I heard a piece on CBC radio the other day about the shift of the economy from full-time jobs to something called the “gig economy.” Basically, experts believe that in a few years about 50% of us will be in jobs that are not the typical, full-time, one company-based work world, but rather jobs that are consultant, freelance and part-time work. The host of the show likened it to the work life of composers hundreds of years ago who would write pieces of music for whomever paid them. Today, once again, the world of work is shifting, and while that’s not necessarily news, there’s a point to me telling you this.
Most of the women I talk to who have left the workforce at some point or another to raise families, run households or change careers, usually think about going back to work in the typical, 9 to 5 corporate world that existed when we left. Sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster will help you find a job, but is that really the end game for you? And if you have a significant gap in your resumé, or you know you want to work again but are wondering what you really want to do, how do you find that job, and maybe, more importantly, how will the right job find you? It’s an overwhelming feeling to think about where to start and how to navigate that world. Especially if your most recent networking experience is getting the cell number of the mom of the little boy on the playground your son really wants to have a playdate with. I mean, where do you start?
But what if you didn’t have to do it that way? What if you could be a pioneer in the “gig economy”, try out different jobs, figure out what type of corporate culture or workspace really suits you? This is not to say that you will forever be in the “gig economy,” but it is a good place to begin. You know, just, start small, meet and work with people at different companies and see where it leads?
My three childhood friends and I started that way, and our different experiences led us to this venture. We were all in our forties and had widely different work stories. One of us stayed in the corporate world and was making a career shift, one was in a different country where her law degree was not really helping her find the rewarding work she craved, one had made a shift from the public sector to health and wellness, and me, I had meandered around the freelance writing and non-profit world while raising my kids, and was ready to make a real shift back to significant work.
But what did we have in common? All of us had struggled to find the right people to talk to and the right place to look to find what we needed when we were making that change. What if, we thought, there was a site where women could go and find companies that were actually looking for women like us? Since we couldn’t find anything that already existed, we decided to create it ourselves. And this is what we came up with. A website to help women get back to work — whatever that work life may look like. A place that employers can go, employers who are looking for women like us and like you — qualified, committed, experienced and talented — all in one place.
So here’s how it works. On the site you will find a curated list of jobs from companies that are looking for women like you and will not put your resumé on the reject pile because you haven’t worked outside the home for a few years. Easy, right? But here’s where it gets interesting. We are also partnering with companies who are interested in offering internships — but we’re not 20 anymore, so we are going to call these returnships — where you can work for a company, try out the job, and see if it’s a good fit for you — and for the company. These returnships vary in length but will give you enough time to see whether it works for you.
I mean here’s the thing, if you’re going back to work and spending time away from your family, you want to know if the place you are working at is going to make you happy and fulfilled, at least most of the time. Sound good? Come on this journey with us.