Job Sharing (page 2)
Finding and choosing a compatible work partner is the most crucial aspect of job sharing. It is critical to take this step before you actually develop and present the proposal to share your existing position.
Ways to Find a Job Sharing Partner:
1. Your Current Workplace: A compatible coworker or temporary worker who replaced you or a coworker during a leave are both possibilities. A pairing of two currently valued employees whom your employer would rather not lose could be your most favorable approach.
2. Professional and Personal Networks: Start putting the word out about your partner search to contacts in your professional association, colleagues from previous jobs, people in your exercise class, etc., all of whom can be a direct or indirect source of referral.
3. Placement Offices: Those of nearby colleges and universities might be a good source for identifying leads as many students are past traditional college age, with families.
4. Employment Agencies: If there are nearby agencies that specialize in your field, you may want to let them know about your potential opening. There are also flexible staffing agencies which might be able to link you up with a suitable partner.
5. Advertisements: Classified ads in local professional publications may yield results when other avenues are less fruitful. Time and persistence in pursuing these pathways should result in finding several prospective job-share partners. After that, your next step is to choose the ‘right’ one among the prospects. Before you commit to the arrangement and the person, spend time with each of your prospective job-share partners to get acquainted (if you don’t already know each other).
Are You Compatible?
Your discussion should cover the responsibilities and expectations of the job position and of the job sharing arrangement. This discussion alone will give you an indication of general compatibility. Follow your intuitive feelings about the matchup potential. As in any relationship, there is no perfect match, but in making your partner selection decision, consider the following criteria:
1. Good communicator: A workable and productive arrangement will require effective communication on an ongoing basis; your communication styles should mesh well.
2. Cooperative: A supportive teamwork attitude of mutual respect plus a giveand- take approach to the exchange of ideas are positive indicators of a right partner. Someone who is strongly competitive is generally not a suitable pick.
3. Similar and complementary skills: While you want someone with a good background and with experience in your field, someone who complements your strengths and weaknesses can enhance the partnership by rounding out the position. For example, a combination of your strong organizational skills and your partner’s creative bent can reap better results on projects than either strength alone.
4. Similar work habits: Attention to detail or big picture approach? Methodical or intuitive? Organized or sloppy (important when you share a desk or filing system)? Prompt or procrastinator? Swift or thoughtful in decision-making? Compatibility in work styles may not be a make-or-break factor, but in general, it will make for a more harmonious arrangement.
5. Flexibility: Ideally, your partner would be able and willing to trade time with you should the need arise. Child or elder care arrangements may be the limiting factor in meeting this ideal, but include flexibility and trading time in your discussions.
Highlight the Positives in Your Proposal
With that person identified, you can present a realistic, workable job sharing proposal filled with the details which the two of you have discussed. Referencing the person’s experience and skills within the proposal, and attaching his or her resume, are also part of the ‘sell’ to the boss. If you think it will strengthen your case, highlight some of the desirable characteristics in your proposal when describing how the job sharing arrangement will work.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Fatherhood Initiative.
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