Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

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Glockenspiel
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Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by Glockenspiel » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:22 am

Has anybody had success negotiating to work a 32-hour week for a career that is typically a full 40-50 hours/week? I am at a point in my life where work sucks my soul and drains my happiness, while I would love to spend more time with my family and friends.

I've been at my firm for about three years and there is never enough support or help, forcing me to either work overtime or produce a crappy product. I don't see things changing for the better. We've had poor success hiring rock-star contributors to the team. I'm just looking for examples, advice, or stories of people who have taken a step back from their careers to live a happier life. Thanks all in advance.

livesoft
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by livesoft » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:25 am

Yes. For instance, I developed, wrote, distributed, and supported a major piece of software for my employer. Then I helped create a team that could help maintain and support the software. Then I could step back and just come up with ideas that I could get others to implement while still being indispensable for the entire project.

Of course, the money coming in from selling the product allowed all this.
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UpperNwGuy
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:29 am

I watched people try this at my last two places of employment. Most of them failed to keep the part-time job from growing into a full-time job (at part-time pay). Why? Because they were assigned to projects with deadlines, and the deadlines had to be met.

KlangFool
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:39 am

Glockenspiel wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:22 am
Has anybody had success negotiating to work a 32-hour week for a career that is typically a full 40-50 hours/week? I am at a point in my life where work sucks my soul and drains my happiness, while I would love to spend more time with my family and friends.

I've been at my firm for about three years and there is never enough support or help, forcing me to either work overtime or produce a crappy product. I don't see things changing for the better. We've had poor success hiring rock-star contributors to the team. I'm just looking for examples, advice, or stories of people who have taken a step back from their careers to live a happier life. Thanks all in advance.
Glockenspiel,

<<I've been at my firm for about three years and there is never enough support or help, forcing me to either work overtime or produce a crappy product.>>

A) Unless you own the company, how could the crappy product be solely your problem? If the firm is not willing to put the money for proper support, it is not your problem and your job to fix it.

B) You are the problem. You cannot say no. There is always enough time to do the high priority stuff. There is never enough time to do everything. You put in your 32 to 40 hours per week. The rest is not your problem. If someone disagree, ask them to escalate and show it to your boss that it is at a higher priority.

C) Have your to-do list. Show it to your boss.

<<We've had poor success hiring rock-star contributors to the team. >>

That is not your job and not your problem. You are only paid to do your job. No more and no less.

KlangFool

jane1
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by jane1 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:41 am

It depends on the kind of job. If it is "transactional" in nature, it would be possible. Ex. customer service, cash registers, even pilots, doctors, dentists, etc. But for most corporate functions, it isn't easy to measure what you have done based on the hours you have worked. There are often others who are dependent on you to do their job and that adds to the complexity. So companies pay you for 40 hours, but one is often thinking of work/problems/solutions beyond 40 hrs.

I have had people on my team try job-share, but it never quite worked out. I was spending my time juggling their schedules and hand-offs.

If you reduce to 32 hours, would you essentially just get paid for 32 hours but still end up working 40-50 hours? You could ask to work from home x-days a week.
I too would love to be able to do 3 days per week, but in my type of work, I don't see how that would work for my employer. I quit my FT job for a while to get more flexibility. Tried independent consulting but that came with more overhead and uncertainty and less flexibility than I wanted. Back to FT.

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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:48 am

OP,

You are the problem. The part-time schedule is not going to solve the problem. In your case, it will get worse. You will be paid 20 hours per week for doing 50 hours of work since you cannot say no.

If you can say no, there is no reason why you cannot work 30 hours per week now with your full-time job.

KlangFool

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Meg77
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by Meg77 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:49 am

Unfortunately I think you're probably out of luck. What you're seeking is the holy grail. Pretty much everyone - moms, dads, older people nearing or in retirement age, younger people who want to see the world - would love to work part time if they could also stay on their career path and be paid well and do meaningful work.

