Way back in 2012 I started to feel the overwhelm of being a busy working mother. Leaving your kid each morning with hired help, putting the burden of child caring on your parents and rushing to your workplace to be on time for that morning meeting certainly puts you on an emotional roller coaster which is full of sadness, guilt, and tiredness. You start to wonder if it is all actually worth the trouble. Then you are reminded of the financials that needs to be taken care of each month and the personal satisfaction of doing something for yourself.
You ponder, wonder and dream for a better solution to make it all work together! You have heard about part-time jobs, jobs that allow for telecommuting. There are tons of information online about potential work at home jobs. You know one or two persons who claim they have loads of flexibility at their job. You find yourself in a dark place, searching your soul day in and out trying to figure out what’s right vs what’s needs to happen. There are this questions that keep coming up……Are there jobs that allow for work flexibility? Are such things actually out there? Is it only a hype or just a myth? That elusive question that runs through your mind every single day…….
Is there flexible work out there and how can I find one for myself?
This is a question I hear being asked quite a bit these days. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. In Sri Lanka flexible work is still very limited. But fear not, it isn’t the end of the road for anyone looking for work flexibility locally. I too was in a similar situation about 3 years ago. I did loads of research online and tried out many methods. It’s a hard journey but for sure it’s possible. There are flexible opportunities out there and there definitely are ways and means to find them.
Here are some tried and tested ways to find yourself a flexible job:
Flexibility at your current job
This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to make your work flexibility dream a reality. Flexibility at the workplace thrives on good relationships and trust between employee and employer. Thus working with your current employer to introduce some flexibility to your current job is a practical solution. The understanding that is already established between the parties provides a foundation to work out a win-win solution. If your current position doesn’t allow for flexibility you can try and move to another area within the organization. This might be more flexibility friendly and at the same time benefits from your skills and expertise. You can also approach or negotiate with your former employers to provide you with a flexible work opportunity. [Check out this post on how to negotiate a flexible working arrangement.]
Use your networks
In Sri Lanka, finding a job through referrals is quite common. So relying on your business and personal networks to find work with flexibility is another proven solution. The reality is you tend to be more comfortable with a remote worker if you already know the person and it works both ways. So let your colleagues, business friends, family know that you are looking for flexible work opportunities. Market yourself and be specific about your requirements. The chances are that you will come across someone looking for part-time workers or freelancers. With the backing of a good referral, the chances for negotiating such an opportunity is very high.
Target small organizations
It may seem that bigger organizations have more scope and options for flexible jobs. In reality, they are usually tied down by existing rigid policies, procedures and old-school type cultures. This contradicts the fundamentals of work flexibility. Smaller organizations are actually more open towards the ideas of flexibility. They have shown to provide more options and personalized solutions. Startups can benefit from flexible jobs such as part-time work or remote work. They can get access to high-end skilled resources on a part-time basis or as and when needed. This would meet their current limited needs perfectly. They can also gain cost advantages from remote staff. Small organizations’ desire to cut costs while maximizing outputs merges well with flexible workers desire to find a better work-life balance. This creates an ideal win-win situation. So approaching smaller organizations with your need for flexible work is another proven solution.
Start small and build up
There are doubt and skepticism around flexible work options locally. Thus it is always recommended to go with a phased approach. When negotiating with your employer always start with suggesting a trial period for flexible working. It could be for a couple of months, a specific assignment or project. The trial period can be used by both parties to test the waters and for you to show and prove that flexible work actually works.
Professional job listing sites focusing on flexible jobs
This is quite a popular method to find flexible jobs in other countries. With some sites like FlexJobs, many individuals have benefitted immensely in making their flexibility dreams a reality. Such job listings sites have gained global popularity for its services. Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka such sites are limited. A few sites dedicated to the cause have emerged recently (such as Parttimejobs.lk, podijobs.lk). But they are yet to stamp their footprints and make a difference within the community. Topjobs.lk have shown some promise in advertising some good and legit part-time and work-from-home jobs in the recent past. Unfortunately, the % of such jobs advertised are low. In any case regularly browsing through these local and global sites is also a good option.
Even though it is not straight forward and the opportunities are limited (at the moment) there are means and ways to make your work flexibility dream a reality. It only needs some perseverance and constant lookout for the right opportunity to appear in front of you. The future looks promising for ‘flexible work’ in Sri Lanka. For sure the trends are going to change soon and the opportunities are going to open up.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” [Matthew 7:7]