrative position I managed the 'analyst' for our program and my peers and directors were very uh, conscious, to NOT call them EAs. It was a sensitive point actually, because EA was considered insulting and in that particular corporate culture it was very important to keep up the official semblance of modern equality and 'teamwork', etc. etc. etc. (the reality was a bit different but they tried to be very happy happy joy joy )

    I'm not sure the age or personal situation of the the EA in your story or the dynamics/relationships involved, but I think especially in 'young people' there's a sense of resentment and entitlement that's involved in taking EA positions, internships, and other 'starting' jobs sometimes. You particulalry see this in customer service and retail quite a bit.

    But as it's been said many times before in career advice columns and by superiors -- if you can't or don't want to do the job you have, you're not making a case for getting the job you want.

    It's true that technically this EA didn't work for the other director and it may have been a bit gauche for the director to ask the EA to get them cake, but I think I would have done it. Disregarding the work relationships but just because I think it's impolite to bring food just for 1 person. I mean, the EA brought the cake for the director 'as a favor', right? So why can't she extend that same courtesy for the other person in the room?

    It's because of their explicit positions at the workplace that she can't without jeapordizing her own position. Or something like that. If you read that much into it. Which I think you can.

    See, this is where American notions of 'equality in the workplace' and labor laws and the reality of social dynamics and power get murky. You're definitely seeing people asserting their actual and implied power and authority in your 'cake'scenario.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  5. #15
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    If the director that asked was INTP, and a typical one, I'd say don't worry about it. INTPs don't like hierarchies, even if we're high up the food chain. He was probably just seeing if he could get someone to bring him a piece of cake without having to get up.

    I had to work as an administrative assistant when I lived in NYC, and I got very tired of the "system" and being treated like crap. I'd have handled exactly the way your friend did, and just accepted any consequences. People are people. I'm not anyone's servant.

    Edited to add:

    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze
    It's true that technically this EA didn't work for the other director and it may have been a bit gauche for the director to ask the EA to get them cake, but I think I would have done it. Disregarding the work relationships but just because I think it's impolite to bring food just for 1 person. I mean, the EA brought the cake for the director 'as a favor', right? So why can't she extend that same courtesy for the other person in the room?
    I'd have done it as a favor, if it had been asked that way. I wouldn't have done it as a "You're the lackey, go get me cake" scenario.

  6. #16
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Without bothering to read anything but the OP:

    The FJ was doing her boss a kindness by bringing him cake.

    She didn't know another boss was visiting, or she probably would have brought two pieces, as my best guess, so as to avoid any tension and to be nice.

    The other boss didn't really have any business asking her to fetch him cake. She's not his employee, nor is "fetching cake" really part of someone's job description -- it's a nice thing that people might do for each other just to be kind/considerate. If he was going to ask at all, I hope he phrased it like, "Wow, that looks good -- if you go back out at some point, would you mind bringing me a piece on your way back?"

    That might be pushing it, but it's the "most polite" way I can think of someone in his position to ask her without making her feel compromised because he has more authority over her in the company. [i.e., it returns the gesture to one of "being nice" rather than being an obligation demanded by one in authority]. The context in which he asked really put her in a bind and in a way was an unfair use of his authority.

    It sounds like he realized his gaff immediately, since he got embarrassed and got it himself. So it's not like he didn't recognize what he had done once he saw her reaction.
    +1

    Jennifer covered pretty much everything I wanted to say, and then some.

    If he was going to ask at all, I hope he phrased it like, "Wow, that looks good -- if you go back out at some point, would you mind bringing me a piece on your way back?"
    Ditto, and I would only ask this if I were feeling especially lazy. I think it's just rude to ask someone else to go so far out of their way. In this case, it was too far out of her way. When asking favors, you make sure it isn't too far out of the other person's way, hence the tag "if you're going back out, it would be great if you could..." Asking someone to "pass the salt" across the table is acceptable when you can't reach it and it would be easy for them to pass it; asking someone to pick something up for you, like a piece of cake, when it's on their way, probably isn't too much to ask. But it sounds like he didn't care if it was on her way or not, in which case he was asking more from her than he should have. Jennifer had a great point that as someone higher up than she, he should have been especially careful about not making her feel obligated to fetch him the cake, but it doesn't sound like he was careful.

    He's got boldness, and he should have been embarrassed when she gave him "the look."

