Sara Sutton Fell was seven months pregnant with her first child when she lost her job. She knew once the baby was born, she wanted a job that offered her some flexibility, so she began pursuing career options such as telecommuting.
"I very quickly realized there was a ton of junk and ads," she says. "It was a needle-in-the-haystack kind of search." Fell, who had previously founded and eventually sold an online employment service, decided she could use her previous experience to make the process easier, not only for herself, but also for other parents.
The result is FlexJobs, an online job service that lists only legitimate, professional positions that offer some type of flexibility such as telecommuting and part-time or contract work for people from entry level to executives.
Fell has a team of researchers who screen each job opportunity to sort out the scam jobs from the real ones.
"There are up to 70 scams for each one real job in flexible job searching, so that's 69 jobs that we've vetted and removed," she says. "If we have any doubt whatsoever about a company's legitimacy, we don't add it to our site."
For the positions that are added to FlexJobs, each includes a description of the company and job, as well as the best way to apply for the job (whether through FlexJobs or directly through the employer).
Currently there are more than 1,000 Chicago-area flexible jobs listed on the website and thousands of other flexible jobs elsewhere in the country. Many are considered "anywhere" jobs, Fell says, that can be done anywhere in the United States.
"We have some really great companies using us: Citibank, Kelly Services, Rosetta Stone," Fell says. "Keep hope if you are looking for a job with flexibility. There's a lot more out there than people believe."
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.