Words by Sommer Brugal Photos by Eric Morales
Melissa Nicholson is the founder of the job sharing firm, Work Muse. With a decade of job sharing experience behind her, Nicholson is working to educate and empower employers and employees to embrace the benefits of job sharing, a partnership between two people who, together, tackle the role of one full-time position.
“When I started churning with the idea of creating Work Muse, I knew a lot of people who were in a similar situation as me,” said Nicholson. “I was 40 years old, my kids were elementary age, and I had [many] people in my community saying they wanted to [job share] like I was.”
It was then that Nicholson realized she had something tangible. She wanted to encourage individuals to move towards a more balanced home life, yet equally productive career.
She began organizing workshops with groups of people to understand what a company focused on job sharing would look like. She started coaching and working with individuals one-on-one, creating the education and awareness around the idea of job sharing, and working to break down the misconceptions people have about it.
Today, Nicholson has helped countless employees succeed in their job sharing roles. She attributes the success of her business to first ensuring that she is happy in her work life. Nicholson says understanding what is important to her—both personally and professionally—is key.
“When you start a business, you can build it a certain way where you build yourself in a box and become unhappy,” Nicholson confesses. “[When I started Work Muse] a friend asked me, ‘How do you want to spend your day?’ ‘Where do you want to spend it?’ and ‘What do you want your business to look like?’”
Nicholson says those very questions urged her to follow her gut and to work from home. She wanted to be looking out at her backyard, close to her children’s school and the community she had in her Cherrywood neighborhood. Nicholson says it was the best decision she could have ever made.
According to Nicholson, job sharing has enabled her to be her whole self, both at home and at work. While she continues building the Work Muse brand, her motivations are external. “For me, it’s about the people. I’m doing this so no matter who they are, they can feel happy in their careers and happy at work.”