Colette Sexton, news correspondent at the Sunday Business Post, on why bringing baked goods into the office is damaging your career.
I like a home-baked treat as much as the next person but the office is not somewhere to play house.
Yes, it is really nice when someone thoughtfully bakes a batch of cupcakes but it is not helping how they are perceived in the workplace, particularly if they are in a male-dominated industry. Do you want to be known as the person who hit all their targets for Q1 or someone who makes a delicious chocolate brownie?
By bringing in goodies, you will be seen as motherly and caring, and that can undermine your position at work.
Fair enough, if your workplace has a “treat day” rotation system in which both men and women take turns. But if you find you are the only one rustling up food to feed the masses, you should ask yourself why. Maybe you are a fantastic baker and if so, I’m sure your friends or your kids’ football team will be delighted to take some of those treats off your hands. Just keep them out of the workplace. The office is not the place for domesticity.
Most often, the person delivering the treats to colleagues is a woman and, without even realising, manages to place themselves in the role of the office mammy.
Of course, there are worse things to be than the office mammy. The office baby is also in a precarious position as they are automatically seen a junior no matter how long they have been working there (unless someone younger joins, of course). But the office baby is given that label because of factors of out their control, namely, when they were born, while the office mammy earns their label through their actions.
Without realising, one batch of brownies too many and you are tasked with organising a leaving party, buying (or baking) cake for birthdays or cleaning the communal fridge. Every workplace should have a nice environment. Birthdays or significant events like babies’ births should be recognised. But it should not be down to just one person to recognise them.
This kind of work, and it is work, eats into time you could be spending on your actual job which can earn you promotions or pay rises. You might tell yourself that the office will not function unless you take on this menial labour, but it will.
So put down the whisk. It’s a slippery slope to office mam, and that slope is paved with icing.