My boss increasingly treats me like a personal assistant, which has become a vicious cycle because it decreases the time I have available to devote to assignments that would better demonstrate my non-administrative abilities, and I believe that no matter what the task, you should do it well. For this and other organizational reasons I have determined that the best course of action is for me to find a new job, but I would like to avoid repeating this scenario in the future. What’s the best way to prevent a manager from viewing you as an entry-level employee? Given my degrees and skill set (I’m an economist), I often think I am hindered by my gender (I’m busty and short), ethnicity (Latina), and youthful face (I’m 33). I understand that sometimes everyone has grunt work to do; my problem is that it seems like my caliber of assignments continues to deteriorate despite getting significant raises and other praise indicative that I am valued, so it can’t be that I suck and they can’t trust me with anything more advanced. I don’t want this to happen again: to feel grumpy at being asked to print documents or compile minutes when more junior male colleagues are not assigned these tasks; I want that it instead be recognized that wasting an economist’s time on these assignments is just bad business.
It’s fine to start looking for another job, but I feel like you’re missing an opportunity here. You’re in a stronger position than you think you are, especially since you’re willing to move on to another job anyway. Trust me, you have very little to lose by flexing a little muscle here.
The first step is to put all this into a formal letter.
Write to your boss directly and let him know what needs to change. Cite specific examples of how you are treated differently than your colleagues. Make reference to the fact that this is a pattern of discriminatory behavior based on your gender and ethnicity where you are repeatedly and consistently assigned assistant-level tasks when more junior (white) male colleagues are not. Be sure and list all your qualifications and accomplishments.
If the company is small, consider cc’ing the owner. If the company is medium sized, cc the office manager. If it’s a big company, definitely cc someone in human resources, because the point of the letter is to go on record. It’s a chess move. It’s a preemptive defense for later when you start putting your foot down.
Deliver the letter and have a frank conversation with your boss. Tell your boss what needs to change, and see what kind of reaction you get. If it’s positive, you win. If it’s negative, then you were already willing to leave, and the letter will most likely protect you from any overt retaliation. (Mention discrimination in a formal letter, and they will take you seriously. They may not do everything you ask, but they will do something.)
Whatever happens, nothing is gonna change unless you ask for what you want. Protect yourself, of course, but just fucking ask.