We had the privilege to interview Beth Malmin & Angela Detviler Co-founders of B&A Consulting Partners are pleased to partner with the team on a series based on their experience working in a career partnership.
By Beth Malmin & Angela Detviler, The Career Partners
Our Career Partnership Job Sharing
We love talking about our career partnership; we developed it, live and breathe it daily, and we’re proud of it.
It’s common that we get asked a lot about our job share (because let’s face it, job shares aren’t exactly common –– yet!) and difference often piques curiosity. After sharing our story over the past few years about our career partnership and how we choose to work, four out of five responses we receive sound something like this:
“You guys are so lucky to be able to job share.”
“I wish I had the opportunity to job share.”
You too can job share. Here’s how we did it.
Each time we hear one of these responses, we pause and take a moment to educate, because you too can job share ! For us, it was actually very little luck and a lot of planning and communication.
First of all, we agree that we are very lucky to have found a partner who shares similar career goals. But we’re not a career partnership out of pure luck or because the opportunity presented itself and it just-so-happened to work out.
- We developed a vision of how we work together and why it makes sense,
- Promoted our partnership to employers,
- Proved how it worked and ‘what’s in it for them’,
- And continue to share our journey.
We chose one another to partner with after months of learning more about one another and determining if we would be a good fit (yes, it’s kind of like dating).
There’s never been a situation for us where we were told by a prospective employer, “we have this job opportunity, but it’s only for a job share team.” Quite the opposite. One of our goals is to educate employers that all jobs –– regardless of what they are –– can be shared. You just need the right partners.
We developed the vision of how we work together and why it makes sense, promoted our partnership to employers, proved how it worked and ‘what’s in it for them’, and continue to share our journey.
3 steps to Creating your partnership
Our advice to current or future job sharers? Create your partnership intentionally. Figure out what works, what doesn’t, how you both work to be optimally effective, and above all else, promote it. Be able to strongly, clearly, and boldly articulate:
Step 1: How your partnership works
Think and talk about the specifics:
- What should work handoffs look like?
- What’s your communication strategy?
- What are your parameters for when it’s appropriate to loop in the other partner on a non-workday?
- How do you maintain a joint front when only one person is working?
- What happens if one job share partner makes a decision the other doesn’t agree with
- What is one partner intrinsically good at and how does that complement the other partner’s strengths?
- How do you mitigate each other’s opportunities through your partnership?
This last one can take a while…months, if not years, to fully be able to express. At the beginning of our career partnership, we could easily tell anyone what each other’s strengths or opportunities were. But articulating how those strengths and opportunities showed up in different situations and how the other partner channels those strengths or compensates for their weaknesses, took some time. It took different work situations for us to experience together and reflect on how it worked out the way that it did and how we might leverage what we learned in future work.
step 2: craft guiding principles for your partnership
- What will you always do together?
- Which tasks are okay to complete separately?
- Determine what kind of work is in your wheelhouse and what kind of work you will not do.
- Decide what requires discussion and what can be decided for the team by one partner?
Talk about these early in your partnership, and be open to change over time as needed.
step 3: Be able to complete the following sentences:
- This company/role benefits from our job share by _________.
- It will never be okay with my job share partner if _________.
Again, this one will take time, difficult situations, conversations, and vulnerability for the team to feel truly aligned.
3. I am a better contributor by working with this job share partner because of _________.
Figure out what works, what doesn’t, how you both work to be optimally effective, and promote it.
With upfront planning, you have the potential to create a partnership that you want, one that will last!
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This article is part of Creating, Maintaining, and Leveraging Highly-Successful Career Partnerships, a series by job share leaders Beth Malmin & Angela Detviler of B&A Consulting Partners, based out of Minneapolis, MN.
Musings featuring or written by Beth Malmin & Angela Detviler:
- This Job Share Team’s Secret to Promotion
- Add This Proven Tool to Your Company’s Retention Toolkit: Career Partnerships