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Working Conditions Assertiveness Furniture Workload Expectations Interrupting

Several months ago, one of my associate's desk drawers was jammed. No one could open it, but I have a small set of tools in my office. I went over, unscrewed part of the drawer, and got it open. The problem is that since then, I have become the informal office handyman. This is a major interruption, but it is hard to say no. What can I do?

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a good handyman? All right, it's true, your associates are taking advantage of you and your handy skills.

You solved one small problem with a screwdriver, and by doing so created a huge problem for yourself. Once the word of your skills got out, it was just a matter of time before you jumped to the top of everyone's speed dial.

There are a couple of ways to deal with this. While it may be tempting to trash a few jobs so that the word gets out that you have lost your touch, that could have other repercussions. A better approach is for you to be honest with the people who use you as a tool. Let them know that you are too busy, and suggest that they call building maintenance or whomever else the company suggests in such situations.

At the same time, if you enjoy tinkering and the recognition and accomplishment that go with it, you should pick and choose the jobs you like and do them when the time is right for you. After all, if you spend too much time unjamming drawers, you will find yourself in a far bigger jam.

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