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My PI keeps asking me to do tasks that aren’t part of my project responsibilities (order supplies, grade papers, set up conference logistics, take her to the airport, feed her cat).

Possible Responses

  • Make a list of requests – all the things you would like to acknowledge, include dates and evidence (when you took her to the airport, when you fed her cat). Compare that list to the initial position expectations in the job description.
  • When presented with an inappropriate request, reply simply. “I’m not available to do that.”
  • Use I-statements. “I’m concerned that these are personal favors and they take away from time for my other work”.
  • Say, “I want to be collegial, but these personal requests seem to be accumulating.”
  • Schedule a meeting with your PI to address your concerns. Perhaps lead with, “I’m really enjoying working with you so far, and I’m looking forward to getting some of the tasks, we agreed upon when I joined the project.”
  • Are others asked to do the same tasks? Can anyone help you practice setting boundaries with the PI?
  • If the PI refuses to address your concerns, schedule a meeting with either an advisor, a supervisor, or a department head. Bring your list along and notes from your meeting with your PI.