Two days a week Carrie is a lawyer at a tier one law firm in Melbourne, where she manages the legal demands of her clients. On the days that she’s away from the office, Carrie’s job continues to be done by her job-share partner. The other three days a week she is a mum to her two boys and works hard to plan her family life to keep it running as smoothly as possible as well as carving out time to make herself “feel human.”
Carrie has been job-sharing for over ten years and has had four job-share partners over this time. Carrie tells us that
“Job-sharing allows me to be effective at everything. The time I spend with my family is quality and the time I spend at work is quality as I arrive at work fresh and wanting to be there.”
Job-sharing is a wonderful career strategy for mamas seeking to remain in a fulfilling role where their future career goals stay on track over genuine part-time hours. A successful job-share is a way of life which enables a number of priorities to be more equally balanced.
A job-share is where two people share full responsibility for the delivery and outcomes of one role. Two minds, and two sets of experience, skills and networks combine to deliver one job.
Benefits of job-sharing
As mums tell us, job-sharing lets them take on senior roles that offer stretch and growth from a career perspective, while allowing them to switch off on the days they’re not in the office, safe in the knowledge that their role is covered by their equally-invested and capable partner.
These days it’s not uncommon to hear of general manager job-sharing roles. In 2017, job-share roles advertised online in industries including banking, the media, politics and law.
Job-sharers enjoy experiencing work with another person, sharing the cycle of the ups and downs of organisations and people and leaders. In a successful job-share, each person knows their partner has their back. This camaraderie and the friendship which blossoms between job-sharers is often an unexpected bonus, and in many cases job-sharers remain in a job-share arrangement beyond the years they need flexibility because they enjoy it so much.
The extra accountability job-sharers feel towards each other means that they try even harder to be outstanding on the days they’re in the office. Coupled with the joint problem-solving that occurs between the two partners, this generally leads to better outcomes than if they were in the role alone.
Job-sharers are often able to strike the right kind of balance at a particular point in life, leading to higher engagement from them and possibly higher engagement from others that see that role modelling and flexibility.
If you’re thinking about job-sharing, the first step is to find a job-share partner. If you’re currently employed, it might start by talking with your employer to see if job-sharing is supported in your workplace and if it is, look around to see if there is another employee who could be a compatible partner.
If you’re not currently doing paid work, turn to your past colleagues and social networks or join a job-share matching platform. There is support out there, so don’t be afraid to create the work-life fit you’re seeking.
Job-sharing is not for everyone. But if it is something that is of interest, I highly enourage you to think about how you could make it work.
Written by Endi Frydman. Endi has over 15 years of experience as an executive recruitment and search consultant and has extensive experience in executive coaching.