COSMO CAREER ADVICE: Don't Bring Cupcakes to Work

Offering colleagues food could hamper your career growth, say experts

Feeding people...it's seen as a 'girl' thing. We organise the birthday cakes, offer to pack leftovers when pals come over, and whip up something hearty when someone's sick. The relationship between women and food could be a gender conditioning thing, and that's not necessarily a bad thing...except when it comes to the workplace. 

Unless you're Tarla Dalal, or it's your job to bake cakes for the office, there shouldn't be cookies, chocolates, or other food on your desk. Truth is, feeding equals nourishing, which equals mommy—something you don't want to be seen as in a professional world. "If you don't want to be perceived as stereotypical, think twice before putting food on your desk," says Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D., author of Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office 101." Additionally, food on the desk is often an invitation to stop and chat a moment. Combined, the aspects of feeding and encouraging conversation emphasize stereotypically feminine qualities."

Bottom line: don't  offer around last night's delicious leftovers unless it's lunchtime. And if you're asked to organise lunch or bring sandwiches to an office meeting, respond simply and unemotionally with, "I think I'll pass since I have a lot of work to get done."