How to say "That's not my job"?

How do you say proffesionally to a coworker “that’s not my job”? More precicesly in this case…“That’s not my job. That’s actually your job.” Like something I consider to be mutually exclusive of actuarial duties entirely.

I’d tell you how, but it’s not my job.


Is this coworker at the same level as you, less experienced, or more experienced? Do you share a manager? Could you ask the manager for help?

If it’s someone new, just kindly explain that they need to do the work. If it’s someone old, maybe say you have a lot of other things going on and ask if they could help with it?

“If I have time, I might be able to help you out.”

“You’ll need to run that by my {manager | supervisor | project lead | etc.}.”

“So . . . which of these other items I need to do are you willing to complete for me?”

Blow me!


In terms of corporate heirarchy I’d say I’m theoretically higher (though different department…so…???), but significantly less experienced in general. Different managers. My manager agrees it’s other person’s job, but won’t actually step in either, so it’s kinda weird.

Also should have put in the OP…‘politely’. Cuz I mean…there are the obvious ways of course.

“I could, but I believe that’s not usually my responsibility. Do you mind if I ask our managers before taking this on? I don’t want things to get confusing about who handles what.”

Imo, that’s one of the main jobs of a manager - to keep you working on what you’re supposed to be working on and act as a gate keeper for people trying to get you to do other stuff. So tell your manager it’s not your job to say no I guess :laughing:


You deflect things so that the other person has to go to your manager. If your manager is telling you that it is the other person’s job, and then tells you to do it anyway, then you can ask your manager what things you should set aside to do that job.


This makes much sense.

Is the person asking you to complete a task, or help them with a task? Is the task something they can’t do, or just don’t want to do?

Something along the lines of “I’d like to help, but I’ve discussed it with [my boss], and it isn’t on my list of priorities right now.” It is truthful, but avoids the part of the conversation that concludes it won’t ever be on your list. Your manager has a job to do as well, and assigning you work is one of them (typically).

Be a narcissistic manager. Then everything can be not your job. Or everything can be your job, depending on how miserable you want to make everyone around you.

I did this once, in this situation. For reference, I had on a white board at my desk everything I had been told to work on because my boss complained once that he didn’t know what I was doing. The white board is about 6’ x 4’ and it is 3/4 filled at this point in time, and every task had the date I had been told it needed to be done by with everything due in the next week in one area, prominently marked, and there’s 11 items in there.

My boss comes by one Tuesday, late afternoon, does a deep sigh, tells me about something someone wants and it’s not really our job to do it but we’re going to do it anyway, and it’s high priority and he said we’d have it done by Friday morning, and asks me if that’s OK. My response was “does it matter, since you told them you’d have it to them Friday morning?” The response back is “well, I know it’s a lot of work, I’m just asking if Friday morning is reasonable.”

I pointed to the white board asked “you tell me that tell me which of these I can stop doing so I can work on this and get it done by Friday morning.” The answer: “none of them, they’re all important and we have deadlines to hit.”

Solution [which I didn’t implement for another 4 months, until another incident]: start a job search, find somewhere else to work.


That has a Dilbert strip written all over it!

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Did you add that to the tasks on the white board?


It was framed as ‘help with’ but carries the air of ‘do for’, which made it harder to deal with imo.

I’ve done this a few times, and always run into the problem of nothing seeming ‘definitely better’. Some parts are better, and some are worse, but I’ve not actually gotten through an interview process and thought I’d feel better off making the switch. I’m paid just fine where I am as well, so the motivation to change would really need to be something I knew would be more enjoyable. Haven’t found it though.

I’ve heard that if you decide to change jobs looking to find something better, you’ll get it right the first second third fourth fifth time.

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If you’re lucky.

If you’re not, it’s the fifth sixth time.

I’d be very careful about this, because this has trouble all over it. Consider saying to the co-worker, “Let me get back to you on this,” and then run to your boss.

If the co-worker also reports to your boss, then let your boss resolve this. If the co-worker reports to a different boss, then let the two bosses resolve it.

There is the possibility that your boss wil say, “Yes, it’s not technically your job, but I would like you to do it.”

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