HomeLearning CenterWomen Do The Most ‘Invisible Work’ At The Office — And It’s Getting Us Nowhere

Women Do The Most ‘Invisible Work’ At The Office — And It’s Getting Us Nowhere

“If you lead this, Kelli, you will get so much exposure to senior leadership,” my manager told me.

Every year, the organization I worked for would host an annual fundraiser and select an individual to chair the efforts. One year, my director let me know that her boss was going to be the executive sponsor for the initiative, and asked if I would chair the committee to organize the events for the nonprofit fundraiser.

I answered her honestly: “If I’m being truthful, I’m not really that interested in leading it.”

As soon as those words left my mouth, I felt a twinge of guilt in my gut and a lump in my throat. I was a relatively new leader at that point in my career, and eager to climb the corporate ladder — I was flattered to be asked, but hesitant to commit. I knew the amount of tasks and meetings that would go into leading an organization-wide effort like this.

My manager was supportive of my feelings of hesitancy but encouraged me to reconsider, as saying no could reflect poorly on my desire to be a team player and keep me from being considered for future promotions. Taking her point about exposure and future opportunities, I agreed to lead the initiative.

As soon as the annual fundraiser kicked off, I started spending at least five hours per week on the project. Not only did I have to select department leads, set goals and communicate with my contacts at the fundraising organization, but I also had to attend meetings to coordinate fundraising events and brainstorm ideas to get people excited about donating money.


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