Job-sharing

Conde′ Nast is doing it. Glamour magazine does it, and a lot of publishing companies are doing it as well: job-sharing. A recent article in The New York Times shed some light on the interesting subject by talking to Jennifer Turano, a woman who has been sharing jobs for many years and now is currently sharing an advertising sales job at Glamour magazine.

What it is: Typically two people sharing a job, both holding part-time positions but carrying out the same basic agenda. The combined efforts have the duo performing the work of one full time employee (if not more). Often the people work on different days and act as partners in everything that they do.

The benefits: Being able to work part time but still produce the results of a full-time worker. Flexibility–depending on who you are working with, maybe you can switch days to get a longer weekend with the family, or not have to really miss a day of work when Tuesday decides to make you sick. Other benefits are free time to pursue a passion, earn another degree or even freelance (depending on your contract). Sharing a job can help you keep your options open.

The cons: No task is really completed solo, so it is all a team effort. This means that you and your other working half must be responsible, work together and communicate well all of the time. Also being in and out of the office every other day can make it harder for people to get to know you. But if they know of your work, and the fact that you’re able to pull off sharing something as important as a job, they’ll know that you’re a team player.

So, job-sharing, I’m not sure how well I could do it, or if I would ever want to. However, if it would help me avoid layoffs, then I’m all for trying it. So what are your thoughts? Would/could you share your job? And do you think job-sharing could be a great way to avoid getting fired?

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8 responses to “Job-sharing

  1. This is a really interesting concept, especially since our field is constantly changing to test out what works.

    I potentially could enjoy job-sharing. It would keep me even more accountable since my ‘other half’ would need my work to be well-done, completed on time, etc. Joined with a partner, I could produce work much better than I would create alone.

    Job-sharing would also keep me doing my best work because, honestly, I’d like to shine in my little cooperative duo. I’m competitive, and this would foster healthy competition in the workplace.

    On a more lifestyle-related level, I would love to be able to bend my hours when I need to and help my partner out as well. Though I wouldn’t be in the office as much, I would make my presence known with my work and good attitude when in the workplace.

    This would be a great option for moms returning to work or trying to split their time between home life and the professional world.

    • I really like your idea of “healthy competition in the workplace.” I think that the competition at work sometimes can get rather brutal, especially when it comes to ad sales. But…if you have to cooperate with someone to get the job done, and that person is helping you get closer to your goal, then I think healthy competition would arise.

  2. It doesn’t really seem like a way to keep from getting fired. Instead, it seems an alternative to being unemployed.

    The only part you forgot to mention on the con-side of the job-sharing argument is the pay. You’re working part time, and getting paid for part-time work. It’s no alternative to a full time job, even if it opens up more free time.

    If you already have an Ace in the Hole in the form of an Alpaca ranch, then job sharing would be a great way to supplement your income. Otherwise, it’s a glorified part-time job.

    • Nate, I really like your first point. Do you think that if you offered to share your job with another worker, and go part-time that it could save you from being completely kicked out of a company though? I was just curious.

      In regards to point number two, pay could be an issue. However, if you do by chance have an Alpaca ranch, at least you can have the convenience of a part-time job with the rewards (in regards to accomplishment) of a full-time position.

      So, you called it out as a “glorified part-time job.” I can understand what you mean here, but, apart from what you have already said, are there any benefits?

  3. What about benefits? Part-time employees aren’t entitled to nearly as many of them as full-time workers… that could mean that you would probably just have to pick another part-time job, wouldn’t it?

    I can see why job-sharing would work well for some people in some professions, but I don’t know that it’d be something I want to do. I’m interested mostly in reporting and writing, and having to write articles based on someone else’s interviews all the time is not appealing to me, though as an alternative to being unemployed, I guess I’d work with it at least for a while.

    • In regards to benefits, the woman the article was about, Jennifer, was fortunate enough to receive quite a few benefits, although she did have to share commission on ad sales. I would think that most job-sharers, however, wouldn’t be as fortunate.

  4. lindsaymiller89

    I would definitely job share to avoid layoffs. After the cuts are made and the economy improved I could always ask for my own full-time position. I think the only thing that could make this a terrible experience would be getting stuck sharing a position with a freeloader. Having a partner who doesn’t do his or her share or doesn’t do it well, or keeps asking for all the vacation time would not fly with me.

    • Lindsay, I agree and think that getting stuck with a freeloader would be a very bad situation. Luckily the woman in the article, Jennifer, was able to interview and evaluate the women who wanted to share her job. However, this can be difficult, especially if a liberal worker found it hard to job-share with someone very conservative, or any number of similar dilemmas that could occur.

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