Let's talk about fl*x

More specifically, let’s talk about popping enticing little flexibility taglines into job ads when there is no genuine flexibility on offer.

It’s been a pet peeve of mine for a long time, but even more so since I started job searching this year.

It appears at the bottom of the ad, usually italicised, just under the standard and equally token D&I statement… a throw away ‘we embrace flexible working’ line to show how woke they are.

I got lured in by this charade again yesterday, but the statement was so compelling!

Our workforce is a ‘diverse group of individuals with different needs’ they proclaimed before continuing that they ‘get that flexibility is important and different for each of us’. Sounds legit so far right?? Then they ended with the call to action ‘we offer a range of flexible working arrangements. Just ask us!’.

So I took them at their word and ‘just asked’ them, and here's what I learned;

  • The role is not just full-time but more than full-time. Apparently after you’ve smashed out the 38 hours you’re paid for, you’re expected to take global calls at odd hours for fun. Obviously part-time is not an option at all.

  • The male manager of this role has two young kids and ‘totally gets it’. He takes those late night global calls from the luxury of his home. Cool. I would have expected that at least. But something tells me he has a very accommodating partner and/or an au pair who enables his 50-60hr working weeks.

  • The male CEO ‘advocates for flexibility’. He wants to see working from home continue after the COVID situation. Which in reality looks like 2 full days in the office each week plus in person attendance at any meetings he calls, but I could just ‘pop in’ for those (it’s a 1hr commute each way. There’ll be no popping!).

  • There was no awareness about job-share. A thoughtful ‘huh’ was the response when I asked if two kick-ass part-time candidates with complementary skills would be considered for the role. ‘It’s not something I’ve heard about or ever considered’ was the eventual reply.