I'm not saying it's impossible, but your ability to achieve it has a lot to do with your company culture, and most firms are very slow to adapt to those kinds of shifts in employer preferences. Some tech companies are doing it and other firms in Silicon Valley or that are millennial owned and run, but in most traditional industries/companies run by baby boomers it's still seen as entitlement, laziness or a lack of commitment to ask for part time or flexible hours or work from home days.

It sounds like a job change might work better, even if it's to another 40-50 hour a week job. If your work/workplace is sucking your soul and draining your happiness, will doing it for just a few hours less each week really do much for your overall life satisfaction? Perhaps you could change other aspects of your lifestyle that aren't directly related - your commute, your living environment, your pay, your responsibilities at home - that would make even a similar job much more bearable?
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by Time2Quit » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:53 am

Glockenspiel wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:22 am
Has anybody had success negotiating to work a 32-hour week for a career that is typically a full 40-50 hours/week? I am at a point in my life where work sucks my soul and drains my happiness, while I would love to spend more time with my family and friends.

I've been at my firm for about three years and there is never enough support or help, forcing me to either work overtime or produce a crappy product. I don't see things changing for the better. We've had poor success hiring rock-star contributors to the team. I'm just looking for examples, advice, or stories of people who have taken a step back from their careers to live a happier life. Thanks all in advance.
OP,

From seeing your posts I believe we are in the same type of industry. I worked 60-70 hours a week for the past decade and can relate to conditions you are under. I was with a minicorp subbing to the larger “Alphabet initialed” megacorps, until a buyout came from the blue. I am in my second week working 30 hours/week right now still in the same industry. They are already asking me to increase my hours. :annoyed

In this type in industry I really don’t know how long this arrangement being of part time employee will work out. I am enjoying the 30 hours for now and lower stress levels that come with it. I am using this as a filler until I figure out the next adventure. This gig may just give me the re-charge that I was looking for as I was burned to a crisp! I don’t enjoy working in this industry anymore.

I quickly realized over that past few months that I am not mentally ready fo RE even though I am FI. So for now it is less pay, :( less hours, less stress.

Goodluck!
"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor." --Seneca

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Raymond
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by Raymond » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:57 am

I think it's time to start looking for another job.
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goldfish13
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by goldfish13 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:59 am

It's certainly possible. I finagled a reduction from 40 to 32 a few years back. The way I did it: start bugging your employer about working from home once a week. Maybe you can mention the commute, getting kids to weeknight activities, or some other difficulty you're having. Loosen your employer up a bit. After a few times doing this, my employer agreed to me working from home once a week. At the beginning, it was actually a tough transition. It's not easy working from home! But after a few months, I was able to shift and reallocate my workload so that I had no work on that "home" day. You'll be very surprised how productive you become during those 32 hours at the office when you know you have a 3-day weekend EVERY WEEKEND.

I saw no harm in asking. Give it a shot! You have nothing to lose, other than a job you already dislike.

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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by tyrion » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:02 pm

I may try it at my work. I do 'hands-on' IT as the bulk of my work, with remote support the remaining portion. If I could drop the remote stuff and go down to 32 hours it would be a nice fit. I think I could work for many more years at that pace.

But I'm hesitant to ask, as it could backfire and I'm not ready to lose this job that is good is so many ways (workload, hours, relationships, etc). When I'm in a financial position to ask to go to 30ish hours per week, I will probably do it.

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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:10 pm

goldfish13 wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:59 am
It's certainly possible. I finagled a reduction from 40 to 32 a few years back. The way I did it: start bugging your employer about working from home once a week. Maybe you can mention the commute, getting kids to weeknight activities, or some other difficulty you're having. Loosen your employer up a bit. After a few times doing this, my employer agreed to me working from home once a week. At the beginning, it was actually a tough transition. It's not easy working from home! But after a few months, I was able to shift and reallocate my workload so that I had no work on that "home" day. You'll be very surprised how productive you become during those 32 hours at the office when you know you have a 3-day weekend EVERY WEEKEND.

