Interview by Breanne Thomas
Can you tell us about Fairygodboss? What you did before launching the site?
Fairygodboss is a career community for women. Women come to our site to share opinions about their employer’s policies, cultures and benefits — particularly as they apply to women. They can discover what other women think about equal pay, promotion policies, flexibility, maternity leave policies, and more.
Before I started Fairygodboss I headed up a large business and the product team at Dow Jones and previously worked in law, on Wall Street, and in venture capital, so I had a good sense of the fact that different corporate environments really made a difference for the success (or lack thereof) for women at work.
I started the company when I was 2 months pregnant (and hiding it) during interviews. I was looking for work and trying to find out whether women were promoted into senior management and what maternity leave policies were. But I felt that asking these things outright was still taboo, so I started to see what I could find online. And what I saw was that existing online job review sites didn’t really address some of the specific needs and questions women have. So I stopped my job search and started building Fairygodbossto see whether women would share their experiences and crowdsource the info I was looking for. Happily, women have come and really do pay it forward!
Why was it important to you to launch a job review platform for women, by women?
When I first hatched the idea, most people (men and women) understood the need for women to have a confidential space to talk about women-specific experiences and issues. Of course, there is overlap between the things that men and women care about. But limiting our community to women is not just about creating a “safe space” — it’s saying that women’s voices aren’t heard enough on anonymous job review sites where topics feel very male-dominated. Countless studies show that men tend to raise their hands and voices more often in group settings, starting from the classroom and going up into the boardroom. Fairygodboss changes those default rules of the game by making sure women’s voices get primetime.
Do you have any advice for women on the job hunt right now? What should they be asking or looking out for?
Every woman should try to figure out what she wants from a job, and make sure that the position and the employer she’s applying to work for matches what she wants (whether it is pay, day-to-day experience, promotion opportunities or mentorship). As much as possible, you should think about a job hunt as dating for a longer-term relationship rather than something to just to tide you over in terms of a paycheck (though obviously, money does matter!). Do your research, interview, gather all the facts and opinions, and then make the best decision you can. I believe a lot of career unhappiness comes from a simple mismatch of goals and culture fit.