In every workplace there are tasks that aren’t enjoyable to do, or that aren’t part of formal job descriptions but are important for building positive relationships and community. However, research has shown that these kinds of tasks – which some researchers have labeled “office housework” or “shadow work” – tend to be done more by women and by members of demographic minorities. It’s also been suggested that doing these tasks can have a negative impact on the careers of those who regularly take them on.
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, is a very thoughtful analysis of this phenomenon. I came across the book when I was thinking about how “office housework” functions in academic workplaces. I recently left an academic job, but I still regularly get requests to (more…)