I saw no harm in asking. Give it a shot! You have nothing to lose, other than a job you already dislike.
That three day weekend every weekend thing didn't work out where I used to work. We caught too many people leaving town on three day personal trips on the Friday that was supposed to be their work at home day. Work at home had to be Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and it couldn't be adjacent to what was already a three day weekend due to compressed work schedule (eight 9 hour days, then an 8 hour day, then a day off).

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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:12 pm

The problem, as some have alluded to, with going part time while still on salary is that you have to be pretty rigid about enforcing your boundaries once you have reached 32 hours. Otherwise if you let things spill over you'll find yourself getting paid part-time to do enough work to qualify for full time. At that point all you've done is worked out a work-from-home arrangement, which may be good but there's no reason to take a pay cut for that.

In another company we had a role that required a semi-specialized skill. She negotiated a 32 hour work week and had every Friday off. She was good about holding the line, even during emergencies, that she was unavailable on Fridays. To her credit she mostly worked 9 hour days Mon-Thu.

In still another company we had someone wanting to go 9/80 and there was initially support for it, but that person found himself actually doing work on that every other Friday off. That was particularly galling because he was honoring the spirit of the extended other 9 days but still didn't get a full day off, so he was actually working more than most of us. That experiment ended after a few weeks.

I think the time to raise this kind of thing is during the interview process or at offer time, when everyone's in love with you and you have maximum leverage. Another point in time is if you have a counteroffer and you're using it to extract concessions out of your current employer, which is not a strategy I recommend but in this case if you're able to work out a lifestyle change the benefits might outweigh the risk. You'll probably also find the smaller the company, the more likely you are to be able to work out an arrangement such as that. Larger companies and megacorps tend to shy away from individualized arrangements like this unless they are common to a number of existing employees.

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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by staythecourse » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:16 pm

Start your own business. It is the reason I started my own medical practice. I work as much or as little as I want. Get to spend as much time as I want with my kids. Unless you are your own boss you never really have control of your life/ schedule.

Good luck.
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by justlearnin » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:17 pm

Mine was an unplanned, unintentional 2 step reduction in work schedule, that worked out beautifully for me. I was a hard worker and my boss valued my employment. I loved my job, loved working for my organization, but was becoming overwhelmed with all the overtime, etc, so I had begun looking for other jobs and felt I could get hired in other organizations doing my set of skills.

I happened to be talking to my supervisor and at the end of the conversation she asked how things were going. I took a deep breath and told her that I was beginning to look around for another job. She then said, she would do anything to keep me. I asked if she would be willing to let me work 4 ten hour days--M-Thurs. She immediately said I could and it could start the following week.

About 6 to 8 months later, I went back to her again and asked to work 4 eight hour days. She granted it. I stayed in that job another 6 years until my husband got another job in another state.

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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by yohac » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:19 pm

At this point, you'd probably have to at least imply that you're burned out and ready to quit. Then they might consider it - if they think you're indispensable.

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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by Glockenspiel » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:27 pm

Meg77 wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:49 am

I'm not saying it's impossible, but your ability to achieve it has a lot to do with your company culture, and most firms are very slow to adapt to those kinds of shifts in employer preferences. Some tech companies are doing it and other firms in Silicon Valley or that are millennial owned and run, but in most traditional industries/companies run by baby boomers it's still seen as entitlement, laziness or a lack of commitment to ask for part time or flexible hours or work from home days.

It sounds like a job change might work better, even if it's to another 40-50 hour a week job. If your work/workplace is sucking your soul and draining your happiness, will doing it for just a few hours less each week really do much for your overall life satisfaction? Perhaps you could change other aspects of your lifestyle that aren't directly related - your commute, your living environment, your pay, your responsibilities at home - that would make even a similar job much more bearable?
I agree that the company culture coming from the principals is that (it's very hard to be a project manager or above and only work 40 hours a week). Well I am just simply not willing to consistently work more than 40 hours a week. I would rather find a new job than work more than 40 hours every week.

At my current workplace, I'm sort of seen as an "expert" or "project manager" trying to manage projects, mentor/train new staff to produce quality work, do marketing/proposals, attend administrative meetings, perform QC on other's work, and get my own work done.

