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Why Black Woman Should Say No To Menial Tasks In The Workplace

“Would you mind stocking the breakroom?”

“Could you take notes during the meeting?”

“We need someone to onboard the new hire – could you do that?” 

Whether you’ve just started as a clerk or are the CEO of the company, if you’re a woman – especially a black woman – people expect you to do routine, time-consuming tasks that no one else wants to do – most often without reward.

I know this firsthand. About a month after I started work at a non-profit, my boss frequently began to pass extra assignments to me. Initially, I felt flattered that he trusted my judgement and assumed the opportunities would speak well for me in future promotion considerations and during potential negotiations for a bump in salary.

It wasn’t until the second quarterly employee performance review that I received a rude wake-up call – I got a slight pay increase but was passed over for a promotion. Yes, I was pitching in. Yes, my superiors saw all that I was doing and they thought it was cool. But I was slacking significantly in my core job requirements because I had been saddled with so many other (unvalued) additional responsibilities – a situation that would cause me to drown in work and finally quit the job.