When it comes to business professionals who also happen to be moms, it has historically been an all-or-nothing world. Women can take short — oftentimes unpaid — maternity leaves before returning to a 9–5 existence, or choose to forgo their lives in business to stay home with their children.
Not only does that jettison some of our best business people from top positions, it creates a tremendous amount of pressure for women trying to decide if they’d like to stay home with their children or return to work. If they decide to stay home with their children and then have a change of heart, going back is anything but automatic in fast-paced corporate America.
A recent solution – at least for women in finance and marketing – is The Second Shift, a website that connects these moms with companies looking to hire freelancers or consultants. The website was founded by Jenny Galluzzo and Gina Hadley, who noticed their friends leaving the workforce entirely upon having children. Galluzzo and Hadley saw the all-or-nothing options their friends were faced with as a waste of talent.
“Jenny and I said, ‘We really think we should do something to get all these amazing women back to work, fractionally,'” Hadley told the New York Times.
The pair reached out to their friend and mom of two, Kemp Steip, to become the company’s CFO. Steib had recently left her job at an investment firm. She related to the Galluzzo and Hadley’s mission, stating, “I had these brilliant peers 10 years ago, and so many of them were gone.”
The Benefit for Moms
There are plenty of women who truly want to stay home with their children full time and not give a second thought to a professional career. There are plenty of women who truly want to get back to work full time and not give a second thought to staying home with their children. It’s a matter of personality, temperament, and what makes you the best mom.
Others would prefer a hybrid situation; spending some time on work projects while maintaining the freedom to stay home with baby. That is the benefit of The Second Shift.
Women sign up for the site by inputting their personal and professional information. Based on the skills submitted, The Second Shift reaches out with available jobs. These positions are freelance and contracted, so there is no long-term commitment and no need to go into an office full-time.
These women get to stay connected with their professional selves while retaining the satisfaction of staying home with their children.
“The Second Shift is an amazing resource for mothers and women who respect their own schedules while taking their work very seriously,” said Cynthia, a member via the website’s testimonials page. “Their projects are insightful and full of challenge. The Founders are enormously supportive. The Second Shift is truly a game changer when it comes to your life and your business!”
The Benefit for Companies
Other freelance sites such as Upwork, Elance, or Freelancer, put skills evaluation in the hands of the employer. Freelancers sign up for these sites and then apply for jobs. It is up to the employer to review applications and make the hire.
The Second Shift takes care of all that hard work. Women actually have to apply to be members to the site, submitting resume information and references reviewed by The Second Shift. Jobs are then paired with these moms based on their skills.
Employers are paying for this service, giving 15-percent on top of the agreed upon salary to The Second Shift. A 5-percent service fee is then deducted from members’ payment.
So far, The Second Shift has worked with companies like Google, Pinterest, and The Weather Channel, pairing 45 project-based jobs and approving 300 members. There are 500 potential members whose applications are currently being reviewed for placement.
How to Get Started
If you’re a mom with a background in finance or marketing, your first step is to sign up to be a member of the site. You will submit your work background, select specific skills you have, and give 2–3 references for The Second Shift to follow up with.
Then you wait.
“On my own I haven’t been able to find freelance jobs or consulting projects with companies that excite me,” writes Emily Keret on The Second Shift. “Therefore, the work wasn’t as exciting and I wasn’t as motivated. Through The Second Shift I have been exposed to companies I’ve dreamed about working for.”