Ask for more flexibility in your current role. This is easier said than done, but can work. Asking is key to getting what you want and truly the first step. This will help you clear your head for next steps. Talk to your HR department about opportunities the company may support that you are unaware of, then craft a pitch for your manager about how this could work for them and the team. Remember it’s all about them — not you. Think through what you would be willing to give up – some pay? Tabling your promotion schedule for now? SheNegotiates has some videos around how to ask for more flexibility that you might find useful.
Become a part of the Gig Economy: In short, it’s a great time to be a contractor.
- McKinsey reports that 60% of companies they surveyed plan to hire more part-time, temporary and contract workers over the next five years (McKinsey Global Institute Jobs Survey, June 2011).
- BusinessWeek reports that many companies are transitioning their sales forces into virtual teams.
- Harvard Business Review says more smart people want to work for themselves.
If you go this route, consider the initial steps and put the building blocks in place: 1) What can you do that will “keep you in the mix” should you want or need full-time work again? What skills should you keep sharp that will help you down the road? 2) Float the idea of what you want to do with advisors and champions; Maybe get your first client? 3) Edit your online presence, from LinkedIn to Facebook and beyond and edit your resume; 4) Set goals for what you want to accomplish personally or financially, and by when.
Seek out companies that have good flex policies. Many jobs at The Gap operate under ROWE – Results Only Work Environment – allowing for some flexibility on when and where you work, so long as you are responsible for your work. The consulting firm Deloitte and Touche gets a lot of kuddos for its amazing program to on and off ramp employees when they need more flexibility. And Working Mother Magazine posts a list of the top 100 companies for women to work for.
“Work it” into a flexible job. The eloquent and smart Kelly Tirman offers a list of positions at large corporations that could allow for virtual work opportunities and thus more flexibility, and the tools you’ll need to land those positions. More here.
Sell something online: Do you have a passion or a hobby that could make you money? Etsy.com, ebay.com and Zaarly.com make it so easy to take those hobbies and passions to the bank. Even Whole Foods takes online submissions (now and then) for new products to put on their shelves. As one wise career advisor told us recently, “Nurse your passion while you toil. Then switch it up.” In other words, keep your day job while starting to sell online, then make a change. Forbes wrote a good summary on turning hobbies into jobs.
Search the listings on maybrooks.com! These jobs have good detail included about what makes them flexible.
There are many ways to find the right fit on the flexibility path for yourself. It takes some elbow grease and willingness to keep trying until you find what works for you. As my mom likes to say, “if you don’t have yourself, you have nothing at all.” You owe it to yourself to ask for what you want. I think this is in part what Sheryl Sandberg is trying to communicate in her message and soon-to-be-published book titled, “Lean In.” Be confident. Raise your hand. Be aggressive. Recognize your value in the workplace. Go after what you want and get people to listen to you. And believe in yourself.
We welcome your input on finding flexibility.
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