On Job sharing
edited: Friday, October 18, 2002
By Dan Vel
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2002
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Do you only work half days at the office? This one's for you.
At a company I used to work at, I had two co-workers who shared one position. One of them had decided to stay home with her twins in the mornings, so she came to work for afternoons only. The workloads at this place were huge and everyone who worked full time usually pulled more than 50 hours a week, which still wasn't enough to get the job done. Such people can't be perceived or regarded as full-time employees, at least in the environment I'm describing here, because full-timers bear the full weight, anger of customers, and the full accountability for problems or issues that arise during the day.
Am I wrong? If you work four hours and go home, you only experience a small fraction of the chaos, and are responsible for an even smaller fraction of the responsibility. Plus, since you aren't there half of the time, it creates problems for others who work a full day because if there is a question to be asked about your files or accounts, or the status of a certain situation, you aren't there to provide the answer. Therefore it is reasonable for the others who work full time to perceive you not as a lesser employee, but as less involved, and it won't matter how hard you work during those four hours because their perception won't change. I think it is unfair for part-timers to expect the same behavior from either colleagues or management when it is obvious they are in a different status.
For example, animals in the wild aren't that different from humans. So when a lioness has a hormonal problem that causes it to grow excessive fur that makes "her" look like a lion, no lion will mate with her, even though there's nothing else wrong with the lioness. Other times a female in a group or herd will give birth "off season" when water and food aren't in abundance. When this happens, everyone else in the herd turns their backs on the mother and her newborn. Maybe the time for the "job share" or part-time flextime is out of season and it will take more time for others to accept others in this category as they accept fellow full-timers.
Performance reviews are another problem. I mean, let's be frank and honest: How widespread is this flextime, and how long has it been around? At how many companies? It hasn't been around long enough and isn't common enough for managers or human-resources personnel to effectively categorize, evaluate or assess what it is that will be accepted as excellent performance or good performance half of the time. It isn't easy for all those managers out there to evaluate your performance when corporate America is working a 10-hour day (eight hours plus the other two you spend fixing situations on the phone) and they only see you when they happen to go by. Is there some resentment from full-timers towards flextime employees? What do you think?
I can imagine this topic on a popular radio talk show in New York:
Our lines are open please call now and let us know your opinion. Yes! We have a lady from Long Island. Your name please...
I'm Mrs. W and I think it is unfair that we, the part-timers, don't get the respect for the work we do and all the hard work we do
Where do you work?
I work from home. You see, I'm telecommuting for now because my car broke down.
So you're probably still wearing your bunny slippers and robe.
You're pretty comfortable. I wonder how your co-workers who are stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway feel about you right now.