A Partial Picture of Women in the Workplace

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Employers, Talent Shares Leave a Comment

Something’s missing. The Wall Street Journal recently devoted an entire special section to Women in the Workplace. It looked promisingly comprehensive. Articles covered longstanding issues including recruiting pipelines, pay inequity, “Mad Men” style sexism in the office, and concrete ceilings for women of color. Authors described emerging trends such as parental leave coaching, Millennial women going rogue, and a new approach to diversity training. By page R10, disappointment set in. Seventeen articles but not a single one covered part-time career options, let alone structural changes that would allow both men and women to continue to grow their careers during phases of greater family engagement. Solutions tended to fall into three buckets – more training, more coaching/sponsorship, and more support to relieve …

Amazon crystal ball

Why Is Amazon Embracing Part-Time Teams?

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Employers, Talent Shares Leave a Comment

Amazon’s recent announcement that it is piloting a 30-hour workweek for select technical teams has prompted much speculation about motives. Is it merely PR to address the damaging article last year portraying the organization as a white collar sweat shop regularly driving employees to tears? Is it a serious attempt to promote diversity in tech by formalizing what used to be called the Mommy Track? Is it a Depression-era attempt to spread shrinking jobs across more people as automation moves up the labor stack? While most articles are neutral or cautiously optimistic, many comments are openly cynical. They warn of a long con to transition employees to part-time without benefits. This initial experiment with part-time hours and full-time benefits is …

Summer Family Beach

Summer Break Survival Tips for Part-Time Working Parents

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Talent Shares Leave a Comment

Summer is nearly here with most parents scrambling to finalize (or finally begin) summer break activity plans for our kids. Whether working or at home full-time, we’re all trying to balance free time, family time, travel, enrichment, and sometimes just catching up. For parents who work part-time during school hours, these 8-10 weeks of unscheduled, unstructured time can be especially challenging. Keep in mind why you prefer working part-time Some of us would be in a full-time position already if childcare costs were more affordable. Summer camps, daycare, and babysitters can add up when trying to fill 20-30 hours per week per child. Be judicious when managing childcare expenses. Don’t let two months ruin the budget you work so hard …

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day, Equal Pay Day, and In-Between Moms

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Marketplace, Talent Shares Leave a Comment

Happy Mother’s Day! Equal Pay Day has come and gone. Though due to the “mommy tax”, it doesn’t arrive for working mothers until June 4th. If they did the math for part-time working mothers, it would probably come around Thanksgiving. This Mother’s Day, we want to celebrate those In-Between Moms who are not quite a typical working mother, not quite a stay-at-home-mom. There are unique benefits and challenges when a woman simultaneously steps away from both traditional work and traditional motherhood. Well-meaning people, seeking to empower women, promote gender equality, and raise global GDP by trillions, are working tirelessly to get more women working, more women working full time, and more women working in higher paying positions (usually correlated with …


The Work/Life Thing – It Does Begin with Balance

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Employers, Talent Shares Leave a Comment

Writing about the work/life thing over the past 18 months, I have increasingly found myself stopping abruptly to wrestle with terms. In discussions, other people interrupt to correct me. Some join the jargon innovators establishing “work/life blend” or “work/life integration” as the more accurate concept. Others insist work/life balance is still correct. This has presented something of a marketing challenge for a company whose mission is to expand opportunities for a better work/life thing. Words matter, and not just in marketing. They validate us when they accurately describe our experiences. They can limit our scope or reframe what we think is possible. When true, they can set us free. Otherwise, they can set us up for endless frustration. The Blenders …

Accidental Recruiter

The Accidental Recruiter

Jennifer Foster Employers, Talent Shares Leave a Comment

Have you been educated and trained to lead, manage, design, build, sell, market, optimize resources – anything and everything except recruiting? But you need to grow your team or replace colleagues who have moved on. Maybe your company hasn’t reached the threshold where formal HR departments and policies emerge. Or your group is neglected by existing HR folks who are too busy chasing data scientists to find your new Marketing Director. You may be part of a non-profit or bootstrap business making the first outside hire. Then you are one of the many Accidental Recruiters. We’ve written often about independent consultants who want to downsize their own biz dev efforts and focus on the actual business projects they love. They …

Present and Laptop

Happy New Career! A Holiday Wish for 2016

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Talent Shares Leave a Comment

As the Grinch discovered, the best gifts do not come from stores, prettily wrapped in packages and bows. They don’t come from corporate gift catalogues either. While everyone is busy wishing each other Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, we want to also wish you a Happy New Career in 2016. Whether opting back in or backing off at last, whether trying something completely new or finding renewal in familiar work, we wish you the best in 2016. Welcome Back It’s a huge decision to opt-out of the workforce completely. Some people realize it is the wrong choice immediately. Some people thrive for years before feeling an itch to return. Routines change, kids grow older, and family needs evolve. That …


3 Reasons You Can’t Hire Part-Time Candidates for Senior Roles (& 4 Reasons to Reconsider)

Jennifer Foster Employers, Marketplace, Talent Shares 1 Comment

When we talk to startups about the benefits of bringing in senior hires on a part-time Talent Shares basis, many get it immediately. Some have already had success with alternative arrangements. Others balk at the idea of anything but a traditional full-time hire. They have three common, understandable reasons to stick to the status quo when hiring. But there are also four good reasons to reconsider. You need people who have complete commitment to the business Startups are not casual endeavors. Only those who are deeply committed will have the passion and stamina to create something out of nothing and drive explosive growth. Just like in personal relationships, professed commitment promises to diminish risk and lend stability to otherwise volatile …

Wilting Flower

Is Networking Bad for the Soul?

