Anja Bhend: combining family and career by job sharing.
Previously, I changed employer and job every couple of years. I never felt I was challenged. At SBB, new doors constantly open, and there are always opportunities to experience exciting changes.
Life at SBB.
A few years ago, I had my first opportunity to gain management experience, as I had the chance to stand in for my boss while she was away on maternity leave. It was wonderful to know that I am trusted and it made me want to take on a management position in the future. After the birth of my two daughters, I came to want another change to my career. Ideally, with the chance to combine family and my desire to lead.
Thanks to SBB’s progressive and family-friendly policy, a special opportunity presented itself: a position at 60% leading a small team together with a job-sharing colleague. This was possible thanks to management staff who support part-timers. In my current position, not only do I have the opportunity to manage five members of staff as co-head, but I also have enough time for my family.
Making clever use of working time.
My team and my job give me the freedom to work in the office, while on the move or from home. I plan my working time flexibly to fit around my needs. That means in the evening I have enough time to either look after my girls or, when the children are already in bed, to deal with some e-mails. This way of working gives me a good career-family balance. My team is always very understanding if something unexpected happens in the family. This acceptance and willingness to suit my needs can’t be taken for granted.
Challenges as opportunities.
The need for in-depth communication and coordination makes job sharing challenging, especially at the start. So, I particularly appreciated the fact that I was involved in my job partner’s recruitment process right from the start. That made sure that the new job partner would fit well with me and the team as a whole.
We have developed a good working relationship in a short space of time and now my job partner and I have complete trust in each other. We complement each other very well, so we benefit professionally and personally from working together. We both work 60% and spend one day a week in the office together. That is an ideal set-up for taking decisions together quickly and also working on issues as a pair sometimes. Because two minds can sometimes develop more successful ideas together. For us, there are many positive aspects to job sharing. A major advantage, for example, is that we have a presence in the office all week but spend all our time with our families on our days off.
Benefits for me and my family.
Even before my daughters were born I knew that 18 weeks of maternity leave wouldn’t be enough. But extending my time off to half a year with unpaid leave caused no problems. For me, that was the ideal solution for starting out as a mother and then returning to my career.
A few years ago, I decided to go on a long journey through America. Taking unpaid leave was perfectly simple. That can’t be taken for granted from employers and so I appreciate it all the more. SBB has a lot to offer. For example, my husband also benefits from a GA Travelcard at a reduced price.
And other SBB benefits are also a great asset: for a time I used one of the “SBB aktiv” offers and went to yoga classes at lunchtime.