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Best of the Forum – Part Time Job?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 13, 2016
I just got a full time job offer, but I really want a part time job. I have been a SAHM for a long time. Since both of my kids are at school this year, I started to look for a job. It sounds great, but it’s a start up company with not much flexibility and probably long hours.

I would love to start working again but was hoping for a more flexible or part time arrangement. Does anyone have any words of wisdom for how I could ask for a part time job? Or is this just not an option?

Congrats on the job offer! Going back to work is a big adjustment. Going right into a full time demanding job would probably feel like a huge change for you and your kids. Doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it’ll just be very different. If you are committed to finding part-time, let this company know (ex. “I really want to work here/ I’m jazzed about X element of coming here/ please help me make this possible… I can work X hours per week max”) and see how they respond. It could happen! They liked you enough to make you an offer, and it’s up to you to negotiate the offer that works for you. I’ve worked part time in “real” roles for 3 different companies since my kids. It can happen!

You might be pleasantly surprised if you ask for part time work that it’s a job that can be broken into logical parts. I work part time for two companies and it works out great for everyone. Both companies use me on an as needed basis & pay me hourly. You probably wouldn’t get benefits (health insurance, holidays & vacation) as a part time employee which would save the company a lot of money. I think the key would be to make yourself available as much as possible and to be flexible. Some weeks I have no work from either company. Other weeks, I have a lot of projects but I adjust my work schedule to meet deadlines for both companies.

I feel your pain! It is unfortunate that we are often in this situation where we feel we have to choose full-time work when we might be much better served to have part-time or flexible or scalable. Working with a start up may well give you some options as they can be as flexible as they want. (they are making up their own values, cultures and rules as they go) Here are some ideas for you as you creatively approach matching what they need to the value you are delivering to them.

1) think about what you know so far in terms of their needs to evaluate if there is room for flexibility
2) what is your ideal situation in terms of part-time/flexibility? Could you work the hours they need if spread over different schedule? (ie. work around kids schedules) Do you want to have built-in flexibility during the days for illness, school events? Do you want a three full day and two day off schedule?
3) If you believe that you could help them at this stage without having to go full-time have an open conversation with the hiring mgr. You have something they could use right now and they very well may be open to some innovative solutions.

I have found that if you focus on RESULTS instead of HOURS, it brings the conversation back to the value that you bring to them. It has to be a win-win. This is a time where talent is hard to find and we have the opportunity to innovate and change the way work fits into our lives! I hope more people will question the status quo. My prediction is that we will look back at this either/or thinking and wonder why we accepted that!

Just wanted to suggest that if you are able to negotiate part-time work that you be sure to get paid on an hourly basis and not a salary. What often happens in this situation is that you may find you’re working “full-time” hours for part-time pay.

Another option is to take something full-time and then transition to part-time later. It’s a bit of a gamble, but I’ve had success transitioning from FT to PT in my last two roles. In both cases I was going through significant life changes (birth of my first child, etc) and I was able to make a case for a flexible part-time schedule. I’m currently working about 20 hours a week and get full benefits. It’s been a really nice balance for our family.

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