How workers of color can escape office work

  • According to author Alan Henry, minorities are disproportionately assigned “office chores”.
  • Consistently assigning these tasks can reduce your chances of advancement.
  • Keeping an office diary and prioritizing team goals are two ways to escape from office chores.

At work, some tasks are less glamorous than others.

The employee who books the meeting room or takes notes will not get the same credit as the one who presents the outcome of that meeting to senior management.

That’s the distinction between office work and glamor work that Alan Henry aims to define in his forthcoming book, Seen, Heard and Paid.

“Glam work is always the work that gets you attention, that gets you recognized by your boss and their bosses. It will get you promoted and get more pay,” Henry said.

This glamorous work allows employees to climb the corporate ladder, but not all employees have the same access.

Office work is disproportionately allocated to minorities, while glamor work often remains unattainable.

Insider previously reported that working women spend an average of 200 hours a year on non-promotional tasks, such as managing jobs, according to a study conducted by four US economists. B. Taking notes, booking rooms and DEI work.

Being constantly assigned office work can have a serious impact on your career. The work goes largely unnoticed by senior executives, and spending too much money on low-impact tasks can mean you miss out on larger opportunities that lead to promotions.

According to Henry, this is how you make sure you land impactful work.

1. Identify what is important to the team

One definition of office work is work that does not directly contribute to the goals of a company or an employee.

This does not mean that the work is unimportant to the organization, but they are often not part of anyone’s formal job description.

“It’s important work that keeps the team going. But it’s not the kind of work that advances them,” said Alan Henry.

Taking notes, scheduling meetings, and onboarding employees are examples of this type of work.

“Marginal and colored workers get stuck in the office doing chores,” Henry said. “The office work is the stuff that you end up having to do over and over again.”

His first advice is to get proactive when prioritizing a workload.

“One thing I always say to people is to make sure what they’re doing aligns not only with their personal priorities, but with their team’s priorities as well. Try to find a way to frame your work in relation to the overall success of the team. “

He advised him to ask a supervisor what tasks are his priorities and then tell him that you would like to be taken off smaller, chore-like tasks to meet those top priorities.

“If you’re a black and marginalized worker, you have to soften that a bit and say something like, ‘I’d really like to work on this, but ABC takes up so much of my time that I can’t fully devote it,'” he said .

2. Keep a work diary

Keeping a daily or weekly journal of your work allows you to track what type of work you do and how often you do it.

“It’s really cathartic, but it’s also dates,” Henry said. “And data is power.”

By keeping track of the work assigned to you, you simultaneously create a record of “what your manager assigns you versus what you would like to do”.

This can help employees make a case for breaking out of office work.

“If you’ve noticed that for the last month you’ve been the one planning all the weekly meetings, ordering lunch for the weekly team meetings, or planning meetings with all your hands. When all that stuff seems to work for you. You now have data to forward to your manager,” Henry said.

“When you put that information together, you go from a very emotional appeal to a manager who might not be influenced by emotion, to a logical appeal where you have the information in front of your boss and they can’t really refute it.”

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