But in her defense, she mentioned that her team just went thru a big restructuring and, during that process, she lost her major projects. Then she was moved to another area, where she is doing a type of work she hasn't done in years. Clearly, she feels her position isn't very secure under the new management.

Maybe if her job situation felt secure to her, she wouldn't feel so nervous about taking on the receptionist responsibility.

I don't think she is saying this out of arrogance but out of fear and frustration that it could be sabotaging her career.

Also, some of this depends on company/organization size. In smaller orgs, ppl filling in and wearing multiple hats as situations merit, is typical. In larger orgs, there are more clearly-defined levels of responsibility that employees generally don't cross. (At least that has been the case iME.)
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
To me, that is a separate issue altogether. I can understand the fear/uncertainty in feeling like your job is insecure, but one sure way to make your job insecure is to refuse to help out when needed or to be dramatic about it. She has certainly framed this situation as that she doesn't think she should have to answer the phone and that she is insulted that they would ask her to do so. If what you state above is the underlying issue then the answer is simple - start an aggressive job hunt.

Asking someone to sit at the receptionist desk (and actually in this case multiple someones, not just one person) for 1/2 hour a week or what have you, is not the same as demoting someone to BE the receptionist. If you're job hunting you never even have to mention it, I don't see how it would damage your career. The perception that you don't want to be a 'team player' (forgive the lame cliche) will certainly damage your career, however.

ETA - Another reason that I would absolutely pitch in and answer phones is that customers/clients are the primary reason any of us HAVE jobs for the most part, so having someone to answer the phone is a critical part of daily operations. Sending people to voicemail is not an acceptable option in my industry and it seems not in violets' either. Personally, I'd welcome the break in the day to be able to just answer phones and chat up some visitors, I might learn something new or gain a different perspective on how we're perceived as a company and be able to improve some things.
I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but I still keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.

Last edited by rileyb; 01-08-2013 at 11:07 AM.