Finding a job share partner is often cited as a barrier to making job-sharing happen. But it really doesn’t have to be all that difficult. Our solution is to create a space online where potential job-sharers can find one another, and we would strongly urge you to get involved here.
In this post, we explore who might make your great job share partner; where to find your perfect pair; when to look; and how to have an initial conversation, offering some questions and strategies you can use as prompts for initial conversations.
Who makes a perfect job share partner?
It’s worth starting with the observation that job-sharing doesn’t suit everyone: glory hunters need not apply. Nor those who struggling with listening. Job-sharers have to want to be part of a team, working together to achieve their goals (work and personal), or brainstorming with others to solve problems.
That’s not to say that job-sharers shouldn’t be ambitious – a core reason for sharing is to combine challenging work and fulfilling ambitions with reduced hours. But every sharer we interviewed recognised that achieving those ambitions rested upon the success of their partnership, and that sometimes that would mean their partner taking credit for a deliverable, or being called by one-another’s name!
So who makes your perfect job share partner?
Skills and experience
We spent a long time talking to job sharers, understanding why their partnerships are effective. And we found that the best partnerships bring a spread of skills and experience which is often greater than any one person can offer. What does that mean? You might have different background, perhaps have worked in different types of organisation (a start-up and a multinational, for example); you might have different strengths (detail, big picture, communication, policy), or management styles, or experiences (working abroad, or starting a business or...).
So – how do you figure out how to find the yin to your yang? You’ve got are two options.
1. The first is pretty simple - use our online matching tool – it assesses your skills, experience, your approach to work, and your values. We’ll give you a read out, and it will recommend a potential job share partner profile.
2. The second requires a little more work from you, but we’re setting it out here as you might prefer to work independently of us.
- Start by mapping your skills. Set them all out. (Our skills mapping exercise as a good place to start, but you might want to think about our sister project – Kitchen Table Coaching – which runs a brilliant session designed to get you to the best, most robust and evidenced iteration of your skills.)
- Then look at some role descriptions for the kinds of jobs you would be perfect for, and you would love to do. Look at where you answer the JD, and where the gaps are (because no-one has everything the role asks for); think about where your weaker areas are.
Those gaps, your areas of (relative) weakness – they describe your job share partner. You are both be capable of delivering the role, but you bring different strengths to it.
Either way, at the heart of a great partnership is chemistry. It’s worth saying that many great job share pairs aren’t friends out of work, and wouldn’t naturally socialise together – a pal isn’t necessarily a good option. But you need to like each other, to ‘click’. And you’ll only know that by spending time together. Don’t leap into a partnership (more below on testing a potential pairing.)
Where are they?
Finding a partner can feel like a huge obstacle to overcome. We know that many are put off from sharing because of the difficulty of finding someone. But actually, it doesn’t need to be too tricky.
Our solution is to create a space online for potential job-sharers to connect. You can find it here.
But don't forget to put the word out with family and friends - because you probably know your perfect pair already!
Many sharers have found their pair through informal work networks, social networks, or through friends. Don’t hesitate to put the word out. A simple email setting out your desire to job share, the kinds of roles you’re are looking for (giving a salary ballpark which indicates your level of seniority, without reveal your exact salary), and the ballpark skills and experience of your perfect pair. Ask them to forward it to anyone who might be a potential fit.
An initial chat
Read more about how to explore a potential partnerhsip, includign some questions to answer together, and also advice on when to look for your partner, here.
Look out for our next blog posts, covering making a business case for a job share (either converting a role your already have, or applying for something new), and then applying for roles.