    Good on your friend, especially when this type of assertiveness seems uncharacteristic of her, given what you've told us about her. She sounds like she doesn't look out for herself enough sometimes.
    They're running just like you
    For you, and I, wooo
    So people, people, need some good ol' love

  7. #17
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    I'd have done it as a favor, if it had been asked that way. I wouldn't have done it as a "You're the lackey, go get me cake" scenario.
    Eek, well when you say it that way. True, no one likes to be made inferior or people trying to ego trip on them.

    (I would've offered the other person in the room some if they didn't ask me -- and it's actually not so simple)

    But, I wonder the exact manner the director asked for cake? I think how to answer the question also depends so much on the context of the situation, what the people's personalities are like, how they are perceived in the office, the office culture, the actual way and manner the person asks.

    I can imagine tons of scenarios where the director was being thoughtless or presumptive (in the way that will get on your nerves) and where the "look" was one of true surprise like, "You want me to what?" to irritation like, "Oh no you did not just ask me to bring you cake."

    So in answer to the OP, I guess it really depends on...the circumstances. Especially how hierarchal and how 'teamwork' oriented and casual/structured your work place is -- both on paper and reality.

    I know, that's not very helpful, you most likely know better than us how much (if at all) that affected your coworkers standing or dynamic with that director or her director and the consequences.

    BTW, your scenario totally reminded me of an episode of Split Ends (the hair stylist swapping reality show on Style Network). I wish i could find a video of it to post --

    A young black female stylist working out of Inglewood, LA, CA switched places with a young white gay male from one of the most famous 'high fashion' salons in the US -- Warren Tricomi's flagship salon in NYC.

    At one point, the LA stylist gets sent to a model agent to get 'coached' on how to be high fashion and "fit in" with the high-end salon and their clientele. As soon as the two sit down, the agent's assistant brings the model agent coffee but not the stylist. I'm paraphrasing from memory but the stylist says immediately, "Oh, where's my coffee? Aren't you going to bring me some?" and the agent shoots back immediately, "No, none for you."

    It kinda went downhill from there.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  8. #18
    Senior Member oasispaw's Avatar
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    i think if the other guy asked nicely, i would have brought him some cake. if he was being a pig, i would not have.
    just throw it against the wall and see what sticks.

  9. #19
    Senior Member bluebell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    It's true that technically this EA didn't work for the other director and it may have been a bit gauche for the director to ask the EA to get them cake, but I think I would have done it. Disregarding the work relationships but just because I think it's impolite to bring food just for 1 person. I mean, the EA brought the cake for the director 'as a favor', right? So why can't she extend that same courtesy for the other person in the room?
    I'm kinda in the minority on this as well. If it was me in the situation, yes, I probably would have got a piece of cake for the other guy, regardless of how it was asked for. If he was being a dick about it, then I probably would have vented a bit later to a colleague, but I still would have smiled politely and got it.

    I'm having trouble putting into words why I'd do it but here goes. I work in a very hierarchical workplace, which I don't mind, as long as the people further up the pecking order aren't micromanaging eejits.

    Everyone is expected to know how to behave appropriately - both with internal meetings and external meetings. Deference to more senior people is definitely part of my workplace culture. There are good operational reasons for this deference - we work under extremely tight deadlines on high-stake projects, dealing with a large number of other organisations. Being able to slip automatically into team roles under pressure is part of the job, with the most junior person expected to prepare meeting rooms, look after guests etc (even if the most junior person in a particular meeting is one of the managers). Where I work, it's important to show that you know how to be courteous in difficult circumstances, otherwise it's a bit of a career limiting move.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    I'd have done it as a favor, if it had been asked that way. I wouldn't have done it as a "You're the lackey, go get me cake" scenario.
    If it's a one-off, with a visiting division head, I would still do it. I always assume that it helps your division head's (or senior manager or whatever) relationship with his/her peers if his/her staff are courteous to them. Situations generally have multiple strands to them and I think it's wise to be mindful of that.

    I'm not sure how typical my workplace is, or how typical my POV is likely to be. I probably have a tendency to overthink things but I know my two bosses think in similar ways to me on stuff like this.
    ...so much smoke pouring out of each chromosome.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Bella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oasispaw View Post
    i think if the other guy asked nicely, i would have brought him some cake. if he was being a pig, i would not have.
    Uh-huh

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