Vera has been working at Beiersdorf’s production plant in Berlin for several years. She is currently on parental leave with her third child. She spoke with us in an interview about her previous journey at Beiersdorf, her experiences with part-time work, and her wishes for the future.
Vera, what exactly did you do before?
I was the operations manager for product manufacturing (at the Berlin plant, it’s primarily shower gels and shampoos). Among other things, this position included tasks such as conducting regular employee performance reviews for my team of just under 45 people, monitoring safety and quality standards for efficient production, and budget responsibilities. In addition, I was responsible for other typical strategic management tasks, including the direction of the department and the plant in the production network.
You’ve already had some experience with the job-sharing application process. Tell us a bit about it.
I applied for my last position together with a former fellow student as a job-sharing team. We thought about how we could fill the position together. We asked ourselves a lot of questions, from “How do we want to lead?” to “Who actually works on which tasks?” and then wrote a joint application, with two separate CVs to show how we complemented each other. Ultimately, I took the job part-time on my own, but I can still easily see it being a job share.
You’ve previously done part-time work with management responsibility. How were your experiences with that?
I had a 30-hour employment contract, with one day off per week. Sometimes I used that day as a cushion to handle more complex tasks like budget planning.
What excites you about the job-sharing model?
I really like the idea that someone is here on the days when I’m not, and that we can also exchange ideas when our days overlap. I think that with the right tandem partner, I could relax more easily during my time off and also find more creative solutions.
You signed up for two:share and want to use it to actively search for a tandem partner and a new job. If you could choose, what would your ideal job-sharing scenario look like?
My ideal scenario would be three days on-site with two days on-call for queries, or something similar. In the last few years, I’ve gained a lot of operational experience at the plant, so I can imagine moving on to something very different, for example in research and development or in the department of sustainability. For a tandem partner, trust, values and the understanding of leadership need to mesh – I think it is extremely important that you go in one direction together.
What are the biggest advantages of flexible working for you
For me, the biggest advantage is that it makes it possible to pursue interesting work where I have responsibility, but still have enough time for family and private interests; in short, to maintain work–life balance.