By: Anja Uitdehaag

In her book “Lean In”, Sheryl Sandberg talks about “office housework”, administrative tasks that help but don’t pay off. Women are often expected to take care of such tasks, bringing in the cakes for a birthday, making coffee, training and mentoring junior staff or taking notes during a meeting.

Women often step up for such tasks because they fear that saying no will get them branded as a non team player.

Furthermore, a common pitfall for many women is that they want to help anyone at any time. In the workplace this can be perceived as “playing mommy” or a strong need to be liked.

Personally, I do recognise #e this pitfall. I also used to focus on making other people happy at my own professional expense.

There is nothing wrong with taking your turn for providing the cake for a colleague’s birthday, but make sure it is not your turn more often than anyone else in the office.

If you want to be taken seriously for your talent, make sure you don’t send out the wrong signals.


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