In 2014, when Georgene Huang was two months pregnant with her second child, something quite unexpected happened: she was fired.
Huang had been working as the head of Enterprise Business and Institutional Products at Dow Jones, and when her boss was let go in a management shakeup, she lost her job as well. While pregnancy discrimination is all too real, fortunately that’s not what happened in Huang’s case; she hadn’t even disclosed her pregnancy to her friends and family, much less to her employer. Still, she found herself in a tricky position as a job seeker. As she was researching companies and interviewing, she had a lot of questions she was afraid to ask a prospective employer, like what exactly their maternity leave policy was, whether women tend to get promoted equally to men, and whether it was considered acceptable to leave the office at 5 p.m. While most women looking for a job have similar questions as Huang did, candidates often avoid broaching these topics in an interview for fear of being judged as anything less than committed to their careers. So Huang did what any curious millennial would do in this position: she turned to the internet for answers. Employee review sites like Glassdoor already existed, but they weren’t providing the kinds of answers or support she was looking for. Rather than doing what most of us would (read: cross our fingers and hope we land a job at a company that will treat us well), Huang resolved to fill the void that she’d discovered by building what soon became Fairygodboss: an authentic career space where all women can come to feel supported and empowered to make their next move and get invaluable career advice.
“Since I realized existing career platforms didn’t address the specific concerns and questions that women have, I decided to stop my own job search and try to crowdsource the info I was looking. I was happy to discover that women were eager to share their experiences; they really do pay it forward!”
Huang found a work wife — Fairygodboss Co-founder Romy Newman, who formerly led digital ad sales at The Wall Street Journal — and began crowdsourcing information to build a database of anonymous employee reviews. Today, Fairygodboss helps millions of women each month by providing an authentic platform that offers advice from a community of peers, insights from experts, and connections to hundreds of job opportunities. Women come to Fairygodboss to get feedback from other women on a variety of workplace situations and learn what it’s really like to work at tens of thousands of companies on the community feed. In addition to connecting with other women and getting advice, community members can browse jobs
, attend virtual events, discover employers’ parental leave policies,, and they hear directly from women who describe their company’s culture with anonymous reviews — oftentimes in a way that resonates more so than the company’s own careers page.
Huang suggests that women take time to research the different resources available on Fairygodboss; as she puts it, “you should try to think about your career as a longer-term relationship. Try to figure out what exactly you want from each job, and make sure the companies you’re applying to match that, whether it’s a particular salary range, company culture or promotion opportunities.” There’s a goldmine of priceless info on Fairygodboss. Whether you could use some help editing your resume or figuring out how to handle toxic coworkers — or you need some tips on how to call out sick — you’ll find the latest career-related news from experts and career coaches here. Perhaps what the women of Fairygodboss seem to enjoy most is the platform’s commitment to authenticity. Both Huang and Newman practice what they preach: with a (growing!) Fairygodboss team and five kids combined at home, they’re both fiercely committed to their careers and their families, and they’re not afraid to share with the Fairygodboss community how they make it all work, even when that means embracing failure along the way.
After all, had Huang not seen the silver lining in what she once viewed as a career setback, Fairygodboss wouldn’t have been born. “Being fired while pregnant was not easy,” she says. “But if I hadn’t experienced that — or the challenge that came with interviewing at companies without knowing their parental leave policies, or what their culture was like for women — Fairygodboss wouldn’t exist today.”