Episode 31 – Flexibility comes in several styles in today’s employment world.
Brie Reynolds is Marc’s expert guest in this episode. Brie is the Senior Career Specialist at FlexJobs, the award-winning site for remote work, flexible schedule and freelance job listings. She helps people empower themselves to find jobs that fit their lives by providing practical information, resources, and insights into flexible jobs and the future of work. With a background in human resources and career advising, Brie has 12 years’ experience working with jobseekers and employers, and she offers career hiring and work/life balance advice through the FlexJobs blog, media outlets like Fast Company, Forbes, and NBC News.
Marc and Brie start the discussion with an overview of the origins of FlexJobs, the growth flexible opportunities, how Brie got involved, and the types of work FlexJobs features on its site. They talk about the four measures of flexibility of a job, the types of companies offering flexibility, the types of jobs offered, and the reasons a person might seek flexibility in employment. Brie offers tips for preparing to apply for a job with flexibility, and how to make yourself stand out as a solid contributor.
Listen in to learn about the trend of flexibility in employment, and how you may obtain a flexible position.
[3:08] Brie describes herself, and her passion for ‘job stuff.’
[3:42] FlexJobs is a job search service, with a few key differences, specializing in telecommuting and flexible jobs for professionals. All of them have some flexibility, and many of them are for remote work. This is FlexJobs’ 10th year!
[4:24] In 2006, Sara, the CEO and Founder, was laid off late in her pregnancy. She had founded a job search company in college, and also had held high-level positions. Looking for work, she wanted the flexibility to work from home. Flexible jobs were rare. She knew there must be others in her position. After giving birth, she founded FlexJobs.
[6:03] Brie is the Senior Career Specialist, and helps people learn about the flexible jobs market. She writes articles, hosts webinars, and has press and media interviews to spread the word, so job seekers can prepare themselves to find a job with flexibility.
[7:37] The world of flexible or remote work has changed dramatically, and a lot of that is due to technology. Marc is in Austin, and Brie is in Boston, and they are recording this podcast over free software. Marc is recording it on software that cost him $19.00.
[8:03] Brie started looking for flexible work about eight years ago, when her husband got on a rotational career track. Brie had worked as a college career advisor. Her first flexible job was as a customer service job working from home. She loved working from home, but not customer service. Someone from the company put her in touch with Sara.
[10:04] This recommendation from her co-worker to apply to work for Sara at FlexJobs was the best networking experience she had ever had. This person had worked at Sara’s earlier job search firm, before she had sold it. Brie interviewed, and found herself writing part-time at home for FlexJobs, as one of nine employees at the time.
[10:36] Brie loved it. It allowed her to offer career advice, and learn about this new way of working, to learn which companies were doing great at it, and what sorts of jobs were compatible with flexible work. The company moved around, and is now in Boston. In seven years she has gone from flexible, to full-time, and back to flexible part-time.
[11:40] Marc used to run a help desk for IBM, supporting 500 engineers while he took away their drafting boards and put them on CAD/CAM screens. He also used to train world-wide technical support people. He knows talking to unhappy people all day can cause morale problems. Certain people can do it, and others can’t.
[13:04] FlexJobs considers jobs that have flexibility in any of four areas: hours (part-time to full-time); schedule; telecommuting; and freelancing. They list jobs in 55 career fields; the type of work determines the type of flexibility. There are so many companies that offer flexible work, but not always to the same degree.
[15:40] FlexJobs offers a mix of employee and freelance jobs on the site. The freelance assignments may last six weeks to six months or longer, rather than being quick tasks.
[16:43] Marc now wants more control over when and where he does things, than over what he does. He wants to work less time doing what he likes to do. Brie sees that type of applicant, along with people who are looking to advance their careers and grow their responsibilities; also, people who want to take a step back for a while.
[18:02] FlexJobs has C-level jobs, telecommuting VP positions, and Executive Directors, and jobs with no advancement, just flexibility, such as customer service and data entry.
[18:32] Brie cites an example of a retiree who needed the flexibility to travel around the country in an RV. She found a behavioral coaching position for an insurance company, using her background in medicine. Others just want to transition to a different position or career, and take a flexible role as part of their pivot.
[21:13] Some people just start a new career and start as freelance, or part time, and work their way up to a full-time position in their new field.
[23:41] In applying for flexible work, consider if you have previous flexible experience. What skills did you use to focus? What software did you use to communicate with coworkers? Put these on your LinkedIn profile. Companies want you to be able to troubleshoot basic errors at home. Tout communications skills, and conferencing tools.
[28:09] Former entrepreneurs looking to transition back to the corporate world, bring great skills with them. Flexible work and freelance work are similar environments.
[31:08] Marc’s final words: To join the FlexJobs community, please click on the FlexJobs ad at the bottom of any of Marc’s CareerPivot blogposts. He is a proud affiliate of FlexJobs.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Contact Marc, and ask questions at: Careerpivot.com/contact-me
Call Marc at 512-693-9132 and leave a message and email address.
LinkedIn: Brie Reynolds
LinkedIn: Sara Sutton Fell
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