Job sharing in the home

October 13, 2016

As I wrote in another recent post, when it comes to work and work-related issues, I think the idea of a guaranteed annual income is the concept that appeals to me most. This means you can opt to do something you are passionate about with the knowledge that there will be at least a minimal amount of money that is guaranteed to come in each year. Or you can spend more time parenting your children and know there is a financial safety net. Even for people who want to work fulltime hours in the workplace and make the bill bucks, there is still the possibility of an unexpected layoff. In this case , a guaranteed annual income would mean she or he does not plummet down to $0 .

Job sharing is not something that would probably work well for someone like me  who often thinks I know best when it comes to work. I like the idea, though, for those who have the right ‘give and take’ to share their work. It could free them up to spend more time with their children or pursue an avocation or even work part-time in another field.

We haven’t heard much about job sharing in recent years but in 1980s this idea was tossed around a bit. In the following column piece I spoof the idea and ponder what job sharing in the home might turn out to be (note: the Prime Minister Trudeau to whom I refer is Pierre Elliot Trudeau, not Justin  Trudeau, who is the son of Pierre and our current PM):

The South Voice

September 7, 1983

Equal Time: Job sharing in the home

by Tanya Lester

Just before Prime Minister Trudeau shuffled Lloyd Axworthy over to the Minister of Transport cabinet post, the Winnipeg-Fort Garry MP announced a job sharing proposal.

To put it simply, this concept means two people in the same workplace would agree to share one fulltime paying job. So, in effect, each of these people would be working on a part-time basis.

Job sharing on the homefront could mean that husband and wife would each contribute an equal part-time chunk of hours to doing the dishes, making the meals, taking the kids to piano lessons, raking the leaves, washing the clothes, changing the bedsheets, etc.

If you are a woman, I am sure you are probably nodding your head and thinking: “Well, right now I am fulltime paid worker and fulltime houseworker. I could go for this job sharing in the home scheme.”

But just stop and think, for a moment, about how your job sharing partner, who may not be too gung-ho about this whole sharing-the-housework idea, might try to maneuver out of his part of the work. Let’s see if it would be worth it to you by examining some hypothetical situations that could come up while your husband and you are job sharting in the home.

Would he only invite friends home for supper on the week that it was your turn to make supper? Or, maybe, he would refrain from inviting over friends unexpectedly if it was his week to wash the dishes. It could be that you would never again have any unexpected guests.

And, on the subject of dishes, would he ‘call in sick’ claiming dishpan hands as his illness? (I wonder, would job sharing in the home help develop a nation of male hypochondriacs?) In the case of the dishpan hands disease, would the dishes just pile up in the sink until he was able to get ‘back on the job’? Or  would you work overtime and bank your hours at time and a half, taking free time in lieu of money, when he became strong enough to reutnr to work?

And what about job training? Do you think he could ever be trained to catch the rinse cycle when he was washing the clothes? Of course, maybe you really wouldn’t care less just as long as the clothes did get washed, dried, folded and put away.

But what if the job training wasn’t thorough enough? Could you sleep on a bed with no sheets just because he couldn’t seem to figure out how to put them on the bed? Of course, a refresher course could be forthcoming as soon as the sheetless bed was discovered. This could be followed by a lot of “Now, that wasn’t so hard after all, was it?” type of verbal strokes after the task was successfully completed under supervision.

Do you think the kids would ever realize when it was his turn to take care of scraped knees and help them with their homework? Well, seeing as children tend to adapt to change more easily than adults, this would probably not be a problem for long.

In fact, it seems that job sharing in the home (or whatever you want to call it) could become a happy reality. All that would be needed are two partners willing to work together in breaking down sex role stereotypes.


Tanya’s other posts on this blog can be read by going to or

Tanya is also a psychic who does tea leaf and tarot readings as well as being a reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. For more information go to her web site at or one of her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google. You can email her at or call her cell at 250-538-0086





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