Do I have to take care of my boss’s son while I work in the office?

Each week, Dr. Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions about the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a Minute?” This week, a question about caring for a boss’s child, going back to work at a lower rate, and others being paid higher for a similar position.

I work as a receptionist in a busy physical therapist’s office. My boss brings his young son to the office when his babysitter is not available and asks me to babysit her son for up to an hour at a time. While he is a lovely little boy, he can get quite busy as I try to answer calls at the front desk and greet patients, and also keep him entertained. I like to be really professional at work – taking care of a small child while I’m at the front desk makes it really difficult. Is there anything I can do or is this just part of my job now?

Taking care of a young child in the office is not in most people's job descriptions.

Taking care of a young child in the office is not in most people’s job descriptions.Credit:dione gain

I guess 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’d probably be happy to help. And I suspect that’s how this situation started. But now, if it’s a regular occurrence and there’s been little to no discussion of how you feel about it being an ongoing part of your job, things have gone too far. You are clearly having an impact on your ability to do your front desk work and need support to feel as professional as possible in your role.

I would recommend in your one-on-one conversation with your boss (and ask for one if one isn’t scheduled), let him know that you are concerned that caring for your child is affecting your ability to serve and care for your patients. needs. Let him know that while you’ve been happy to help, as he gets older, he becomes more challenging. Ask her if she needs help finding a new babysitter who is more reliable and can be available when her boss needs her. This will make it clear that these are two very separate responsibilities that you need to resolve.

If I want to re-enter the workforce after a two-year career break, should I accept a position I’ve been holding for more than 15 years, for which I’m overqualified and paid less than one-third of my salary? usual? pay rate?

I guess the answer to that question is how important it is for you financially to get back into the workforce. If you can afford to wait, I would recommend continuing to see what jobs are available and making sure future employers understand the value you bring. Job seekers have more power than they have in a long time right now, as talented and qualified employees are in high demand. If you can afford to wait, you should. You will be resentful for taking on a job in which you are not satisfied and you are not valued as you think you should be. A two-year career break isn’t very long either (especially considering what’s been going on in the world for two years), so I wouldn’t let that stop you. Good luck with the job search.


I recently started a job that I’ve been in for about five months. I had a higher salary expectation, but since they said they didn’t have the budget at the time, I accepted a lower offer. My manager and crew chief are pleased with my performance, but their recommendation is to wait up to six months before reviewing. Meanwhile, the new recruits earn more than me and others on my team also get paid more. How should I approach this and what salary range should I ask for in this next review knowing all this information?

Your boss has opened the door to review your salary in a month, so be sure to book a date and time for that meeting now. Do your research to understand what you think is a fair salary for the job, and bring to the meeting a list of everything you’ve accomplished and the value you’ve brought to the company and the position since you started. Be sure to make it clear to your boss that you are enjoying the position and that it is important that you are paid fairly and that it reflects his experience so that he can continue to develop and advance. If you have public information, such as job postings, salary ranges of new hires for the same position as you, make sure you have that handy as well.

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