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Harmonious working lives

Meet Sonia and Lisa, harmonious working and the basic principles of job sharing at it's best.

Trust, loyalty, shared values and communication are the key qualities to look for in any partnership, and job sharing, or as we see it career sharing, is no different. It's a true partnership that enables us to have time for family, a fulfilling career and the coveted me-time. We've (unintentionally) taken our relationship one step further - our boys were born one week apart, go to the same preschool, have the same crossover day, and have even become friends.

Finding the perfect match

The principles of job sharing are now common sense to us, but when you're starting out they're not. Working for an organisation that really supports job share arrangements is obviously the first hurdle, however the organisation itself can't be relied on for finding the perfect match - this rests on your shoulders, and honestly we believe it should. We were committed when it came to finding each other and figuring out how it would all work, for us as individuals and us as a partnership.

The three things that you must absolutely do are:

  • Network: your network is probably the best channel for finding a suitable job share partner (it worked for us).
  • Research: you can never do too much. Talk to others who have successfully job shared, read articles on best practice and find out how job share arrangements work in your organisation.
  • Communicate: start the conversation early with your manager so you've got support from the very beginning. They may also be able to help in finding the perfect match by sharing your plan with their networks.

Central to these 'must dos' are flexibility, open communication, trust and honesty - job share arrangements can't work without them. You need to be open to being flexible with your days and willing to comprise - job sharing will only work with a 'we not me' approach. Honesty is also paramount and being up front about what you're after in your career is very important because you're going to be on the journey together. We were promoted to our current role after 12 months and it wouldn't have been possible without knowing our goals and the principles of job sharing.

Two heads are better than one

This is certainly true in our partnership, and it benefits the job share partners, the team and the organisation.

One of the best things we've found is that there is constant learning and discovery of new ways of working. We have exposure to each other's different set of experiences and strengths between us it really feels like we have all the bases covered. It's great for us and great for our team, and really proves that this way of working is easily as successful as the traditional way. It also heightens the opportunity for career growth compared to stand-alone part time roles.

At the end of the day we have harmony in our lives, and have found the perfect equilibrium between working in a career we love, in a supportive company, and raising our beautiful families. Think the word to sum it all up is balance. Can't ask for more than that.

Sonia Cini and Lisa Greenwood are Financial Controllers at Westpac Institutional Bank and have worked for Westpac Group for 13 years. They are advocates for job share arrangements and look forward to hearing about other's experiences and sharing more of their own insights.