Author Topic: Big change for 2013: Going part-time  (Read 4487 times)

MoonPilgrim

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Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« on: October 05, 2012, 01:45:36 PM »
Inspired by MMM's best post yet (thank goodness some of us are Outrageously Optimistic, so that the rest of us gloomipants realize that the world is out there waiting for us to get a clue), I am going to do the second most outrageous thing I can think of to improve my life and myself:

This month, I will ask my employer to make me part-time, starting January 1. 

My initial plan was to spend the next three years in full-on wage slavery to get to my FU-money target, regardless of the dread level and work stress bleed-over.  I've been telling myself I have to sacrifice joy now for peace of mind later.  But you know what?  I want those three years of my life back.

It is "safe" (I'll still have benefits, and probably enough $$ to still save some), and any reorganization of my duties due to reduced hours would probably allow me to spend a greater percentage of time on the important and rewarding tasks at the job itself.  I might even like going into the office.  And the freed up time can go towards other money-making endeavors of my choosing.  Or not.  :)

Anyone else up for planning for and making a great big change?

totoro

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 01:53:14 PM »
Awesome. 

I did this in 2007 (although I just up and quit and went independent part-time).

I have never for one single second regretted it.  It has been wonderful and improved quality of life for everyone in the family.

kkbmustang

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 02:24:52 PM »
While my situation is a tad bit different because I'm currently on disability, I've asked for a part-time position and/or independent contractor position when I'm able to work again. Still waiting to hear back. I'm not going back to the 70 hour a week grind regardless.

totoro

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2012, 06:22:25 PM »
Don't!!  Your a lawyer too right?  I'm sure you can find an alternate way.  P-T sometimes is hard to keep at P-T so contracting might be easier to manage if it is an option.  And, as far as disability goes, have you considered whether your medical condition would allow you to return to F-T?  In Canada, there is an obligation to accommodate a disabled employee to the point of undue hardship.

kkbmustang

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2012, 06:36:14 PM »
Yes, I'm a lawyer.  Rules are a bit different here. If they so chose, since more than 26 weeks have elapsed since my injury, they could fire me without cause because I haven't returned to work. They have chosen not to do so, which is unbelievable in and of itself.  Physically, I won't be able to work like that for a very long time, if ever. So, my long term disability policy covers my income while I'm disabled (well, part of it, but enough).  If my doctor returns me to work, for example, for 2 hours a day, then the disability payments will be reduced by what my employer pays me.  This policy covers my work as a lawyer (not just any work). So, if I can't return to work as a lawyer I'm assuming the policy will cover the difference between what I do earn and what the policy covers (at my previous rate of pay times 60%). If my employer does fire me and pays me severance, the disability pay is discounted by the severance.  I suppose in theory I could collect unemployment in that situation, but not sure how I feel about that.

I physically can't sit in a chair for more than about 90 minutes at this point. My job requires me to sit in a chair at least 11 hours/day on average, sometimes 14 to 16 hours a day during busy season and, in very rare instances, I've slept on my office floor. It's absurd.

totoro

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2012, 06:44:38 PM »
Yes, the rules are unfortunately different.  Here you would have accommodation and approx. two years to return to work.

Sorry you had this happen.  I'm glad you have 60% income replacement through the insurance.  Seems pretty - inhumane - not to offer part-time.

Maybe there should be a regulation capping work hours in the profession, particularly for new lawyers who tend to get overworked.   It is not a good system.

happy

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 07:14:09 PM »


Anyone else up for planning for and making a great big change?

Yes, me too!
I've probably posted this elsewhere but I've applied and had approved a drop in my hours to half-time (20 hours a week), starting in November 2012.
For me this will slow down FI from 6 years to 8 years worse case scenario at current expense rate.  In reality my expenses should drop as my teenagers finish school.

I'll be 54 anytime now and I decided I just could not wait another 6 years in my current situation ( working 40 hours but paid for 28)... I've waited long enough.

Like you I'm hoping the cut in hours will mix things up a bit with regard to duties and expectations and that I'll be able to stay closer to the allocated hours.

BTW I'm calling it semi-retirment!  Sounds more exciting that way (to me at least).   




MoonPilgrim

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 12:26:03 PM »
Ahhhhh!  I'm having second thoughts about asking to go part-time.  There are only eight months left on the project I'm working on at my job.  Maybe I should let things be?  And ask for part-time if I'm offered the chance to stay on post-project?

My second thoughts stem from:

What if my supervisor says no and thinks I'm not dedicated?  (I know, I'm no worse off in terms of hours than if I don't ask at all.  Face punch.)

Why give up $10K - $20K (depending how far back I cut the hours)?  I could stick it out so I could tuck all of that away into savings.  Bad case of the "might-as-wells" at play, here.  Might as well see what the options are down the road.

