In the week that Stella magazine’s joint deputy editors were announced as winners of the prestigious , which celebrate senior-level flexible workers, they describe how their working marriage came to be, and the tips and strategies they learned along the way.
It was when I was sitting in my editor-in-chief Marianne’s kitchen, halfway through my adoption leave, that the idea of me doing a job-share first came up. But it wasn’t me that suggested it, it was Marianne. I’d taken my son to meet her, and as we watched our boys playing football together in her garden, I’d been explaining about the challenges of this type of parenting. While I’d met many adopters who had felt forced to go part-time, or just give up working, I was determined to try, at least, to keep my career at the level I was proud to have reached.
But I also knew that this particular job on a weekly magazine is not one that can be done in less than five days a week (and often spills over into more than that), so I’d need to do it full-time, or not at all. ‘What can I do to help?’ asked Marianne. ‘What about doing it as a job-share? Would you want to do that?’
To say I was astonished is an understatement. At the time, there were no other job-shares at the Telegraph, so we’d be breaking new ground. But Marianne was as determined to keep me as I was to stay – she later told me, ‘We need to be promoting flexible solutions like this to keep women in the pipeline. I believe if you call yourself a feminist, you need to act as one – that’s why I’m proud this has worked’.
And it has worked: for me, for Naomi, for the team, for our families and, crucially, for our stress levels. Because doing a job-share, rather than trying to turn a full-time job into a part-time one and watching it bleed into all those hours you’re no longer paid for, has meant that when we hand back the reins to each other, we can truly switch off.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分I’d only met Naomi briefly up to this point. She had taken over my parental leave part-way through, so I came into the office to meet for a proper chat. It was one of the strangest semi-blind dates I’ve been on – ‘Hi, I barely know you, do you want to be my work wife?’ – but it was apparent we were going to be a great fit from the moment she took out a spreadsheet detailing all the tasks that needed to be done. She was clearly as much of an organisation-obsessed nerd as me.
Once we agreed to give it a go, we sought advice from other job-sharers we knew, and we live by those mantras to this day. Just like a spouse, you must prioritise your job-share relationship; if you don’t, it will fail. Keep notes as the week goes by of what has happened, and not just on the shared to-do list but also office gossip. Impress upon your team that you are one person: if someone has a question for Naomi on her off-day, send it to me, and if I can’t answer it (which I usually can), then I’ll find out the answer as quickly as I can. On which point, if there is something we need to ask, we never email the other on an off-day – we WhatsApp – so there isn’t that pressure to constantly check your inbox. Which is the whole point.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分For me, the greatest achievement is our friendship. At her 40th birthday party, she pulled me over for a picture with her husband. ‘Husband,’ she nodded to one side. ‘Wife,’ she nodded to the other. And we all grinned for the camera.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Sprawled across a lounger on the balcony of a Miami Beach hotel, my husband and I were reminiscing about our first year-and-a-bit of parenthood. It was a balmy August night, my 15-month-old daughter was sleeping peacefully inside and I had a little boy on the way. In many ways I was on top of the world, but I also felt an uninvited emotion bubbling up. I felt guilty to say it out loud but along with all that joy, the previous year had also brought with it a sense of loss – something I had not admitted, even to myself, until that moment.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Before becoming a mum, we’d lived in Cape Town, where I was assistant editor of a glossy magazine and I loved my job. But when I became pregnant in 2008 we moved back to the UK. Within two months, I’d left my job, moved continents and had my first baby. It was a roller-coaster ride, but the highs were more thrilling than anything I’d ever known and I wanted to be with my little girl as much as possible.
So at nine months, when I got the back-to-work itch, I enrolled her at a daycare nursery so I could freelance. It made perfect sense. I could write and still be available for every pick-up, drop-off and GP appointment. I even invested in my first BlackBerry: emails on the go, what a revelation! But in truth, I missed being part of a magazine team. Yet I couldn’t see how being an editor combined with being a mum. That sense of loss I felt in Miami was for a career I felt might be slipping away for good.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Six months after I had my second baby, I decided to see how these two worlds might converge. I took on a short-term full-time maternity cover that put me back in the saddle. It did quell that pang, but constantly arriving home to two sleeping children opened up another, and far more painful loss.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分And so began the yo-yo years, feeling like I was oscillating between underachieving in my career, or missing out at home – a road well-travelled by so many working mothers. After baby number three, I took a role at a national news website that allowed me to work a short week. It was a highly pressurised environment, but while colleagues around me were dropping like flies, I just felt lucky to have found a part-time job. Feeling fulfilled too? That seemed too much to ask.
It was a chance coffee with Marianne that changed my perspective. She was looking for someone to cover the parental leave for her deputy (someone called Kate, whom I’d never met) and was willing for me to do it on a flexible basis. Stella had always been my favourite read of the weekend and from day one in the seat, it was a brilliant fit. Before Kate was due to return, Marianne told me there might be an opportunity to stay on and do a job-share. Kate wanted to drop down to three days a week, would I stay on to work the other two? She didn’t need to hear my reply to know the answer.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分I’d only met Kate once for a 15-minute chat, but I knew we’d both be determined to make it work. From day one, we decided that the most important vow we could make in our job-share marriage was to never argue or undermine each other in front of the kids (or the parents for that matter), and to always have honest and open conversations. That ethos has given us stability and strength.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Do we always see eye-to-eye? So much of what we do is subjective that it would be impossible to think alike all the time. But we do not need to be the same person; we just have to trust each other’s opinion and ability, which we do. Our weekly handovers are essential (and often epic), but when we hand over the baton, we know that we can – and must – switch off from work. Not only do we not need to reply to work emails, it would be rude to butt in on the other person’s working day. That’s the crux of why job-sharing has helped us both find balance in our lives.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分But I’m going to be bold and suggest that it’s not only us and our families who have benefited, but the Telegraph too. We bring double the creativity, double the contacts and double the energy to the role. Job-shares may still be a rarity, but, like those BlackBerrys, they have the potential to be revelatory in the way work and life intertwine – only this time, most definitely for the better.
To see the full list of Timewise Power 50 winners,