Leaving your professional career to start a family can be daunting; in fact, it's secretly terrifying. Yes, there's the joy of this tiny new human coming into your life which far outweighs anything else, but it's hard to quash that inner fear of leaving behind everything you've worked so hard to accomplish. So many questions plague your mind: Will there be a job for me when I'm ready to come back? How do I find a job with flexible hours that accommodates my new mom schedule?
This is how Jenny Galluzzo felt when she left her successful position and decade-long finance career to have children, but it didn't last long. She joined forces with fellow mom and former creative coordinator at Ogilvy & Mather, Gina Hadley and founded Second Shift, a membership-based digital platform that pairs professional mothers with companies looking to hire experts as consultants, part-time or freelance. Now their extensive network includes more than 600 experienced women with an average of 15 years experience in marketing and finance, which Galluzzo tells MyDomaine is the "highest level talent in the freelance market."
The Second Shift is bringing back the work/life balance for modern moms and helping them lean in on their own terms. We took five with Galuzzo ahead of their workshop at The Great Jane retreat to chat more about their mission, why we need more women in the workforce, how to regain your confidence post-baby, and much more.
MYDOMAINE: What is your mission at Second Shift?
JENNY GALLUZZO: Our mission is to support gender diversity in the workplace by creating an environment where women are able to work flexibly and forge an untraditional career path that works for them at various stages of their lives. To do that, we have amassed the best and the brightest talent in marketing and finance (for now), and if we all work together, we can create an environment where women don’t feel the need to choose between the paths of work or home.
MD: Why are more professional women looking for flexible work?
JG: We think there are three key factors:
1. The rise of the gig economy. Nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce does some sort of freelance job.
2. Technology. People are walking around with computers in their pockets. Being able to work from anywhere is really breaking down the walls around traditional office culture.
3. The rising cost of childcare. In some states, childcare is more than rent. Many families have to prioritize having one parent stay home at certain points in their children’s lives, but that can derail a career.
MD: Why is it so critical to maintain female talent in the workforce?
JG: Just the fact that we ask that question of women and not of their male colleagues proves that it is imperative women keep working.
MD: It can be daunting for women to return to the workforce post-baby. How can they restore their confidence?
JG: Take it slow, do what you can, and be kind to yourself. Ask your co-workers for help, and set yourself up for success before you leave on maternity. Then leave by hiring one of our amazing members from The Second Shift to cover you when you’re off. If you’re lucky enough to work for a company that offers parental leave, TAKE IT ALL and have no regrets.
MD: How can businesses help women return to work?
JG: Working with The Second Shift. Women in our network can build up their résumés by taking on projects that could lead to full-time work, if they want it, or bigger projects. That’s the beauty of The Second Shift; we want women to work in a way they want to. Many of our members currently have full-time jobs and are using us a way to make extra money or try out freelancing before they take the jump from a traditional job.
MD: We're told constantly about the importance of female mentors for women in their careers. How can women find them/seek them out?
JG: Yes, mentors are great, but equally important is keeping up your personal and professional networks. LinkedIn and social media are great ways to stay connected. You never know when you might want to seek a connection with someone from your past; now it is easier than ever to keep in touch.
MD: Tell us about your involvement in The Great Jane and why this event is so important for women.
JG: The Great Jane is an intimate conversation between women who are creative entrepreneurs. So many conferences are huge events in giant corporate settings. The Great Jane is a totally different take with direct connections and networking happening in a truly original and organic way. We look forward to meeting new friends and helping women to grow their businesses while learning to Shibori and doing yoga in a magical setting. Sounds like heaven.
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