Female Overcommitment Is Not Rewarded

For some time now, Female Overcommitment Is Not Always Rewarded! Sorry if I hit you on the head. But, reality strikes the most in the central department of female overcommitment. Both at home and at work.

Women work differently than men.  One major difference leads to much mutual frustration because neither gender fully understands the viewpoint of the other. I have always called it female overcommitment.

It is rarely observed in men but frequently occurs among the hardest working and most unappreciated women.  The closest similar male behavior comes from the founding fathers of organizations; but their dedication to the well-being of their enterprises is generally recognized, prized and rewarded.

Not so for the female victims of this widely misunderstood syndrome.

Female Overcommitment Is Not Always Rewarded
The most effective way to vanquish stereotypes is to do so incrementally — and on an organizational level. | iStock/Tinpixels

Female Overcommitment Background Check

Although controversy is no stranger to me, I have always carefully refrained from openly discussing this topic. And thus exposing one of my longest-held theories about women and work.  While unafraid of appearing sexist to those who know my distinguished history.

In particular, of comparable worth pay equity activism, strangers to my lifetime body. Especially, of work could easily dismiss my admittedly purely subjective comments here. On the contrary, as the erratic musings of a misogynist.  Again, not so, although I will admit to moments of erratic behavior.

As an example, my professional friend Suzette Haden Elgin confirmed personally what I had long observed. In reality, women overcommitment is often overlooked and are socialized in a unique manner even in traditional enlightened cultures.

Raising Grounds Relating To Female Overcommitment

For sure, little boys and little girls are usually raised with distinctly different behavioral expectations.  In that case, look at what is generally taught as the standard societal roles of each sex.


  • defend and protect
  • obey instructions
  • handle designated responsibilities
  • complete assignments and achieve specific objectives
  • receive praise for exercising initiative and doing more than required


  • nurture and cherish
  • respond to needs
  • are responsible for everything
  • must make everyone happy
  • are criticized for acting outside the limits of their jobs

A guy completes his list of tasks, then retires to the man cave for a beer and a game on TV. But the woman is expected to continue to toil indefinitely, sacrificing her time for family welfare. Until absolutely nothing remains undone.

Eventually, the female overcommitment role hits by — to please everyone — even though it is an impossible task.  Granted, these are broad generalizations with limited examples, but hey! This is just a blog article!

Human Resources Professionals Inputs

Human resources professionals who deal with distributing compensation rewards come into constant contact with the many victims.

In general, of self-imposed female overcommitment.  I have found them in every type of organization. Including and not limited to:

  • government agencies,
  • military units,
  • major universities,
  • multinational conglomerates,
  • regular corporations,
  • private companies,
  • neighborhood businesses,
  • charities and
  • even foundations. Literally, anywhere women work.

For one thing, they are typically upset with their employer, frustrated by the organization’s lack of appropriate appreciation for their dedication.  Even when paid on the high side of their job’s earning range, they still rage at what they see as unreasonable limits.

On their continual attempts to go the extra mile. In reality, fixing those nagging low-priority problems. In addition, to spread their arms to encompass uncompleted (or badly done) tasks. Not to mention, dropped dismissively by others (typically men).

“He doesn’t LET me do what is needed!” is the war-cry of the excessively over-committed woman. It is usually a guy who blocks their constant attempts to do too much.

Bosses On Female Overcommitment 
Universal Life Church: Should Women Work Outside the Home? – June 14, 2016.

Bosses On Female Overcommitment 

Their male bosses just don’t get it.  They only see workers straying beyond their boundaries of authority.  Following the male method learned from the crib and reinforced in every social situation throughout their lives, they attempt to constrain. Especially the female determined to do what is “not her job.”

The bewildered women guilty of this offense have similarly absorbed the very different lesson. That they are supposed to fix whatever is wrong.  THAT is their self-perceived real job description.

In other words, female overcommitment generation through overcommitted women finds it virtually impossible to accept my usual advice:  Just do your job.

You care more than they do, so take pride and comfort in your superior occupational dedication. Above all, that goes far beyond the required or even appreciated work output standards.

Prosper In All Imaginable and Possible Ways

Equally important, he doesn’t WANT you to do so much, work so hard or care so deeply.  Whilst, the intensity of your concern about the welfare of your employer is unhealthy. For you exactly because it is unappreciated.

Don’t expect to be rewarded for doing what they don’t want done.  In fact, anticipate correction, criticism or punishment for exceeding your boss’s expectations.

Female managers who respond in the “male” manner are exceptions.  They will prosper in the workplace.  Am I right or not?

Should Women Work Outside the Home?

Over time, the family dynamic has changed. Just 40 to 50 years ago, a large percentage of women stayed at home to keep up with the house and take care of the children. Now, many works outside the home.

Some wait for their children to start school before beginning work again, while others hire a nanny or send their children to daycare. In addition, there are a growing number of women who are working inside the home.

Many make things from scratch, whether it’s fancily decorated birthday cakes or pretty hair bows created to match a special outfit for pictures. Many of these women are quite successful.

There are many other ways women (and men) are able to work from home, including things like Writing Selling a larger company’s product Telemarketing

Still, the number of women who have begun working outside the home has increased dramatically over the last several decades. Many people used to feel that a woman’s place is inside the home caring for the family, but there are few people who feel this way anymore.

Free Women From Female Overcommitment Confines

Many women who work outside the home are doing so because they have no other choice. Even when their husbands have a reasonably well-paying job, they have to work to make ends meet.

Even working part-time can help bring in money for the food bill, utility bill, or homeowner’s insurance. Many women want their children to be able to take dance classes or play soccer. These expenses add up quickly and leave many women with no choice but to take a job, whether they want to or not.

Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t women out there who don’t enjoy working and want to go back to work. The average age of a first-time mom is 26. Because of this, many women are well established in their careers before they become a mother.

Equally, this can make them more likely to want to get back to work as soon as possible. In addition, this may be partly because they want to keep their position at work. But also because they enjoy the work they do and look forward to it.

Empowerment On Female Overcommitment Religiously

Many more conservative people feel a woman should stay inside the home to raise the children if possible. It may be an unpopular opinion, but it’s still one many person who consider themselves to be religious have.

For one thing, they believe that children fare better when they have a parent at home with them versus going to daycare from the time the child is six weeks old.

In fact, sometimes, children don’t have anything to do with it. The vast majority of women who don’t have children work at an outside job. While some have the perspective that a woman should stay home to care for her husband and keep the house clean, this isn’t what usually happens.

As I conclude, whether or not a woman works outside of the home is a decision she and her family have to make. Whether she is single, married, or has children, each situation is individual so there is no simple “yes” or “no” that can be given.

The fact is, many women have to work outside the home whether they like it or not, and it has become the new norm.

Resourceful References;

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Part of this article has been revised from the Compensation Cafe Blog. Whereas, E. James (Jim) Brennan is a total rewards advisor with extensive multi-industry corporate HR and consulting experience.

Additionally, as a past Compensation Editor of the Personnel Journal and last Senior Associate of pay surveyor ERI, he is consulting again.

Author of the Performance Management Workbook, and frequent expert witness in executive compensation trials. Equally, Jim also serves on the Advisory Board of the Compensation and Benefits Review.

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