Dealing With Unreasonable Requests

Asserting Yourself Effectively

Woman with work files.

Learn to recognize and deal with unreasonable requests.

© iStockphoto/alvarez

It's Sheila's last day before a long-awaited break, and she's been working hard to complete her work before she leaves.

However, in the middle of the afternoon, her boss comes in with news: Sheila's company has just been contacted by a possible new client, and, as she's the team's best sales rep, her boss wants her to meet with the client tomorrow.

When Sheila reminds him about her planned time off, her boss asks that she reschedule. He says that the client is too important for less experienced reps to handle, and, since Sheila's not actually going away on vacation, he thinks that there's no reason why she can't attend the meeting.

Many of us are approached with requests that seem unreasonable. If you want to stay productive and happy in your role, it's essential to know how to deal with these demands.

Defining "Unreasonable"

"Unreasonable" means "beyond the bounds of reason and fairness." This is clearly quite subjective, and what may seem reasonable to one person may seem quite unreasonable to another. So, what could an "unreasonable request" actually encompass? Let's consider the following situations:

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