Freelance, Flex Full-Time, Contract, Returnship: 9 Modern Work Options Every Woman Should Know

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Emily Stark132
Career Coach, Marketable Mama, LLC.
June 22, 2024 at 7:5PM UTC

Whether you're calling it The Great Resignation, The Great Reshuffle, or The Great Realignment, we can all agree that this new era in work grew from serious questioning. We spent days over the pandemic reevaluating the intersection of work and life, but there's one key piece of information that may not have been a part of your analysis — your work options. 

Here are nine work options every woman should know as we continue to ask ourselves questions about what's important in work and life.

Flexible Full-time

Flexibility is the new black. LinkedIn reported a 343% increase in search for flexibility. Employers must meet the demand. Building in flex work can be a bit abstract for employers. In a pre-pandemic FlexJobs survey, 80% of companies polled offered flexible work arrangements, and 64% have flex work plans that are informal with no written policy. This survey tells us that, in many cases, working women have the opportunity to create our written policy. 

Communication is key. Talk to your work teams and leadership about the schedule you need, and it's helpful to include your why. This conversation can happen as a new hire or veteran employee. Personal and professional needs change; a happy and loyal professional can speak about those changes with their employer. 

Job Share

Do you know what executive leaders and teachers have in common? They're ideal professions for job sharing. Job share is an opportunity for professionals to lean into their strengths and harness collaboration because it essentially cuts a job in half, serving two people to share. Women I interviewed on this topic structured a 2-3 day work week with their professional partners. Job Share Repair founders and advocates Hannah Hall-Turner and Rachel Maguire share that half of the partners present a job share scenario to their employers while the other half is posted. This option is mutually beneficial and growing in popularity in the corporate world.

Part-time

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statics, about 25% of employed women work part-time hours. There's a lot to like. A 30-35 hour workweek allows more time for your interests, family, and friends. It's also an excellent option for new moms to scale back into work or career pivoters jumping to another field. 

Consulting

Expert. Point Person. Lead. Many professionals have a diverse work scope and find areas that are particularly fueling for them and become entrenched in that skill set. This scenario can often lead to a successful consulting practice. Consulting leverages honed skills, professional relationships, and entrepreneurial inhibitions to partner with one or many companies to advise and problem solve. Industries like finance, marketing, IT, operations, strategy and HR are rich with consulting opportunities. Curious? Search for a problem that your expertise can solve, do it and share the value-add with your professional network. 

Returnship

You've seen the headlines. Millions of working women lost their jobs during the pandemic leading hiring companies to question how to develop successful onramps to bring women back in. Returnships are the ideal solution for return-to-work women. Programs generally consist of 12-15 weeks of paid training, creating a pipeline of strong talent for employers while boosting the skills and confidence of candidates. Returnships are offered at over 75 companies throughout the US, including Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett Packard and many healthcare organizations. 

Contract/Temporary

Professionals delivering services under predetermined time and/or projects are considered contract or temp work options. Some perks: 

  • Get acquainted with a company and make connections that'll serve your next step
  • Opportunity to negotiate a higher hourly rate
  • Short-term commitment that has the potential to extend or morph into another within the company
  • Flexibility can be embedded in the contract

Freelance

Fiverr, Upwork, TopTal, LinkedIn, FlexJobs and Freelancer.com are all home to freelance gigs that will build your experience, reputation and skillset. Aiming to broaden your skillset, establish an extra income channel, need work while you travel or take a break from your 9-5? This option is ideal, and many companies are sourcing freelancers; Fiverr found an uptick of 44% in 2020 with more job posts and money spent on freelance projects.

Entrepreneur

Women-owned businesses are thriving. Four out of every ten businesses are owned by women and generate over $1 trillion/year. Are you inspired yet? Becoming an entrepreneur can be daunting. However, a growing number of women-owned business support organizations uplift women through business coaching and strategy, funding, networking and scaling. As an entrepreneur myself, the most important advice is: don't grow your business on an island. 

Portfolio

Does more than one work option entice you? Pick a few options. Portfolio careerists are the hyphenated many who blend work options to build steady flows on income streams matching or bypassing a traditional salary with more autonomy and project ownership. A few that pair well together are contract, freelance and entrepreneurship, especially when one or more are in the early growth stages. 

Learning a high-level profile of your options is just the first step. Researching to analyze which options best fit your work-life integration goals is next. Knowing that you're never stuck is empowering. 

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Emily is a seasoned career coach, certified resume writer, and life coach. She has worked in career services in higher ed and outplacement with clients ranging from new grads to execs and every professional step in between. Her business Marketable Mama serves working and return to work moms to land fulfilling roles through revitalized job search docs and client-centered coaching. You can check out more at www.marketable-mama.com.

Have you tried any of these modern work options? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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