I've tried to simplify my lifestyle. My commute is only 12 miles each way, my home is nice and comfortable, my pay is pretty good for my level. My family and kids missed me when on my birthday, they were all excited to see me, surprise me, and have a nice dinner with me, but I couldn't leave work until later due to a deadline.

I'd love a company who's culture is work 40 hours and leave, and is organized well enough that it isn't constantly putting out the most emergent fire.

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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by Glockenspiel » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:33 pm

yohac wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:19 pm
At this point, you'd probably have to at least imply that you're burned out and ready to quit. Then they might consider it - if they think you're indispensable.
If I up and quit today, they would be in a huge pickle. My "team" is small and I'm the biggest contributor to it. I feel they would do a lot to try to keep me, but my director is the type of guy who lives to work, and I am totally the opposite.

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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by staythecourse » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:37 pm

Time2Quit wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:53 am
I quickly realized over that past few months that I am not mentally ready fo RE even though I am FI.
That is the perfect situation to change jobs or occupation. I'll dare to say that is the best reason to shoot for FIRE. Not to actually retire, but take a load of your shoulders and allow you to change your work like so it fits with your personal life.

Good luck.
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by Carson » Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:26 pm

tyrion wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:02 pm
But I'm hesitant to ask, as it could backfire and I'm not ready to lose this job that is good is so many ways (workload, hours, relationships, etc). When I'm in a financial position to ask to go to 30ish hours per week, I will probably do it.
I successfully negotiated to go from 40 scheduled (50 actual) hours per week to 20 scheduled (24 actual) at a megacorp 7 years ago and it has been incredible. I spend a lot of my time doing skills-based volunteering, raising my kids, working out, and doing house projects.

During the process I suggested to use a large PTO balance to simulate my new schedule. I was patient and it took about a year from inception to approval. During the approval phase, I was directly asked if I would leave if I couldn't get this accomodation. Luckily my spouse and I were on the same page and I was able to say 'yes, I definitely will have to leave'. I wasn't doing that to BS with them, I was doing it because I was overworked and burnt out. I will say my director-level at the time was very much pro-work, like 6am-11pm kind of schedule, but I think she did empathize with me and never seemed to hold my request against me.

I've since switched roles and part of the way I could 'sell' myself to this project is that I was 'only' half time. I've been asked to work more hours and have said I would potentially consider it, but it would have to be added hours on a flex schedule.
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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:27 pm

Yes, but circumstances were different.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=163988

I had been at MegaCorp for nearly 35 years at the time, was near to retirement, and well-established with my then work group. Going to four days was in lieu of retiring. My supervisor didn't seem to have much objection.

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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:34 pm

My wife did this after we adopted our first son. She managed a group and swapped spots with someone in her group and went to 24 hours. Her hours were determined by the day care for our son. She turned a 50 hour week into 24. Since she was in a different job, she wasn't plagued by people expecting her to do her old job and be a team player (which means work 100 hours a week).

I've also seen unsuccessful attempts at one of my jobs. My manager went to 32 hours, taking every Friday off. He was forced to retire.

Another worker bee engineer also went to 32 hours, taking every Friday off. He was forced to retire.
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Re: Negotiating a part-time schedule for a career that is typically full-time?

Post by aprilcpa » Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:46 pm

I think a lot depends on your field and your company's business. I am a CPA in public practice, so my circumstances are a win-win for my employer and me. I work full time during tax season and then work part time the rest of the year. We have an understanding that unless I am out of town, I am available to work whenever I am needed to cover for other employees or other deadlines. Working year round (versus taking off the remainder of the year) is advantageous to both us of - I retain relationships with clients and stay up to date on the ever-changing tax landscape. The biggest thing is to show your employer how your part time schedule will benefit THEM.

I will add this is a perfect scenario for me since my kids are 10 & 11. After they go off to college, I may be interested in working more full-time. Of course, by then, my employer will be close to retirement age and I can buy his practice.

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