A new direction in job sharing
April 2, 2010
Calvin director of exhibitions Joel Zwart has been inspired by the examples of his colleagues, both on faculty and staff, who have chosen to share their jobs with their spouses.
And with a new gallery due to open in October 2010 in the still-under-construction Covenant Fine Arts Center, Zwart feels he has even more job to share: more exhibitions to curate and manage, more meetings to attend.
So Zwart has turned to a family member whose skills are compatible with his.
"It’s not the conventional job share, certainly, but I think it’s a logical extension of the concept,” said Zwart of his new arrangement with daughter Anna, 7. “And, who knows, it may be the logical new direction in job sharing.”
Anna Zwart will share her father’s office, his work hours, his responsibilities—everything but his car.
"We will have to drive her to work,” Zwart said. “That complicates things a bit, certainly. But I think those kinds of logistical challenges are worth the benefits you get from job sharing.”
Zwart says he hopes that restructuring his job in this way will allow him to have a little more time for things like family and hockey.
The right stuff
Though she’s only recently mastered reading, Zwart the younger has what it takes to do the job, her father stressed.
"She has the computer skills you can only get from playing hours of Wii,” he said. “And her people skills are off the charts. I think she’s going to be great at the management aspects of this job.”
Betty Sanderson, the art and art history department assistant, agreed. “Anna’s great to work for,” she said. "She has high standards, but she’s very understanding.”
And after a couple of weeks on the job, Anna was enjoying her new career. “Sometimes the meetings are hard,” she admitted, “but then Betty reads me a story afterwards.”
The Zwarts' career example is already causing colleagues to think about how they might share their jobs—and with whom.
"Hey, it’s worth a try,” said publishing services designer Steve Barkema.
~by Myrna Anderson and Matt Kucinski, communications and marketing