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Wifework at work

(139 Posts)
fishladder Mon 23-Sep-19 20:28:15

Named changed for this but frequent poster.

I am a manager of a large department at work of 15 people. I have a large workload and a lot of responsibilities and I also seem to take it upon myself to do what some might called wifework for the department.

For example, recently a member of the team had a baby. I organised a collection, bought present and card, wrapped present, organised for card to be sent round and signed by everyone and chased up people who needed to sign it, and now am arranging to drop the present off at the persons house and I'm really going to struggle to fit this in. (I work ft and have 2 dcs of primary school age).

Another example- for the last 4 years since I have been there I have organised the Christmas night out. Identified date and venue, collected deposit, paid deposit, collated all menu choices.

I know these things don't seem like massive jobs but they do take time and it always falls to me to do it. It's a thankless task, especially the night out as I can't please everyone and people complain about the Price or the food etc.

The irony is I'd never do that kind of thing at home- dh knows it's his responsibility to remember his mums bday etc. So am I being a martyr at work? Should I delegate?? Ask for volunteers?? Or just stop doing it??

PicaK Mon 23-Sep-19 20:30:33

But those are the good fun jobs! You shouldn't be doing them. You should be allocating one of your team to do them. Like ice cream runs. You pay you send a junior out on work time.

Iamnotagoddess Mon 23-Sep-19 20:31:55

“Wifework” isn’t that incredibly sexist?

IAmALazyArse Mon 23-Sep-19 20:32:18

Isn't it because you are the manager? In my jobs manager was always sorting these things because they knew budgets and rotas

fishladder Mon 23-Sep-19 20:33:43

But it's not my actual work? And has nothing to do with budgets and Rotas?

LordNibbler Mon 23-Sep-19 20:33:53

Why on earth would you find extra jobs for yourself when no one is even grateful or offering to help? Do you think anyone else would do it if you stopped?
If you carry on doing it, knowing this, then you only have yourself to blame.

IAmALazyArse Mon 23-Sep-19 20:34:30

Agree with @PicaK about a small stuff being delegated. Again. That's a managers job though. To delegate.

fishladder Mon 23-Sep-19 20:35:12

@LordNibbler that's what I've come to realise and that's exactly how I feel.

AwkwardSquad Mon 23-Sep-19 20:36:27

This sort of ‘soft skills’ stuff is important as a manager - it helps with team morale and cohesion. But it’s fine to delegate a lot of it, especially things like organising the Christmas outing.

managedmis Mon 23-Sep-19 20:36:38


“Wifework” isn’t that incredibly sexist?

Yes it is. It is incredibly sexist.

What's your next point?

JontyDoggle37 Mon 23-Sep-19 20:36:51

You’re the manager. Delegate it. End of.

IAmALazyArse Mon 23-Sep-19 20:37:01

But it's not my actual work? And has nothing to do with budgets and Rotas?

Our Christmas parties did. You had to identify quiet time when people can go and select appropriate place which would fit into company's budget. Then just send out email to everyone.

Scottishgirl85 Mon 23-Sep-19 20:37:20

Wife work is a strange term!
In my work the admin would do the tasks you describe, do you have an admin?

managedmis Mon 23-Sep-19 20:37:24

To answer your question, op, either stop doing I altogether or get someone else to do it.

TheRobinIsBobbingAlong Mon 23-Sep-19 20:37:55

Ask for volunteers. Let the dept know that if they want a Christmas night out then you'll need a volunteer to arrange it. Doesn't need to be one person; a couple of the team could do it together. Let them know the budget they're working to and any other considerations they should be aware of. Arrange regular check ins with them to ensure they're on schedule (without micro managing) and see how they get on.

TulipsTulipsTulips Mon 23-Sep-19 20:38:39

I read some good advice once about not taking on the role of social planner at work. I realised I’d naturally started doing this. None of the men ever volunteer and it creates a perception of the woman as some type of secretary. I now refrain from doing it.

OP yanbu. No male manager does this and it will not help your career advancement.

fishladder Mon 23-Sep-19 20:38:53

@Iamnotagoddess it is a term coined by a feminist writer to describe the unpaid domestic labour that women do.....the mental load it's sometimes called.....

Invisimamma Mon 23-Sep-19 20:39:20

Some of this is part of the parcel of being a good manager.

The baby gift thing is part of your role as a manager to organise to make that member of staff feel appreciated and valued.

The Xmas night out should be delegated to admin, with clear parameters and instructions.

KatharinaRosalie Mon 23-Sep-19 20:39:35

Who does that work in other departments, the manager like you or someone else?

Smelborp Mon 23-Sep-19 20:40:06

@Iamnotagoddess that is exactly the point.

I think you just need to delegate OP. In my place, a manager would just give this out at a team meeting or you take turns for things like celebration cards, presents etc. Person who was last celebrated does the next one for example.

user1471449295 Mon 23-Sep-19 20:41:21

A manager delegates

ElizaPancakes Mon 23-Sep-19 20:41:22

You need to delegate better. If no one volunteers - then pick someone. It’ll be good for their personal development if nothing else wink

EggysMom Mon 23-Sep-19 20:42:11

We had a birthday collection/gift scheme in my team at work, only a small thing (£1/birthday). I disbanded after having a year where I was ended up organising and buying more than 50% of the gifts in that year. In theory shared responsibility meant everybody should have been responsible for one birthday gift; but it didn't work out that way with holidays, staff changes, men (and yes I know that's sexist) not being bothered despite having received something only weeks prior ...

The responsibility for organising Christmas dinner is offered out, with the potential of a perk - last year's organiser benefited from the restaurant she we selected giving a £30 voucher for a meal in the new year, so she was quite happy to take charge!

SimonJT Mon 23-Sep-19 20:42:55

Where I work it is standard (and expected) that department managers carry out those roles.

I’m the manager in my department, so I have to arrange all birthday cards and a gift, get well soon cards, new baby etc. I am then responsible for organising the department xmas meal and getting funding and sign off from our finance department.

LizzyDarcy1 Mon 23-Sep-19 20:43:24

It's not "wifework", it's being thoughtful and organising nice things for your team.

I agree with others; if you don't want to do it but think it must be done then ask for volunteers or delegate. Has anyone more senior actually told you to do it?

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