Study Notes KUOW BTFYSW Episode 10 The dangers of bringing cupcakes to work

Welcome to my study notes series. Here you’ll find the notes I’ve taken as I’ve gone through various podcasts and books.

Episode 10: The dangers of bringing cupcakes to work

“Office housework is the undervalued, cleanup work that isn’t officially part of the job. According to scholars who study office housework, women are socialized and pressured to do it. Eula Scott Bynoe and Jeannie Yandel explore the various types of housework, how it can harm your career and strategies to avoid it. Guest: Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings”

  • Office housework: “plan the meetings, take the notes, and take on other types of “office housework,” in Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s immortal phrase. These thankless-but-necessary tasks keep organizations humming.”
  • Women are disproportionately tasked with office housework
  • Glamour work: the work that is highly rewarded and will get you promoted.
  • If you like doing office housework, that’s fine, just be aware of it and be willing to work extra to do the housework and the glamour work if you are wanting to get promoted.
  • You may receive lots of praise for doing office housework but it won’t usually get you promoted.
  • Emotional labor: “is the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job.”
  • The tightrope: “Several studies suggest that women walk a tightrope, or face a “double bind,” in that they must be perceived as both strong and sensitive in order to get ahead. Men need only be perceived as strong. And ongoing research by Alice Eagly has consistently shown that the concept of manager equals “male” so women in that role are seen as a “disconnect.” But when women managers try to act in more masculine ways to fit the expectations (that is, strong, tough, decisive, independent and so on) they are doubly penalized as not fitting the more feminine stereotypes.”
  • Are you pressuring yourself into office housework because you want to be seen as a likeable team player?
  • How do we change the pattern of women getting pudhed into office housework and instead focusing on the glamour work without being penalized?
  • Never volunteer for office housework when it needs to be done.
  • When you are asked to do office housework, use the strategic no. You get glamour work and then you are able to say that you are tied up finishing up this important glamour work. Then you can think of someone that this might be a good opportunity for and suggest them. (preferably a man)
  • Go out and get a few office housework assignments that could help you grow your career or network. Example: if you are asked to chair a committee, say yes if you are able to cochair with someone higher up that you need to build a relationship with. The key is to be intentional.
  • Office housework need to get done.
  • Managers need to be intentional about who and when the office housework gets done.
  • If someone does a poor job, we don’t want them to do a poor job just to get out of getting asked to do it again. Managers can send the message that it needs to be done again and that the last time was a poor performance and that this is a work requirement.
  • Practice saying no.

Action items

  • Work on recognizing glamour work and office housework.
  • Don’t volunteer for office housework.
  • Encourage men over women to take on office housework.
  • Be intentional about the office housework you do and use it as an opportunity to grow your career.
  • Practice saying no.
  • Share this podcast episode with coworkers.