I just spent an hour with two amazing women– Rowena Falzon and Alex Crammond or ‘Rolex’ as they are affectionately known within the walls of Telstra.
The reason I met up with them is because they have been job-sharing the role of Chief of Staff to the Group Executive Media and Chief Marketing Officer at Telstra for the past year and a half and before that job-shared their role as Senior Legal Counsel for Telstra Media.
I spoke to them about their journey and discussed what advice they would give to anyone going through the process with Puffling.
While in the legal team, they were both working long hours and loved what they did but didn’t enjoy the impact their work had on their family lives. Around the same time two other women had recently teamed up to job-share.
Alex and Rowena decided that might be a good option for them as they knew both had a similar working style and dedication to work. They pitched it to senior management with them finally saying “ok, we’ll give it a go”.
They job-shared together for a year. Alex worked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Rowena worked Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. They operated as one person, 1 email address, 1 inbox.
It was a huge success.
I asked them what it was like when they started, were there any issues. “No” was the immediate answer. “We just thought oh my god, this is so good! We just clicked from the beginning.”
Equally, they said “When it doesn’t work, it really doesn’t work and can affect your personal brand.”
They have both witnessed other less successful job share combinations and the frustration that can create.
Having the same work style is SO important they both told me in unison. “If your job-share partner doesn’t have the same work ethic or doesn’t have your back, then it is not a good match. You will ultimately end up having to pick up the slack.”
The good news is that both women got back together after Rowena returned from maternity leave and even managed to change careers off the back of their strength as a team. Joe Pollard, CMO of Telstra enjoyed working with them as her legal team so much, that she hired them to help her run the 6 business units sitting under the Marketing umbrella.
“Joe loves job-share,” Rowena says, “she now tells everyone that they need a Rolex”.
What makes your job-share partnership such a success? I ask them as we wrap up the interview….
1. Similar work style — Make sure you discuss this with your job-share partner before you start work. Trial working together if you can to make sure you will approach things in the same way.
2. Trust — You need to back each other in everything. You feel so much more confident when you have someone to bounce ideas off and collaborate with.
3. A good handover — It is extra work on top of what you’re doing but it is an essential part of what makes it work. It doesn’t have to be over engineered but you need to create a system that works for the two of you.
4. Have a shared storage file — We share all of our files together so that it is easy to pick up a document that needs finalising etc
5. Be available for your partner — We know that we can pick up the phone or text one another if we need to. It doesn’t happen often but it is important to know that they are there for you sometimes even if it is to vent or gossip!