I was talking to a friend about the fact that I am thinking of returning to work some time this year, and she suggested checking out The Mom Project, a website that helps job seekers find “opportunities with family-friendly employers that respect and support work + life integration.” In short, this is a job search website with open roles from companies that support factors like life/work balance, schedule flexibility, etc., which parents of young children often require.
I decided to set up a profile this past week to see what type of opportunities were available. The process is pretty quick and easy for most; though I did find some steps difficult since I’ve been considering switching fields.
Setting up a profile
After some initial questions gathering basic information (contact info, location, current employment status), in the next step, you fill out your career history. And I immediately found myself stuck on the first question:
The question is very much geared toward candidates who are looking for opportunities in their current field or an industry they have worked in previously. So, this is clearly not aimed at people who are looking to enter a new field.
Now, I am on the fence about whether or not I am going to return to my previous field or if I want to get a role in one of the new fields I’ve been exploring. For The Mom Project, I decided to set up my profile and career background for the former goal.
However, I was still unsure how to answer this first question because my previous jobs covered multiple areas listed, particularly: Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service. Luckily when you click on each “superpower”, it drills down to more specific skills:
Based on these more specific skills and what I would be most interested in doing if I do return to work in a previous industry, I selected Marketing as my “superpower”, with Digital Marketing, Editorial and Content Management, and Social Media Management as my three capabilities.
This section also asks for the specific industries you’ve worked in (for me that was non-profit, arts, and tech) and your experience level (junior, mid-level, or senior).
This section of the profile set-up is where The Mom Project really sets itself apart from other job search sites. Here, you are asked your preferences on things like:
- Freelancing vs. permanent employment
- How many hours a week do you want to work
- Remote vs. in-office
To my suprise, when I got to this section, I realized I didn’t know a lot of my preferences in these areas. I’m not sure if I want to be full-time or only part time. I’m also not sure if I prefer freelance (where I wouldn’t feel tied down to something) vs. permanent employment (for stability).
Interestingly, I was pretty set on location, and it’s different than my preference pre-baby. When I think of going back to work, I really just want to be in an office and not remote. Mostly, that is because there is no way I could be productive if I’m home with the baby. And if I think about the alternative, where I take the baby to daycare, well at that point, since I’m already out of the house, I might as well just commute to the office. On top of that, having been off of work for almost a year and a half, I really miss just being around people and the social aspect of working in an office.
Fleshing out the profile
After answering the questions above, your profile set-up is done. However, there is some additional information you can enter in order to make your profile 100% complete.
The biggest thing is filling out your work history. This is where I wish there was a LinkedIn integration, where you could import the information. Unfortunately, you have to enter everything manually instead. Similarly, there is a section to list your education background.
There are also questions around how much travel you can accommodate and how much control you need to have over your own work days and hours. Here is another section where my preferences have changed. I used to love to travel for work and — as long as I didn’t have local theater commitments — would take advantage of work trip opportunities as much as possible. However, now with the baby, it would be difficult to travel much.
Finally, there is an open-ended “About Me” section that can also act as a cover letter, talking about your past experiences, as well as what you are looking for in your next job.
Searching for Opportunities
In the “Marketplace” section of the site, you can look for open roles. Here, you can click the “Possible Matches” filter, which I assume generates a list opportunities that align with the preferences you selected when setting up and completing your profile. Alternatively, you can manually set your filters and search preferences.
What I like most about the search results is that every opportunity lists the compensation. This is particularly important for me because I have to weigh the compensation against the cost of daycare.
When you click the Learn More button for an open role, you get the job description, of course, but also information about start date, travel requirements, remote work options and number of hours a week.
The majority of my “possible matches” were categorized as projects, as opposed to permanent positions. However, some of those projects were year-long contracts, which often are positions where your contract just gets renewed every year, so it’s practically a permanent position. For example, when I worked as Facebook, a number of people on my team were contractors, so they technically worked for a vendor company (and therefore had to get their contract renewed every year), but were pretty much permanent members of the team, as they had been there for years.
Again, setting up a profile on The Mom Project was pretty quick and easy, especially if you are looking for opportunities in your existing or previous career field. The flex factors section is particularly useful for parents of young children.
I wouldn’t say I was super passionate about the available opportunities. However, there were a number of open roles that I could see myself being satisfied/content doing, and while they did not seem particularly energy-inducing, they also did not seem energy-draining.
I’m still in the early phases of deciding when and how I want to return to work, but I find that searching through job sites like The Mom Project:
- Gives me an idea of what opportunities are out there;
- Prompts me to start thinking about my preferences around hours, remote work options, etc.;
- Acts as a good litmus test of what type of work and roles are appealing to me after a year and a half of career exploration and personal development.