Armed with the unflinching and mission-driven spirit of Men Explain Things To Me and the wry wit of Dorothy Parker, cultural critic Alana Massey’s NOT IN THE JOB DESCRIPTION offers a bold and necessary perspective about the underlying conditions that have perpetuated the lack of women’s recognition and visibility in the workplace. Massey challenges the persistent blame placed on women’s personalities, the kind of work they do, or how well they do it and insists instead that a host of historical, linguistic, and cultural processes (and even conspiracies) result in the widespread inability to grasp that women are capable of producing actual value through their labor.
NOT IN THE JOB DESCRIPTION contends that whether a woman is caring for a child, coding for a multi-billion dollar startup, or winning the popular vote for the presidency of the United States, she is still always expected to conform to one of the numerous feminized archetypes that women are expected to embody. From this framework emerge the profiles of the Lover, the Mother, the Muse, and the Witch.
Massey draws from popular culture, interviews and transcripts from real workplace interactions, historical documents from the 16th century emergence of capitalism, and social science data to establish the facts of her argument and draws on poetry, mythology, and theology to make this narrative a uniquely literary one for the genre. The result is a portrait of women being cast as supporting roles that are uniquely defined by the fact that they function primarily in the family unit and in the imagination rather than the public. NOT IN THE JOB DESCRIPTION goes well beyond the idea that emotional labor is at the core of women’s invisibility as workers and confronts the stark reality that working women face every day when their work is diminished, miscategorized, or erased, “If I am not a worker, what exactly do you think I am?”
NOT IN THE JOB DESCRIPTION is a book for all women negotiating their worth in a world that denies it exists and a formidable harbinger of women’s future for those who hope that the myth will endure forever.