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December 19, 2001
Job Sharing Works for Freelancers In Tough Times
by Sherril Steele-Carlin

All freelancers know that there are ups and downs in their business. To augment their income, many freelancers turn to part-time jobs when their freelancing slows down or dries up. Some also work part-time for a steady income, and freelance their remaining hours. Now, many freelancers are finding that job sharing is the perfect way to work a few hours each week, and also keep up with their freelancing clients.

An article written by the Herman Group, in the Net-Temps "Job Seeker News" newsletter says, "In most cases, the two workers split the job by the time they work. In other cases, one employee specializes in certain aspects of the job; other tasks become the responsibility of the second worker. The job splits have lately become even more creative. We recently worked with a national company with offices in many cities. A vice president with an office in one state had two assistants, job-sharing, in two other cities. No more geographic limits."

This situation is perfect for anyone who's looking for flexibility in the hours he or she work, but still needs at least a part-time income. In an article at her web site on About.com, guide Dawn Rosenberg McKay interviews the founders of Job Sharing Resources, http://www.jobsharing.com,who define job sharing this way, "Job sharing is a flexible work arrangement where the responsibilities of a full-time position are split between two people. Job sharing offers many benefits to companies as well as meeting the needs of the employee."

Job sharing is on the upswing, according to USAToday. There are also several ways employees are now sharing their jobs. Many make connection each day over the Internet, and don't necessarily see each other in the traditional office setting. Some jobs are split in half each day, with one person taking one shift, and one the other. Some companies split up the week the same way, with one employee working two or three days a week, and the other working the remaining days.

Some companies are so flexible; they allow their employees to work based on the seasons! One Midwestern company has an employee who likes the cold, so they work during the winter months. Another likes hot weather, and works during the summer months, spending the winters in Florida. It's this kind of flexibility that is making job sharing so popular, and also making it so attractive to freelancers.

One of the keys to job sharing is getting along with your job partner, and making sure you both complete tasks efficiently and transparently. Ideally, no one in or outside the company knows who completed the task, it just got done. You have to trust your job sharing partner. Many job sharers say their partner is a friend, as well as a co-worker, and often, job sharing arrangements have been created by two friends who both want to cut back hours.

An article Pat Katepoo titled "Job Sharing - How to Choose the Right Partner," on Woman's Work.com gives these criteria for choosing a job sharing partner. "Good communicator, cooperative, similar and complementary skills, similar work habits, and flexibility."

Freelancers can benefit by job sharing in a number of ways. As we've mentioned, they can work part-time, generating a reliable income, and freelance the rest of the time. It's also a good way to get your feet wet in freelancing. If you job share part of the time, you can gradually transition out of your full-time job, and begin your freelancing career, without completely quitting your job, and losing your entire income. It also may be an option if you can work out working for a few months at a time. You could complete that Great American Novel during your time off, and then return to work again.

Job sharing is a boon for employers, too. They get to keep valued employees that might otherwise leave for a part-time position elsewhere. Job sharers report that they are generally happier, more relaxed, and more dedicated to their jobs, which is good news for any employer.

Job sharing may not work for everyone, or every employer. But for freelancers who are looking for more flexibility and time to freelance, it may be the perfect job option.

Sherril Steele-Carlin is a full-time freelance writer from Reno, Nevada. She's published numerous articles in print and online publications. She's also the author of the new e-book
"How to get a Life by Living and Working in a National Park." http://www.dreamjobstogo.com/titles/dltg0002.html?10402
AND
"How to Break Into Casino Jobs."
http://www.dreamjobstogo.com/titles/djtg0023.html?10402
Visit her web site at
http://www.powernet.net/~carlin

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