When it comes to flexible work, it really helps if you know what you want! Easier said than done, right?
Flexible work is SO different from the standard 9 to 5 structure, but it’s not always obvious what opportunities are out there! SO, that’s where we can hopefully help…
We’ve shown you where to look online for flexible roles, which Facebook Groups you should join to get in on the discussion about flexible work, and we’ve even given you a list of brilliant podcasts to listen to by people in the flexible work space. And now it’s time to get busy with a few of our favourite page-turners.
We’ve put together a list of 8 books you should definitely read if you want to find flexible work you love.
These books are AMAZING and ALL OF THEM have been written by women who know what it’s like to be in your shoes. The books cover how to make career, family life, hobbies, friendships – you name it – all work for you. We love how each author has come at the same problem from a different angle.
Flex: The Modern Woman’s Handbook by Annie Auerbach
“When we learn to flex, we reinvent the rules for a new future, and it’s one in which we can all thrive.”Annie Auerbach
What’s great about this book is that it looks beyond the work environment to recognise that other areas of your life are important when it comes to flexible work/life. Annie really makes you feel like flex is a strength not a pushover. Her strategic mind is very present. Annie gets you looking at everything in your life, from the emotional load women often carry to being more in tune with your menstrual cycles! Her own experience of trying to effectively do a 3 days a week senior role proved how difficult it can be if you don’t stick to some rigid rules which she sets out neatly to follow. Throughout, there are great examples of others who have challenged the status quo, even countries such as Japan where they have the Ikumen Project to get more men involved in bringing up their children. Just brilliant!
Work Like A Woman by Mary Portas
“It’s not physically having children that affects women’s careers. It’s being the main carer for them that, in many cases, stuffs our changes of progression and earning”Mary Portas
Mary sets out the grim reality of where we are in terms of the gender pay gap and the ever present male alpha culture. BUT, don’t get negative, she has a way through this and it’s from her own experience. We love her grit and determination, not to mention her honesty about some of the people she has worked with – it’ll make you laugh!
What’s great is that Mary talks about her own grapples with trying to conform to the alphas culture in order to get on and up, but learns further down the line that you know what, there is another way – to work like a woman of course! We love how Mary highlights the unique talents of women such as emotional intelligence, collaboration abilities, and just how essential they are for a business to thrive.
She’s Back by Lisa Unwin and Deb Khan
“We’ve earned the right to be in the workplace. We deserve to be there. We’re valuable and we deserve to be rewarded for the contribution we make.”Lisa Unwin and Deb Khan
This book is such a good ‘how to guide’ for anyone returning to work or looking to up the ante on a recent return. It takes you through step by step (and you know we are all about the step by step approach to learning!). There’s even checklists at the end of each chapter! The approach to talking about the elephant in the room i.e. your career break, is dealt with so well. It will equip you for how to write you CV, how to talk about at network events and what to say when asked about career breaks in interviews. This book isn’t about lying back and reading on the sofa, oh no, there are tasks to do and checklists to tick off – you’ll love it!
Mumboss by Vicki Psarias
“Passion will always win over self-doubt. Don’t dismiss that fact.”Vicki Psarias
Vicki is just one of those special people with a big heart. She just gets it. Yes there are lots of books out there to help mums feel empowered and get back to what they’re good at etc, but Vicki’s empathy and understanding about our problems just sings off the page. It takes you through Vicki’s own experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly and we can all relate. In her book, Vicki talks about how she found her identity (finally!) through her blog and it totally makes sense. Vicki is a creative person and she challenged herself to find flex in a way that would see her career move from the rigid 9 to 5 in TV production to something that was flexible around her family and importantly around her own talents! Make sure you take a look at Vicki’s blog Honest Mum.
The Freelance Mum by Annie Ridout
“It might be helpful to look at your freelance career like a tree. The trunk is you; you’re rooted and grounded, standing tall. There are various branches which might represent the different work you’re doing.”Annie Ridout
There is one word for this and it’s practical! There has never been a better guide for freelancers or more importantly freelancing mums! Even better, it’s printed handbag size, winner all round! Annie passes on her invaluable knowledge about to set up your work day, how to divide your to do list effectively and how to take business calls if your children are at your feet! All simple tasks that just become so much more complicated when you’re starting out as a freelancer! There is a very useful example of Annie’s living expenses that helps you understand what you need to earn to keep all the nice things. It’s a good way to visualise what your business ambitions should be and why you should keep pushing forward with your business plans. There is also a great piece about negotiating a higher fee. Women are bad for negotiating a higher fee/salary and Annie hits the spot by offering advice not just from herself, but from others.
The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon
“[The multi-hyphen method] is a straight-up refusal to be pigeonholed in the modern working world and not being afraid to add another strand to your career bio.”Emma Gannon
How refreshing and reassuring this book is. Work is talked about in a very modern sense – a flexible way! Emma shows you that we’re not going mad, there really is a groundswell happening with job satisfaction coming those who have a number of different jobs. We love the toolkit Emma offers, it helps with the type of job titles you should look at and how you can confidently talk about yourself, which when you think about it, can be very difficult. Emma challenges you to think about how even if your various roles seem different on paper, there are commonalities to be found that link your jobs together. This is so important to articulate your career and improve your confidence. We love Emma’s podcast as well, make sure you listen!
How To Fail by Elizabeth Day
“I have evolved more as a result of things going wrong than when everything seemed to be going right. Out of crisis has come clarity, and sometimes even catharsis.”Elizabeth Day
Elizabeth Day is a talented lady, so it’s really interesting that she has written a book all about failures! It’s full of humour, honesty and some really interesting insight into her life. Elizabeth grew up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland before moving back to England. She talks about fitting in (or not as the case may have been) at school, learning that being clever and enjoying a particular subject can unlock so much! We hear it a lot that failure is the way to success, what is really interesting about this book is Elizabeth’s vulnerability. She lays it all out on the table, from her school days, to her marriage breakdown to struggling to have children. It’s more of a storybook about Elizabeth, but it subtly guides you through confronting your own failures. Yep you guessed it, Elizabeth also hosts one of our favourite podcasts!
Survival Skills for Freelancers by Sarah Townsend
With 20 years as a successful freelance copywriter under her belt, Sarah Townsend is well-equipped to write about the highs and lows of freelance life. She’s ploughed all that experience into this brilliant book, becoming the guide Sarah would have loved to have had when she first started out.
It’s a lovely read, and you’ll feel like you’re being given a virtual hug as Sarah guides you through the ins and outs of flexible working. It busts some common myths and includes some excellent tips on areas many freelancers and the newly self-employed struggling with – isolation, self-doubt, knowing what to charge and when to say no. At the end of each chapter, you’ll also find exercises to help you make the most of what you’ve read. A must-read for anyone who wants to flex.
Looking for Flexible Work?
Discover the 3 Secrets to finding flexible work you love in 2021
Find flexible work you love by shifting your mindset, improving your confidence in your tech skills and exploring your options.
(Even if you feel like a tech dinosaur and aren’t sure where to start)