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The pros and cons of job-sharing

February 16th, 2013 at 07:15 am



Good 'ol SA did it again....I posted an entire entry and it simply disappeared....

As many of you know, I share a p/t proofreading job with another woman. She works on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings while I work Wednesday afternoons, Thursdays and Fridays. We share the same cubicle. We share the same phone as well, so that means we have the same password and can listen to each otherís voice messages.

OK, I lied. There are mostly cons to sharing a job with a co-worker, at least in my position. While we do the same work, we donít share each otherís work. So if, say, Iím away for several days, itís not like sheís going to pick up the slack for me, or vice versa.

Itís a pretty small workspace so neither of us can have too many personal doodads around as itís just too much clutter. And we need to keep the workspace clean when we leave after our three-day stint. (In the first week, she did leave a few used tissues behind for me to find, but after I mentioned it to her, it wasnít a problem anymore.)

As is my habit, I keep a small bag of toiletries in a drawer at our desk. It contains a toothbrush, toothpaste, aspirin and chapstick. At some point yesterday, I went into the bag and used the chapstick, and as I was putting the cap back on, I noticed a single strand of red, curly hair stuck onto it. My co-worker! Big ewww factor.

My co-worker is 65 years old, very personable, outgoing and friendly. She told me sheís got 4 degrees, including a Ph.D. in psychiatry, and once worked as a sex therapist. She recently retired from a long career as a public school teacher.

I initially decided I wasnít going to say anything to her but would simply take my bag of toiletries home and not keep it there anymore. But then I changed my mind and sent her an email to her home address this morning, updating her on some things that were happening at the office.

I didnít want to say anything to her at the office because not everyone who works there is very professional, and since my coworker has a loud voice, I didnít want to provide new fodder for gossip. At the tail end of my note, I said by the way, I noticed a red, curly hair stuck to my chapstick, etc. and that while I donít mind sharing a cubicle with you, the items in the bag are personal and I donít want to share them, ok? I didnít write it in an accusatory manner, just straightforward and to the point.

I was curious how she would react: would she deny it or quietly accept what Iíd said? Well, she emailed me back this am and flatly denied ever having gone into the bag and said the red hair wasnít hers. I thought some more about how that red hair could have gotten in there and I suddenly remembered that on Friday afternoon, I had a backache that was killing me (my own fault, comes from leaning forward away from the back of the chair when Iím feeling rushed). It was so bad that I disregarded how filthy the carpeted floor might be and I lay down in the cubicle on the floor for about 5 minutes, which helped quite a bit.

Anyway, it occurred to me that maybe I picked up my coworkerís hair when I was lying on the floor and then the hair dropped into the chapstick when I was using it. Sort of an unlikely scenario? Maybe itís more likely her curiosity got the best of her one day and she snooped in the bag to see what was in it. Whether or not she actually used the chapstick, I don't know. But even a Ph.D. is not immune to certain human impulses like that one. I guess Iíll never know.

3 Responses to “The pros and cons of job-sharing”

  1. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I think the scenario you thought of truly is possible. Sorry you don't have any dependably personal space at work.

  2. scfr Says:

    Where I work we all have to share work spaces. No desks. Just a table, chair, and laptop. We all have an empty copier paper box (or something similar) with our name written on it. We pack it up when our shift is done, and stash the box on a shelf. Took me awhile to get used to (was used to having my own desk with drawers which I now know was a luxury), but it allows people who work day & evening shift to share a work station and still maintain some semblance of privacy with respect to the few personal effects that we may keep at work. It also means that when I come in to work in the morning I don't have to look around for pen, notepad, etc. that my co-workers may have moved. I just pull them out of my work box. I don't even know who will be using my space in the evening, so if something went missing I wouldn't know who to ask. Smile

  3. Thrifty Ray Says:

    I hate how posts keep disappearing when you hit submit. I try to remember to copy first, but like this morning, sometimes I forget and all the time spent is for naught. ARGH.

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