By Joelly Lucien
Non-promotable tasks. Thankless tasks. Dead-end work. Unrewarded work. NPTs. Whatever you call them, they should be non-starters for women at work.
“The No Club”
In the new book, “The No Club: Putting a Stop to Women’s Dead-End Work” by Linda Babcock, Brenda Peyser, Lise Vesterlund and Laurie Weingart, they define a “non-promotable task” as a job that “matters to your organization, but will not help you advance your career.” The women named the book after the friend group they formed, “The No Club”, where they would meet regularly for a decade to vent about their overwhelming careers.
From onboarding a new colleague to bringing in a cake for someone’s birthday to creating slides for someone else’s Powerpoint presentation, these tasks run the gamut but are almost always given to women to perform.
Its effect on women in the workplace
“When we have a non-promotable job to do, we think of women first and we ask them more than men,” says Linda Babcock, one of the authors. As reported by CNN, managers are 50% more likely to ask a woman than a man to do these invisible tasks. Lise Vesterlund, one of the co-authors and an economics professor at the University of Pittsburgh explains, “The fact that you are spending time on assignments that are not using your unique skills means you aren’t really reaching your potential…it can hurt your compensation, hurt your promotion and certainly does not give you any leverage when you try to negotiate.”
Here are some steps YOU can take to reverse this ongoing trend:
- Take inventory of who is currently performing these tasks at your workplace.
- Don’t assume someone volunteered for an assignment. Oftentimes, employees are “volun-told” to take on extra work. Women, especially, may feel pressured to “be a team player” and accept.
- Consider creating a volunteer rotation system that meets every team member’s scheduling and time commitment needs.
- Make non-promotable tasks a part of yearly reviews. Employees should be rewarded for all of the work they do to serve the organization.
- Hire more people! If you find that there are a lot of tasks falling in between jobs and responsibilities, hire more staff.