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5 Tips How to Handle Unreasonable Work Requests

Drew is a professional pharmacist who has experienced firsthand how the corporate world works.

You gaze at the drifting fingers of the clock laying above your office desk. The clock ticked, never stopping, refusing to even let you take a breather. Then it’s nine in the evening, you’re already about to go home when you’re boss walks towards you. And from that moment, you knew what was coming next. Surprise, surprise, you’re going over time. And now you’re on this train of thought, “This is unreasonable.”

Your bosses, colleagues, and even your workplace itself can be unreasonable. Thus, you must learn how to effectively handle these unreasonable work requests. After all, you only have one life to live. And everyone wants to spend it at the right places.

Anyway, here are a few tips to help you in handling those hard-to-refuse requests in your workplace.

1. Determine Whether the Request Is Irrational

2. Set Your Priorities

3. Use It Your Advantage

4. Learn to Respectfully Say No

5. Focus on the Good Things

1. Determine Whether the Request Is Irrational

First, determine whether the request is unreasonable or not.

I hate to breakdown it to you folks, but not all extra work is irrational. Just because it sounds troublesome for you doesn’t mean that it's unreasonable. Taking extra hours because of unexpected issues arising may not be unreasonable. Of course, there are limits. One example is when overtime becomes too prevalent to the point that it becomes the new normal.

If you’re part of the work-home zombie horde, you might have already encountered such issues. A few examples are being forced to do the odd jobs which aren’t part of your job. Or perhaps doing extra service for your boss or your colleague. Some freaks of nature even ask for the murky request. And ladies and gentlemen, you know they exist.

A piece of advice. Refuse the illegal request. Don’t tolerate their horseplay. Most of the time, illegal things will bite you harder than your boss getting angry at you. Anyway, when this happens, it might be time to start your exit plan. Worse comes to worst, talk to your lawyer.

Having an idea of which request is reasonable or unreasonable will be good for you. It will help you draw the line before it imbeds itself into your job description.

2. Set Your Priorities

This never gets old. Life is not all about work. You have your family, lover, kids, and parents to take care of. And don't forget those short-lived drinking buddies of yours. That’s why it's important to set your priorities.

Is the request important for the company and your boss? Is it a priority? Am I going overtime or I am going to my daughter’s fifth birthday?

There are times that you must decide which is more important. I won’t debate against anyone which is more important. But I’m encouraging you to arrange what are your top priorities, and which are not.

Setting your priorities will help you in your decision-making processes.

3. Use It Your Advantage

There are times that you’ll need to do the extra hustle whether you like it or not. After all, not all extra workload is bad. You can even use it in your favor. If your boss or colleague showed willingness in the past to trade favors, why not make use of it?

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It might even help you build lasting workplace relationships. Example: Your colleague has an important dinner date with his wife. Thus, he asked you to take overtime and subbed for him. You could agree with that if you have free time. But in one condition, he’ll do the same for you once you get a date.

What’s important here is to make sure that you’re creating a model. If your boss wants to demand something, learn to negotiate with subtleness. In that way, no one is going to see you as a pushover. Doing so will also cut some unreasonable requests coming your way.

4. Learn to Respectfully Say No

I added the word respectfully for a reason. Saying no doesn’t need to include an eye roll. It also doesn’t need drama lines from whatever show you had watched on Netflix or HBO.

There’s a right way of saying no just in case you don’t know.

You don't need to be sarcastic when saying no. You can explain your part with respect, but make sure you make sense. And of course, let’s hope that you’re boss also makes sense as well.

Say no with the right attitude befitting of a professional.

5. Focus on the Good Things

Yeah, I know this one is hard. There will be times that you can't just say no. Not when your company is about to hit the deadlines and needs extra hands.

Although it's indeed unreasonable, there are times that you just have to process it better. Think positive.

Since you’re going to do it anyway. Do it with a smile. It can at least lessen your wrinkles and stress. Even so, when it's already becoming a routine and is already affecting your health. It’s my advice to try seeking better pastures.

I remembered this one simple but powerful quote drifting in the internet space. “You’re working to live, not to die.”

The Takeaway

Learning to handle work requests is an essential tool in the workplace. You mustn’t simply yes or no to everything. Think carefully and consider both sides of the coin while making an allowance for your priorities.

You can also be flexible about what is unreasonable but don't forget to negotiate terms when dealing with such work requests.

How Say No to Those Unreasonable Work Request? Watch

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Drew Agravante


Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines on March 27, 2021:

Thanks for reading Maren. Cheers!

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines on March 27, 2021:

Truly, I, myself learned that in a hard way, got too sick after overwork. Well, it helped me learn. Anyway, I'm glad it helped. Thanks for reading, Chrish. Cheers!

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines on March 27, 2021:

Indeed, I'm among those. It took me at least a year to figure things out. Thanks for reading.

Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on March 07, 2021:

Nice flow of how to handle the challenge.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on March 06, 2021:

The highest good is the life of reason. It does really make sense (you're working to live, not to die) we weren't put in here as working Psychopath, we often lose our grasp on what matters. Thanks a lot for the tips! Specially on how to say (the good sense of saying NO)

Have a wonderful night!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 05, 2021:

Thanks for sharing these tips. Sometimes these situations do not cross our minds until the moment it happens and we don't have time to figure out an appropriate response. Your article is very helpful.

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