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Working lives

Malcolm Murray-Clark, 47, is also assistant director, congestion charging, street management division, Transport for London.

Route to the job After a first degree in civil engineering I completed a post graduate degree in transport planning at Liverpool University in the mid 1970s. I then worked as a graduate trainee at the Greater London Council, which had a very good training programme. I started working part time in the mid 1980s, when I became a dad. After the GLC, I became head of the accident analysis unit at the London Research Centre, then spent a period at the London Strategy Policy unit, looking at transport across London. In 1988 I joined Westminster Council and was head of transport policy and projects from 1991, mostly on a three day a week basis, until I was appointed to do this job.

Expectations We both knew that this would be a very high performance project, with a strict time scale and a high profile. I was always confident that we could do it. I had worked part time before and had employed people on that basis, so I knew that you can bring a freshness to work if you are not there all the time. It helps to think creatively and laterally. I also knew that between us, Michele and I have 50 years of experience, as well as complementary skills - I have experience from a predominantly local authority and client perspective, and Michele from that of a consultant.

Reality It is both easier and more challenging to share a post. And the work itself has offered more and demanded more than I expected. The scale and complexity is even greater than I had thought it would be. It is at a higher pitch - but I am not complaining. It has given me a chance to widen my skills. We had to demonstrate our capacity to work together before we started - and address initial concern about a job share being disjointed. It does not work 100%, all of the time, but both Michele and I are open to feedback about addressing any problems as they arise. Overall, we both feel very supported by everyone we work with.

Advice This way of working does help achieve a balance between work and aspirations for quality of life.

But to make it work you need trust, complementary skills and good communication. And you need to have rules about how you work, as well as sharing an overview of the big picture. A big requirement is to avoid duplication and to avoid lurching from one decision to another.

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