From Full-Time to Part-Time
For some working parents, a part-time career feels like the holy grail. A way to fulfill oneself professionally and continue bringing home the bacon, while having more time during the week to spend with our kids. But if you've ever tried searching for a part-time role, you've likely come up short. So if you're like us, you're probably wondering where all of these part-time opportunities exist.
Here's what we've discovered - many women working part-time schedules didn't find their jobs on a job board. Rather, they converted their full-time positions into part-time roles. We're thrilled to share the stories of four women who negotiated their current jobs from full-time to part-time. They're here to share their experience and how they made the ask so that others interested in doing the same are armed with advice and examples. Their biggest takeaway - it never hurts to ask. And when you do, come to the table armed with a solution.
Read highlights from the four women below, and click into each to read their full story.
Job Title: Clinical Nurse Educator
Length of Maternity Leave: 12-weeks
Temporary or permanent part-time situation: Permanent
Child's name: Grant
Highlights of Danika's story:
I was really lucky to have leadership that was already so supportive of these elements, but I did feel that the move was made because of my tenure and experience at work. It helped greatly that I had several years under my belt and had proven my solid work ethic earlier on, otherwise, I'm not really even sure if it would have been a possibility for me to negotiate it.
I actually think the hardest sell was trying to convince my husband that the financial cut would be worth it. What helped in this area was being very objective and data rich with my proposal both financially and personally. I explained my expectations for the support I needed from him in order to keep making full-time work with a set deadline.
If you know that a more flexible work schedule is what you want, act quickly and develop a plan to propose to your supervisor regarding the benefits to your company of you going part-time. At the very least, inquire about the possibility and what the process is for the status change (if it's at all possible) so you can get an idea of timing if it's something you're considering.
Job Title: Strategic Accounts Manager
Length of Maternity Leave: 14-weeks
Temporary or permanent part-time situation: Temporary, with the option to re-evaluate in 6-months
Child's name: Peregrine
Highlights of Paige's story:
I approached the conversation being honest about my feelings of distress not being with my baby for more time each day. I kept thinking of it as an “all or nothing” decision and asked him if there were any opportunities that Eight Bit would consider. We talked about what a potential part-time schedule would look like and he went back to the partners to see what they could do. My deal breaker was full benefits, without that part-time would not work for our family.
The most difficult part has been feeling left out of conversations and decisions at work. Because my schedule is so tight, I’m often not invited to important meetings. I find that there is often more than 20 hours of work on my plate and I’m forced to prioritize tasks for the week. I can never give my whole self into my job anymore, but I think as a mom that would happen regardless of a full time or part time schedule.
Be honest with your employer. The worst thing that could happen is that they say no. I think it’s helpful to come to the table with solutions around logistics of how part time would work for you. How can you help manage your workload? How would your schedule work? Is this a temporary or permanent solution? Try to get ahead of their questions.
Job Title: Manager of Communications
Length of Maternity Leave: 12-weeks
Temporary or permanent part-time situation: Temporary
Child's name: Noah
Highlights of Ruthie's story:
About a week later, I sent him an email proposing a change that I felt was fair to both my employer and my family. I communicated and reassured the organization of my dedication and desire to continue to do all things well. I also told my boss that I was 100% open to reevaluating in a few months and how important it was to me that whatever changes we made were mutually acceptable to both of us.
The hardest part is having the conversation with your employer. The truth is, what do you have to lose? What’s the worse they could say? “No, we don’t value you as an employee and don’t want to help you.” If that’s their answer, then you’ve probably needed to find a new job even before you had baby.
This isn’t you asking for time off so you can go to the beach (though I fully support taking day for yourself once in a while!). You work hard. You're wired to work hard and prove yourself time and time again. You don’t do half-a$$ - in anything in life. You don’t know how. Tell your employer that. Tell them you want to give your best, but that in order to do that - you need their help to make a change
Job Title: Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions
Industry: College Admissions
Length of Maternity Leave: 16-weeks
Temporary or permanent part-time situation: Temporary. My part-time situation will be re-evaluated on a yearly basis with the renewal of my contract but we have discussed it lasting at least until my daughter goes to school.
Child's name: Clara
Highlights of Abbey's story:
After my husband and I decided that me working part-time would work for our family, I used my performance evaluation as an opportunity to start the conversation about changing my schedule. I knew my supervisor would be supportive, but I was pleasantly surprised when she brought it ‘up the chain’ there wasn’t a hard and fast “no".
The hardest part is not working outside of my assigned times. I find myself checking email during nap and completing projects in the evenings even on Thursdays and Fridays.
My best advice would be to ask for what you need. The worst that can happen is you are told “no” and then it is up to you if you want to move on to new opportunities. I would also say to be clear on your boundaries, for example, if you will not be checking email on your off-days then make sure everyone knows that.