A tale of two women – how two part-timers became a job-split

When the Government Office network was abolished, and we both applied for the same position in the newly created Local Intelligence Team in the office of Civil Society (Cabinet Office), we were offered the post on a job-share basis. We are part of a team of 9, with 1 colleague based in each of the other 7 English regions and we have an outward facing role, engaging with stakeholders from voluntary and community sector organisations, local authorities and business across the whole of the South West.

The ambassadorial job share

My husband and I have been job-sharing the role of Ambassador in Armenia for the past two years. We decided to use the format pioneered by the first couple to job-share the head of post role – four months on/off – and have found this has worked very well, for us, for the Embassy team and for our wider external contacts. It is a long enough period to see a lot of decisions/ business through and to (re)establish yourself as the person in the hot seat; but it is not so long that you lose touch with the key issues or the key people.

The benefits are obvious…

I’m a big fan of job shares – so am delighted this network has been established. I was recently involved with some work on getting more women into senior positions in the civil service. One of the major issues we identified was managers not understanding the benefits of having jobsharers working for them – and not thinking creatively enough about how they can design jobs to suit jobsharers.

A marriage made in heaven

Work to live or live to work? It’s a sad indictment of modern living but many people feel the latter best describes their situation.

Not me though. I have a job share partner or as she likes to jest, a work-wife. And much like a marriage, job sharing requires commitment, loyalty and a healthy dose of honesty. It is not for the faint hearted but the rewards can be immense.