We had the privilege to interview Work Muse clients and Emmis Communications account executives Mary Kaye Stuart & Sommer Novak Hruska and are pleased to partner with the team on a series based on their experience working in a cross-generational job share.
By Mary Kaye Stuart & Sommer Novak Hruska, The Cross-Generational Job Share
We love the industry we’re in, radio advertising sales is creative and fast-paced. In addition, our clients have become some of our favorite people on the planet.
We love the company we work for, one that believes in its employees and our ideas with some of the lowest turnover in the high turnover radio field. And we adore the boss that we answer to — a sharp-shooter who empowers her people. The money’s good, including benefits…
So…what was the problem? Moreover, how could job sharing solve it?
improve our health and well-being
Sommer wanted more from life. For her, that meant less time at work or in the car commuting from her farm just outside of town. Austin traffic is insane and it was making her anxious all the time. She felt that she couldn’t be my best at the things that were actually most important to her — being a present mom by spending time with her little girls, working on the farm to make it more sustainable, or spending time enjoying her husband and their extended family.
It wasn’t just her personal life that was depleted but her career too. She was missing an integral piece of her work-life: time away from work to enjoy it once again. She wanted to harness all that love she had for radio creatively and turn it into stronger campaigns with better results for her clients.
Mary Kaye would drive to and from work every day thinking about the concern her cardiologist shared with her, “Mary, your long commute in the car every day is literally taking minutes off your life!”
Her husband passed away several years ago and it rocked her world. She knows how finite time can be and how important it is to be present with those you love. Therefore, she wanted more of it to spend quality time with her friends and be more involved in her grandkids’ lives. And quite honestly, it was time to turn the focus and take more time for herself…not even knowing fully what that meant!
get back time to live life
Many people spend more waking hours in the office than with family or loved ones. After much soul-searching, we knew this would not fly for us any longer. Mary Kaye lost the love of her life after 32 years and Sommer had two daughters, a fifteen-acre farm, and aging parents that all needed her attention. Our priorities had shifted and to be the most effective in our careers, which we both value so much, we needed to make a change.
“Mary, your long commute in the car every day is literally taking minutes off your life!”
Job sharing gave us precious time — 48 hours of it every week! Can you imagine? We’ve restored balance to our lives. That balance allows us to enjoy a carefree time away from the office. We’ve enjoyed a renewed love of our professions and appreciation of our clients and co-workers.
separate & prioritize work + life
We are better, not lesser for job sharing, inside and outside of the office. By spending less time in the office, we’re less likely to be involved in the watercooler office drama. And when there are trying times, whether personal or work related, most employees can’t help but let their worlds bleed into one another and feel the stress of work at home or vice-versa.
We are better, not lesser for job sharing, inside and outside of the office.
The structure of job sharing allows us to keep separate and prioritize the two worlds — we don’t bring work home and we leave home at home. Doctors appointments or errands are left for “off” days so we can focus power during our three days at work. We’re like work ninjas! Sharing our job has enhanced relationships and made our communication skills even better as we approach each area of our lives with a clearer view.
the support of a partner
There’s also a peace of mind in knowing that when (not if, because it’s life) a personal emergency arises, all we have to do is call one another and everything will be covered. And not just covered, work would not miss a beat — not for one client, one stakeholder, or one marketing campaign. Since we became a job share, we liken our relationship to a marriage — we even call each other “radio wife”! We have a bond with one another similar to a husband/wife relationship. We have each other’s back, and we know each other very well — both as a co-worker and as a confidante.
share the wins and losses
But the best part of working in this way? When we win, we share in the elation of the win. Even better, when we lose, we’re not in it alone. We figure out our next move to increase wins and decrease losses together. It’s comforting and makes the job richer, more fun and rewarding. How would it feel if you knew someone always had your back, especially when you’re not at work.
We feel good. Lighter. We unplug.
We feel connected at work and home.
Above all, we feel free — having four days to engage in life and three days to be creative, social, help people and be really damn good at something feels amazing. Remember, you can do almost anything three days a week.
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This article is part of a series by cross-generational job share Emmis Communications account executives Mary Kaye Stuart & Sommer Novak Hruska.
Musings featuring or written by Mary Kaye & Sommer:
Melissa Nicholson is the Founder & CEO of Work Muse. Work Muse drives the adoption of job sharing in business as a source of competitive advantage while helping individuals find work-life balance. Join the #JobshareRevolution here. Hello@workmuse.com for more info.