Women Do Too Much Non-Promotable Work: How To Say No More with Linda Babcock

Women are more likely to volunteer for a non-promotable task at work, than men. But why do women volunteer themselves more? What repercussions does this have on women and on the organization? And how can workplaces fix this inequity?

Non promotable tasks (NPTs) are the pieces of work that are good for the organization, but not so good for the individual. It’s the request from your boss to organize the holiday party, or the task of ordering sandwiches for the team lunch, or the mission of being on the review committee. And the problem, says Linda and her co-authors, is that women are doing the vast majority of these non-promotable tasks for no reason other than people expect them to.

A ton of feathers still weighs a ton. Things might seem small, like you're asked to take notes or write this report this one time. But those things add up. And over time...they really are weighing women down. ~ Linda Babcock Share on X

Linda Babcock is a longtime friend of the show, having first appeared on Behavioral Grooves Podcast back in April 2019 to talk about promoting the careers of women in the workplace. Since then, Linda has co-authored a fantastic new book advocating further for women in the workplace; “The No Club: Putting a Stop to Women’s Dead-End Work”. Having formed “The No Club” with a group of other women, in an effort to regain balance in their workload, Linda and her fellow group members have written about their personal experience of learning to say NO to NPTs.

Make no mistake, Linda’s book is not a guide for women, it is a guide for anyone who works with or knows women! Weaving practical tips into ever chapter of the book, Linda and her co-authors outline clear steps in how to avoid and fix the problem of workload inequity. And the benefits aren’t limited to women either – organizations can improve their productivity and profitability as a result of addressing these problems.

In this episode with Linda we relish the opportunity to discuss with her the practical ways women, men and organizations can rebalance the workload of NPTs. If you are a regular listener to the show, please consider support our work through our Patreon page. If donating isn’t an option for you, don’t worry, you can’t write us a podcast review on your podcast player which will help other listeners find our show.


(4:40) What are non promotable tasks (NPTs)?

(7:47) Why do women do more NPTs?

(12:50) Is there racial inequity with NPTs as well?

(14:11) Tips for how women can say no to NPTs.

(18:31) How can organizations fix the problem of NPTs?

(21:27) How men can change the NPT culture at work.

(25:55) Linda’s personal story of forming The No Club.

(27:45) Linda’s desert island music choices.

(31:21) Grooving session with Kurt and Tim on how to improve the culture of NPTs at your work..

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Other Episodes You Will Enjoy

Episode 62, Linda Babcock: Helping Women Build Better Careers at Carnegie Mellon

Episode 67, George Loewenstein: On a Functional Theory of Boredom