Beth Murtha has no qualms about volunteering at her children’s schools Monday through Wednesday. She knows that her job-sharing partner, Barbara Keesler, is at the office, handling administrative work for the Jell-O brand group at Kraft Foods in Rye Brook.
She also knows that when she goes to work on Thursday, a note tracking the week’s activities will be in place, as will a work-in-progress folder, so she can pick up where Ms. Keesler left off.
Ms. Murtha, who lives in Brewster, and Ms. Keesler, who lives in Cortlandt Manor, enjoy a flexible work option called job sharing that is gaining acceptance in Westchester as companies strive to retain seasoned employees and recruit new ones.
“Job sharing is a wonderful addition to a company’s flexible schedule,” said Marjorie Schelling, category business director for Jell-O brands at Kraft, and Ms. Murtha’s and Ms. Keesler’s supervisor. Ms. Schelling also supervises another job-share on her 17-member team. She describes job sharing as “a seamless process.”
“There are no hiccups,” she said. “I constantly mix them up and I often call them by each other’s names, but the job always gets done. It doesn’t matter which of them is on.”
Shari Rosen Ascher and her job-sharing business partner Maggie Sisco are both examples and leaders in job sharing.
Their company, ShareGoals, established in April, 2001, advises would-be job sharers and companies interested in learning to manage job-share teams. Their self-published book Share the Goals: How to Successfully Job Share was published in 2001.
“Job sharing is a win-win for job-share partners,” Ms. Rosen Ascher said. Ms. Sisco added, “As well as for corporations.”
They often complete each other’s sentences. In fact, over time many of their clients, not knowing which of the duo they were talking to, combined their names—Shari and Maggie—into Shaggy. Their answering machine announces that “Team Shaggy” will get back to the caller.
They began job sharing in 1995, after working together as account executives at a radio sales company in Manhattan. Ms. Sisco left when her first child was born, and Ms. Rosen Ascher had a baby nine months later. Because their hours were demanding, they discussed sharing their job. When they presented the idea to their company, they were turned down.
They took the idea to Interep Radio, a competing company, and were hired. Together they worked their way up from account executive to vice president of sales, all the while splitting their workweek, each working three days a week, two days alone and one overlapping.
“We couldn’t have risen to vice president without the job share,” Ms. Rosen Ascher said. “Because of the demands, it was much easier to become Vice Present as a team.”
The “Shaggy” team points out that many part-time employees are disappointed because they have a reduced income and fewer benefits, yet their workloads remain the same. With job sharing, there is always someone on the job, no down time for vacations, and no time lost while a mother is giving out pizza at the class picnic.
While benefit arrangements depend on the company, it is not unusual for job sharers to have full or partial benefits.
“We find 70 percent of companies flexing their employment arrangements to attract and retain good employees,” Ms. Mockler, a job sharer, said. “Whether the economy is on an upslide and good employees are hard to come by, or the economy is in recession, the flexible job market is an untapped resource.”
She points out that job sharing was introduced in the 1970’s, largely as an option for secretarial and white-collar jobs that were easy to divide. Now, she said, more managers are enjoying the benefits of job sharing.
Job seekers looking for this arrangement have two options. They can find a partner to present to corporations or, more often, apply for half of a job share already in place.
Many Westchester companies permit job sharing, including the PepsiCo, which has offered job-sharing as an option for more than 70 years.
There are no hard and fast rules for splitting the workload in a job share. Some people split the day, others split the workweek. Some have an overlapping day and others alternate weeks.
“The mechanics don’t matter,” Ms. Rosen Ascher said. “It doesn’t matter if you spoke to Maggie on Thursday or me on Monday, as long as you know that you’re only going to have one conversation.”
Ms. Schelling said communications and commitment are essential for successful job sharing on her Jell-O team.
“Communications are paramount in the business world and there’s a lot to be learned from teams like Beth and Barbara,” she said. “This is not a position to them, it’s a career to both of them. They spend time thinking ahead, anticipating each other’s needs. They make sure that things are in great shape for the next person.”
To get this kind of synergy, the ShareGoals team recommends that job sharers find a partner who is philosophically on the same track in terms of business and career. When job-sharing arrangements don’t work out, it is often because the situation was constructed around scheduling or the job share was put together in haste because someone was going to leave.
A job-share partner doesn’t have to be exactly like the other partner, but should be complementary. ShareGoals’s biggest challenge is dealing with nonbelievers, but both partners have a “we’ll show you” attitude.
“After all, they’re getting two brains, four eyes,” Ms. Sisco pointed out. Ms. Rosen Ascher chimed in, “And 20 fingers. All for the price of one.”
2011-02-22 13:04 编辑：kuaileyingyu
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