“The Balancing Act,” “Divide and Prosper,” “The Share Era,” “Simplify Work Life,” and the one I cannot stop uttering to myself…”It Shouldn’t Be This Hard.” These are just five of the nearly 100 names I considered for this website/blog. Why was it so hard to name? Why did I settle on The Flex Frontier? Well, some of it has to do with many of the catchiest domain names already being taken. And a lot of it has to do with the topic being so multifaceted, complex, and broad. The concept of flexibility at work is rather simple, yet for some reason finding flexible work, a culture that supports it, and it leading to career and family fulfillment are rare and complicated in today’s world.
After five years sorting through my own competing desires and searching through the fog of inflexible work options, I decided to do something about it. It suddenly struck me that I owe it to myself, my peers, and my daughters to do more than just accept and be frustrated by this reality. I had gained the perspective and personal experience I needed to recognize this as one of the defining women’s rights issues of my generation. Yet I want to be quick to point out that this is not soley a woman’s issue. It is a woman’s issue because more women than men opt out of the workforce due to work-family conflict and there are gender notions from fifty + years ago that remain firmly entrenched in our modern world. Gender plays a big role in this and will certainly be explored in future posts. But it is also a men’s right’s issue, a parent’s rights issue, and a worker’s rights issue. We live in an era where technology and changing family structures make a new work culture possible. And where by evolving to allow employees the flexibility to devote time to their families, personal ambitions, and educations, employers gain healthier, more loyal, productive workers. Employers offering flexibility recognize this and are capitalizing on it. But as a society we have a long way to go.
So the Flex Frontier was born – named for the more flexible way of living and working that lies on the other side of the cultural shift we are undertaking. My hope is that the Flex Frontier will be one more wave in the growing tide of this movement. I found that there are a lot of compelling advocates and wonderful resources out there but it takes a lot of digging and bookmarking to weave together all of the resources that can make the work/life/family balancing act a little easier. In the throes of my own personal quest for resources, I desperately wanted a “Craigslist” for the work/life/family juggle, where I could swap ideas and services with others in the same situation or with similar needs. And one thing I really could not find anywhere was a way to find a job share partner. Job sharing seems like an ideal flex option in many ways, yet it’s still uncommon in the United States and not being widely talked about or supported.
So my goals took shape and became 1) To collect and organize – in one place – some of the most helpful resources I’ve found that may help others on their work/life/family journey, and 2) To create a free, easy to use platform where people could connect with prospective job share partners, start up partners, child or eldercare providers, etc – leveraging the peer-to-peer economy to help us meet our work/life/family goals today and moving us toward a new, more adaptable, rewarding, and flexible frontier.
Thank you for visiting. I hope you will join me on this journey!