The kids are in their jammies, jumping up and down while screaming in delight, “Snow day! School’s closed! YAY!” The babysitter calls to say she can’t get out of her driveway. When you look outside, you don’t even want to attempt getting to work. This has been a regular thing at my house. The kids are thrilled, but it puts mom and dad in a jam.
This is the time of year when Mother Nature throws us regular curve balls. Actually, I guess you could say they are snow balls, and it’s pretty if you don’t have to go anywhere! If you must get to work or be penalized, it isn’t pretty at all. When you have built some flexibility into your work schedule, you are in a better spot to deal with the problems that all this white stuff creates.
First, be like the school districts and build some “snow day” plans into your calendar. After the winter weather is long gone, you can use them for vacation if you didn’t need them during that blizzard. You know that there will be at least one time, and probably more, that you’ll wish you could just call in and say you are taking a snow day without creating havoc at work. Every job is different, and you might not be able to do this, but it sure works great when you can.
Second, utilize the same skills that are required in job sharing. If you have been communicating with your co-workers, documenting your progress on projects, and organizing your space at the end of the day, then you have made it easier for someone to keep going in your place temporarily if it is necessary. It really makes a difference if you aren’t ashamed to have someone peek into your office or cubicle. It also makes a difference if you have to explain where something is when they call you at home.
Third, appreciate the sudden break and spend some time with your family. These days will soon be gone, just like the snow outside. Be prepared for them and you can make some memories that last.
Job sharing is one way to get work hours flexibility, especially if you need it because of child care or elderly parent responsibilities. My mom did job sharing when I was young. She worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and her co-worker worked Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday. Both loved the arrangement and through careful planning, this went on for 15+ years.
Sharing a job with another person requires flexibility and good communication skills to keep the work flowing even on the days when you are not at work. This goes beyond good face-to-face communication skills as you have to be able to communicate with the other worker when you are not working at the same time. Email is one type of communication that helps in a job share situation. Being flexible and able to accept phone calls on non-work time is also helpful.
Good documentation skills are critical to job sharing. This ensures that the work gets done properly with no mistakes even when you are not there yourself. One example of documentation skills is medical charting for doctors and nurses. The next doctor or nurse should be able to tell what treatment a patient has received and what he will need next. My mom and her co-worker had ‘in’ and ‘out’ boxes so they knew what the other was working on. They also had lots of sticky notes (this was all that was available 30 years ago!).
Neatness counts. If you share supplies or equipment, they need to be checked on a regular basis to ensure that you do not run out of anything critical or misplace a needed piece of equipment. Return all equipment to its storage place. Also check for breakage and let the other job sharer know if something is broken so that this person does not try to use it until it is fixed.
Job sharing adds critical thinking and planning skill sets to your resume. It also adds documentation skills and communication skills. All of these skills are a bonus, so make sure you indicate on your resume under Work Experience that a position you held was a job share. You can list the position then put in parentheses: (job share, 30 hours per week).