Let’s Do Less Dead-End Work

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By Harvard Business Review. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Could you take notes? Would you mind ordering lunch? We need someone to organize the offsite event — can you do that? Whether you’ve just started your career or are the CEO of the company, if you’re a woman, people expect you to do routine, time-consuming tasks that no one else wants to do.

We talk with University of Pittsburgh economics professor Lise Vesterlund about why women get stuck with — and even volunteer for! — tasks that won’t show off our skills or get us promoted, and how that slows down our career advancement and makes us unhappy at work. Women of color in particular are asked to do more low-promotability projects, and we talk with inclusion strategist Ruchika Tulshyan about some ways they can say no. Lise and Ruchika tell us how they’ve handled these kinds of requests and what managers can do to assign work fairly.

Our HBR reading list:

Why Women Volunteer for Tasks That Don’t Lead to Promotions,” by Linda Babcock, Maria P. Recalde, and Lise Vesterlund

Women of Color Get Asked to Do More “Office Housework.” Here’s How They Can Say No.” by Ruchika Tulshyan

For Women and Minorities to Get Ahead, Managers Must Assign Work Fairly,” by Joan C. Williams and Marina Multhaup

“‘Office Housework’ Gets in Women’s Way,” by Deborah M. Kolb and Jessica L. Porter

Get the discussion guide for this episode on our webpage, hbr.org/podcasts/women-at-work.

Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org

Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

32 episodes