Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stocking In (The Image Search for the Pregnant Job-Seeker)

A relatable stock image from Getty Images
So I totally missed THIS story when it came out.  Thank you Cup of Jo for bringing it to my attention.

Sheryl Sandberg and Getty Images teamed up to create a collection of of thousands of stock images that portray women and girls in a more current and empowering light. We all know what stock images are even if we don't use that term to describe them. They are the images you use in your PowerPoint presentation or your low-budget website when you want to show things like coworkers sitting at a table or a confident business woman. Let's face it, most of these images are sterile and convey no sense of reality.

This collaboration is much more than a victory for all of us who have to sit through PowerPoint presentations.   It is a radical step because it is going to change the images we all use and view, images that show us how to be and how to live. 

Last year I was on my own hunt for images and people that I could relate to.  You see, I wasn't just pregnant, I was also looking for a job. There were so many times I was ready to give up and opt-out of the workforce.

I had no frame of reference or image of a pregnant woman who had been successful in finding a job. Sure, I knew many mothers that had careers, but almost all of them were well established at their work places when they started their families. With the exception of Marisa Meyer, I didn't know of anyone who was offered a job while pregnant. And Marisa Meyer wasn't exactly someone I could relate to.

That was until my friend Jane told me to get in touch with Betsey. (Not their real names but real people!)  After a morning of feeling sorry for myself I decided to listen to Jane and give this Betsey woman a call. It turns out that 15 years ago Betsey was in my same situation and found a job.

The conversation I had with Betsey was a watershed moment.  I finally found someone who had been successful in doing what I thought would be impossible. This gave me the courage I needed to continue my search and go into interviews with the same amount of confidence I had prior to my pregnancy. Thank you Betsey.

Here are a few photos from the collection. Check out the full collection HERE. More commentary on this collaboration can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE

(I will be on the lookout for the photograph of the woman rushing home from work in uncomfortable ankle boots while balancing an overstuffed tote bag, breast milk, and two Chipotle burrito bowls.)

All photos are from Getty Images

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