How to solve the problem of women doing more ‘dead-end’ work

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Lise Vesterlund felt she was “too thin” at work, but only when the economist began discussing it with friends did she realize the source of the problem – “non-promotional work.”

Andrew W., professor of economics at the University of Pittsburgh, Vesterlund. Mellon co-created the term with co-educators Linda Babcock, Brenda Pacer and Laurie Wingart. They define a “non-promotional job” as a job that is “important to your organization, but will not help you advance your career.”

MJ Toki, a legal adviser who died in 2014, and four academics began meeting regularly more than a decade ago to see how overwhelmed they felt at work and formed “The No Club”.

It actually became the title of their book, “The No Club: Putting a Stop to Women’s Dead-and-Work,” which was published last week.

And non-promotional tasks aren’t just for office work, like bringing cakes for coworkers, making coffee, or cleaning up the mess in the kitchen.

Vesterlund told CNBC in a phone call that, for him, these tasks include advising undergraduate students, working as a committee advisor, and reviewing work in academic journals. All of this was beneficial to Vesterlund’s recruiting organization but turned him away from the core work of his academic research.

And to cope, Westerlund said he started work in the morning and then worked after his kids went to bed. He said that for this non-promotional work I needed so many hours that the only way I could save my research time and my teaching time was to sort my day backwards with a lot of work.

In their book, the four educators not only talk about their own journeys as they are becoming inconsistently understood with these tasks, but also look to highlight how widespread the problem is for women in the workplace and why it happens.

Their study by a consultancy firm found that women spend about 200 hours more each year on non-promotional work than men, which equates to one month of “dead-end” work.

So why does this happen and what is the best way to deal with the problem?

Raise awareness

To find out why women tend to engage in more non-promotional work, Westerlund and his co-authors experimented with looking at how decisions were made in teams.

Specifically, they looked at situations where there was a task that everyone wanted to accomplish, but they would rather someone else do it, so it was up to a volunteer to get it done.

They found that in a mixed sex group, women were 50% more likely than men to do these things.

“So what this study suggests is that the reason or certainly a big contributing factor for women to do this work is that we all hope they will take this job,” Westerlund explained.

The first step in helping to reduce this burden on women is to raise awareness about the problem, she argued.

Westerlund said that to help describe the term effectively, to help define the term “is derailing the careers of all these women, is an important first step, so that we understand that not all jobs are the same, there are some jobs that are less valuable, and that The work has a tendency to go to women, and this is preventing them from succeeding. “

He said raising awareness of the issue has also helped organizations because it ensures that non-promotional jobs are given not only to employees who “least object” but also to those who work best.

One way to shift from volunteering to those who volunteer is to pick names from hats, Westerlund said.

Encouraging companies to document the distribution of non-promotional work can help “keep management somewhat accountable.”

Admitting that, she said, there would be organizations that would not be open to change, but added that spreading awareness about the problem would make colleagues “more reluctant to give women all the bad things they can do.”

Internal expectations

Westerlund said it is also important for women to realize that there is an element to internalizing the expectation that they will do the job.

He said it may be helpful to volunteer for the work without having to raise your hand immediately at meetings.

Westerlund and his co-authors spoke with an organization that was training women to study the body language of male colleagues at meetings. The agency noticed that many people looked isolated and checked their phones when requesting volunteers, so it tried to instruct women to do the same, instead of internalizing “everyone’s expectations.”

And while Westerlund said he was not sure how much it would help raise awareness of the issue among organizations forming a group like “The No Club”, he said it would “help you to be responsible for your ‘yes'” and work. A word board for problems.

He noted that “every time you say yes to something, you are clearly saying no to anything else.”

A modified ‘yes’

In situations where women feel they may react if they don’t do a certain non-promotional job, Westerlund agrees to take that job and suggests giving a “yes” to the change, provided you take another job. Close your list.

Westerlund said another option was to agree to do the job at once.

He said that his co-author Linda Babbak has an effective rule for this type of work, allowing herself to say “no” directly to something but to wait 24 hours before saying “yes”, so she had time to think. On the effect of taking it.

Check out: There are 7 types of ‘office jerk’, psychologist says: Use this chart to find out which one you work with

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