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Employers, Marketplace Leave a Comment

Imagine a lifetime of continuous, perpetual employment-related networking. Does your soul die a little? Many professionals are devoted to their work with little time to spare on self-promotional activities. But job-networking discontents are often written off as semi-serious hobby jobbers or old-fashioned lifetime employment drones. Or unfortunate introverts and non-sales folk with underdeveloped social skills. Sometimes that’s true, but we’ve discovered a surprising number of consummate relationship builders that shrink from job-related networking. These polished, social people enjoy catching up with former colleagues, making new connections and exploring new ideas. They flourish in sales and biz dev careers. They are successfully hustling from contract to contract as long-term independent consultants. And they still hate it. Here’s why. It’s Too Time-Consuming Conventional …

Back to School

No Regrets This Back-to-School Season

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Talent Shares

More than New Year’s resolutions, heading back to school was always a time of reflection, goal-setting, and change. Besides new backpacks and hairstyles, there were new classes and teachers, reconnecting with friends, and a steady increase in juggling academic work with extracurricular life. Some years meant new schools, hard choices and concrete commitments to the longstanding question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Did anyone want to work and live as described in the recent article on Amazon’s workplace culture? “Amazon is where overachievers go to feel bad about themselves,” said one former employee. Others describe being put on performance plans while battling cancer and recovering from serious miscarriages. It was reassuring to see Dustin Moskovitz’s piece …


Why Don’t We Hear More About Part-Time Senior Level Positions?

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Employers, Talent Shares Leave a Comment

It’s great to see part-time alternatives for senior level professionals getting some attention in the press. Forbes recently published an article on outsourced, fractional CMOs. Over in the UK, Timewise puts together an annual Power Part-Time list, showcasing EVPs, Department Heads and other senior level professionals who have built successful careers outside of the traditional full-time work model. However, when it comes to recruiting, career development and personal branding things get quieter. Why don’t we hear more about these opportunities and success stories? 1) It’s a Language Thing The Forbes article introduces its subject as “outsourced”, “fractional”, and “part-time” – with quotes. The umbrella includes independent consultants and contractors as well. Sometimes “interim” is tossed in. It doesn’t take long …


5 Things to Consider When Taking a Talent Shares Role

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Talent Shares

Talent Shares can be the key to better work-life integration. So don’t set yourself up for failure. Maybe you’ve been thinking about stepping out of the traditional “9-5” workweek. Or maybe you’d like to opt-in again if the right flexible position comes along. Besides the logistical details around schedules, hours in the office and telecommuting, here are 5 things to consider when crafting a non-traditional role. Scheduling Chaos Sometimes it seems like the 50+ hour workweek evolved as an adaptation to handle scheduling chaos. This dark side of collaboration can chip away at Talent Shares leverage. It’s hard to optimize your workweek around half-confirmed meetings and repeatedly rescheduled events. And don’t underestimate the time spent discussing schedules then organizing and …


Talent Share Work Is All Around Us

Jennifer Foster Employers, Talent Shares

While not every role works well as a talent share arrangement, just about every organization has a backlog of projects that would be ideal for the talent share model. Sometimes the responsibilities are tacked onto a traditional full-time role. Sometimes they are quiet orphans waiting for some overachiever to notice and adopt them. Often these projects are ticking bombs. Everyone knows they should be taken care of, but no one gets around to them until it’s an emergency. These are the important, but not urgent jobs. Often it’s upstream work like research for marketing plans, pipeline development, and organizing future events. We know it is coming, we know it is important. But there are continuous interruptions to resolve customer crises, …


Lies, Damn Lies and Recruiting Conversations

Jennifer Foster Candidates, Employers, Talent Shares

There are many unrealistic expectations, misguided practices, and counter-productive “tools” preventing high-caliber job seekers and quality companies from consummating a successful employment experience. Reid Hoffman’s new book The Alliance describes perhaps the most insidious characteristic in today’s broken recruiting environment – fundamental dishonesty between both candidates and employers. Organizations are still trying to maximize employee commitment like it’s 1955; only today the mirage of guaranteed employment is a smoke-and-mirrors act that will evaporate in the next puff of economic distress or restructuring. It’s false to imply the company is one big family, because people don’t fire their children for being a poor fit and having unexceptional table-setting skills. Employees keep up their end of the false conversation, promising or at least …


When Competitors Misjudge Candidates, It’s a Hiring Opportunity

Jennifer Foster Employers, Marketplace, Talent Shares

One of the biggest Internet Trends is the rapidly evolving workplace. Nearly 25% of the 2015 Internet Trends report was devoted to changing employment models, labor marketplace trends, and attitudes among workers and hiring managers. Most job seekers and hiring managers are familiar with the general trends described in the report – relatively faster growth among knowledge-based jobs, the impact of new technology, and the rise of on-demand workers and freelancers. But we should pause at the charts portraying work values. There is an interesting disconnect between what people actually prioritize in a job and what managers believe they value most. While the study is focused on Millennials, a similar work values perception gap likely exists among other demographics. Many …