I don't even know why I'm letting the doubts get the best of me.  The perfect opportunity to bring it up with my boss is even being offered, since yesterday she asked me to determine a staffing plan for my team of eleven as the project phases out.  It is the chance to ask about reducing my hours, on a silver platter.  Time to buck up, stop being a scaredy cat, and give myself a chance for a less stressed out life!

Right?



totoro

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2012, 12:37:34 PM »
Maybe it would help to write it out along with a financial and non-financial benefits over the next 5 or 10 years? 

I do this for complicated decisions and I write out how the money and lifestyle would look over 5 or 10 years.  It helps because sometimes doing the math means realizing that you were mistaken about something - or not.  It also forces you to put yourself into the future and see if it really makes you feel excited - or not.

I run different scenarios on a spreadsheet.  I do it for buying real estate too. 

Good luck!

El Beardo Numero Uno

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2012, 01:09:02 PM »
I physically can't sit in a chair for more than about 90 minutes at this point. My job requires me to sit in a chair at least 11 hours/day on average, sometimes 14 to 16 hours a day during busy season and, in very rare instances, I've slept on my office floor. It's absurd.

Would a standing desk help the situation?  They are becoming quite common in my office.  Simply made from angle brackets, 4x4s, and blank tabletops.  I still sit in my (taller) chair most of the day, but stand up a couple of times per hour, and I find I walk around more.  Standing up from a low chair requires a lot more energy than just sliding out of a tall chair :)

happy

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2012, 04:34:44 PM »
I'm really happy with my decision to go half -time,  but like you I did struggle with those sort of doubts.  I've been "downshifting" for about 17 years and having kids always provided a good "cover" in the past but as they are now teenagers this is becoming a weaker excuse. My work hours have been slowly ramping up and I had got sucked  back into the fulltime careerist sort of thinking ( ie job = life).  Its in my workplace culture and I usually slowly succumb periodically and then have to  punch myself in the face a few times and get my thinking sorted out.  There is some tension/discomfort involved in being a downshifter in a corporate environment in my experience. For me the benefits outweigh the gains, so I keep at it.

This time I had to apply in writing for the reduction and it had to go up to the very top of our organisation, being ticked off by numerous people on the way....I felt like everyone  higher up than I knew I was "wimping out"...Time to administer a few face punches...you know, no-one has questioned me, nothing has changed day to day, its made no difference. The problem was mostly in my head.

I also struggled with whether it would increase my time to FI.  The turning point was sitting down with a compound interest calculator and sketching out various scenarios eg working 0.7 (my current hours) for 6 years and then stopping, or working 0.5 for 6 years and then 0.2 FTe for a few years etc etc. The biggest difference was made by ensuring  I did enough work to cover my expenses and did not eat into the stache allowing it to compound over time. AND the other big difference is made by reducing expenses of course. So I'm trying to make changes to offset the loss of income, and working it out on an hourly rate: I'll lose 8 hours of pay, but currently I've got about 3 hours worth of savings worked out and am working on more. Some of the income I lose is being highly taxed, so I'll save on taxes also.

Like Totoro says, this allowed me to try out a few different scenarios more concretely and see what I thought I would like best.

I should mention I have the luxury of have skills which are in demand... if I decide I want/need to work more at any time  it will be no problem to increase again, so I don't see myself sabotaging my chances of employment ( although my career looks less impressive in terms of "achievements" FWIW).

MoonPilgrim

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2012, 06:50:43 AM »
My boss and I talked about it this morning--I felt guilty, because she didn't react the way I expected.  She was concerned and dismayed, but understood that people have life things.  Because of the reaction, when she asked me what I was thinking in terms of hours, I wimped out and said, "Somewhere between 20 and 40 hours per week--I would be able to do a four day week."

So, long story short, it's approved!  I don't feel happy yet, more sad that she's sad and I feel bad that she's worried about the impact it will have on the project.  Even though I know my absence one day per week will be imperceptible. 

Final details to be worked out--but it's the best of both worlds (for now).  One day fewer at work, and only a 20% cut to salary.  Thanks everyone, for sharing your stories!

grantmeaname

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2012, 05:16:54 PM »
If it's imperceptible to your coworkers and the progress of the project, hopefully that will assuage your boss's fears over the remaining time in the project.

Congratulations!

happy

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2012, 02:41:51 AM »
Well done!  I know several people who work 4 days a week and no-one really notices they are not fulltime.  This includes 2 people who were head of dept/professors who negotiated 4 days and calmly went about their business and there was no drama about "part-time employment".

mm1970

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Re: Big change for 2013: Going part-time
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2012, 03:42:28 PM »
I've cut my hours to 80% starting Monday post-baby.

My boss asked me when I can go full time.  I answered "I have no idea".

But now I realize it's because they are piling more work on me.  Well, I'll get done what I can in 32 hours.