The No Club: Why women need to start saying ‘no’ at work


The No Club: Ending women’s dead-end work is a book written by four women – Linda Babcock, Brenda Peyser, Lise Vesterlund and Laurie Weingart – who realized that they all seemed to be working nonstop, not reaping the same rewards as their male counterparts.

In this book, they reveal how women in the workforce are often unfairly burdened with “unpromoted work”, such as planning the office party, looking after interns, and providing extra (often emotional) support to clients. or demanding colleagues.

According to Linda, Brenda, Lise and Laurie, this imbalance “leaves women over-engaged and under-utilized as companies lose revenue, productivity and top talent.” Here, in an excerpt from their book, they share how to master your work/work balance…

Our research provides overwhelming evidence that women spend more time than men in unpaid work. These “unpromoted tasks” (UNTs) benefit an organization, but do not advance the career of the person performing them.

No profession or industry is devoid of NTPs and they come in a variety of forms, such as polishing a PowerPoint presentation for a colleague to present, helping a new employee learn the ropes, selecting summer interns, or taking on tasks. time consuming but inexpensive. income customer. And, of course, NTPs include the office chores of ordering meals and getting coffee.

Time spent on these tasks accumulates, and if you can’t get more hours to work, managing too many unpromoted tasks wastes time on promoted tasks. You may not realize it, but little by little you are turning away from the work that matters most.

We all understand the elusive concept of work/life balance – the sweet spot where the division of time between our professional and personal lives makes us happiest. But we rarely talk about finding the right balance between the types of tasks we do at work. If your share of unpromoted-to-promoted work is higher than that of your peers, then you have what we call imbalan work/workthis and this can harm you and your career in five consecutive ways.

1. The work/work imbalance can block your career

Five years ago, Maria and her colleague Doug started working as database analysts at a major fashion retailer. Early on, co-workers asked Maria, but not Doug, to “help” her with tasks outside of their primary job responsibilities. Maria hosted parties, completed projects that fell through the cracks, and served on safety and integrity committees.

After several years of work, Maria’s boss asked if she was coordinating projects for their team because they lacked support staff. While he did the high-level management work, she organized the weekly team meeting, helped others with their work, and made sure the team met their deadlines.

She wanted to stay on the technical side, not organize or correct other people’s work, but her boss needed her help, and she felt she had to provide it. When the Vice President praised her boss for his success in running the department, the important role Maria played was never recognized. Her colleague Doug received a promotion and she was passed over.

2. The work/work imbalance can undermine your self-esteem.

Maria’s original tasks were interesting and challenging, but they had been replaced by others that required less intellectual rigor. Increasingly, her colleagues viewed her as an administrator, not the technical, creative person she had been. It started to affect how she felt about herself. Maybe she wasn’t so technically good after all?

3. Work/work imbalance can cause emotional exhaustion.

Working hard on less satisfying work than your colleagues and progressing at a slower pace is frustrating and emotionally draining. Additionally, some types of NPT are themselves emotionally draining, such as Maria’s efforts to keep her team on track. It took a toll on her and she returned home exhausted and desperate.

4. The work/work imbalance can cause tension with colleagues.

Maria and Doug always met for drinks once a week to catch up on each other’s work and discuss new ideas for solving problems that arose. Over time this changed and Maria complained about the monotony of her job and Doug talked about the complicated algorithms he wrote. She was jealous of his opportunities and he was tired of listening to her complaints. This strained their relationship and she began to feel isolated from the rest of the team. Now, rather than being together in the trenches, she coordinated their work and the group broke up. She has lost the esprit de corps she once had with these colleagues.

5. Work/work imbalance can cause job dissatisfaction, stress and turnover.

A snowball effect occurs with the work/work imbalance. First you feel bad about yourself, then you feel bad about yourself, and finally you feel bad about your job. It happened to Maria. She became unhappy with her job and told her boss that she could contribute much more by returning to her technical role. He wouldn’t hear her; she was too valuable in her current position. Maria had exhausted all her options – she couldn’t do a job she hated, and she couldn’t have the job she once loved. Her organization had given her no choice, so she quit. Her career was derailed, leaving her disillusioned, discouraged and helpless.

As you can see, too much unpromoted work can harm your career and yourself. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Women, in partnership with their organisations, can work to equalize the distribution of non-valuable work so that no one person carries an excessive burden. Employees can take turns doing certain tasks, employers can set minimum requirements to do this type of work, new people can be trained to take on this work.

This way everyone has an equal chance to contribute. Individuals do better and so do their organizations. By assigning the right person to a task, resources are used well, the organization is more productive, and employees are happy and engaged.

Extract of THE NO CLUB by Linda Babcock, Brenda Peyser, Lise Vesterlund and Laurie Weingart. Copyright © 2022 by Linda Babcock, Brenda Peyser, Lise Vesterlund and Laurie Weingart. Reprinted with permission from Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserve.


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