Job sharing with my childhood friend

Sharon Launchbury
By Sharon Launchbury | April 14, 2016

I don’t know anybody who gets to share their job with their childhood friend, so I suppose I’m quite lucky. I‘ve known Michelle since we were at school together and it’s strange to think that we’ve been working at Barclays for almost 30 years. We’ve been sharing an Assistant Manager (formerly Counter Manager) role at the Bicester Barclays branch for the last seven of those years, and it’s worked out so well for us.

Our children are still quite young so it’s convenient for us to be in a job sharing arrangement. Throughout our time together we’ve always managed to do things with our respective families, like be there for our children’s sports days and parties, without inconveniencing the bank.

We are lucky that Barclays provide the job share opportunity but I do think that it’s down to us in the branch to make it work. Week by week, we’ve reviewed the job share and perfected our handovers, to slowly but surely build a working arrangement that keeps the branch running smoothly. Our manager is totally appreciative of the job share dynamic; she knows that we make it work.

At our handover meetings on Wednesdays we do joke that we never get to talk about anything that happens at home but we still get plenty of opportunities to socialise outside of work – we often go out for dinner together.

If you’re thinking about job sharing, you need to be tolerant. Before I went on maternity leave I was a branch manager, so it was difficult at first to cede that level of control. But you’ve got to be able to accept the decisions of the person you’re job sharing with – you’ve got to support those decisions and be prepared to justify them if needed. If I disagree with a decision she’s made then we’ll talk about it in private but, in public, I will always support her because we have to present a united front to our colleagues.

When my children get a bit older I will definitely begin to think about increasing my hours again. I know that Barclays will support me but the time has to be right and I have to find the right balance. The great thing about sharing with Michelle is that she thinks in exactly the same way. When the time comes we’ll talk about it but I’d never go and apply to something without a proper discussion with her first – in a job share, it’s communication that’s key.

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