You’re a bit young to be part-time aren’t you?
“You’re a bit young to be part-time aren’t you?”
“What are you going to be doing if you’re not working?”
“How did you get your job to let you do part-time?”
“Oh, I couldn’t do that”
“You’re so lucky”
These are only some of the questions and statements I’ve heard when people find out that I’m under 30 and working part-time (should I add that I don't have children, because I got asked that once *eye roll* - why are we still associating part-time with parenting?!).
It’s interesting that I even got these responses, I didn’t think it really mattered that I was working part-time because it was my choice and hooray my boss was cool with it! Turns out, people definitely have an opinion about it. I often can’t tell if it’s genuine interest to why I’m part-time or that they wish they were working part-time?? Anyway....
When I finished my one year contract last February and went travelling for a couple of months, I decided that I didn’t want to work full-time anymore. I have been talking for years about starting a few little side projects, but never had the time to do it between working, training, socialising, sleeping, and relaxing and I thought going part-time to at least four days a week would give me a little bit of extra space to start progressing with some of my goals/dreams.
After I got back from travelling I took a full-time contract to get back into the workforce and told myself I’d do part-time for my next contract, but it didn’t sit right, the role wasn’t right for me. As the universe always does, a connection of mine was leaving a cool company to take Chief People Officer at a semi start-up and I was so intrigued to why, so I invited her for coffee. As we were talking about what she was going to do at this new company, it was right up my alley, what I could learn from it would round out my career experience and get me on track to closing off some of the gaps I still had.
I told her if she needed an awesome doer to help her get everything set up to reach out and we’ll make it happen. A week later I got asked the question “what will it take to bring you over”(um, best line ever! never thought I would hear it). I thought about it, I really wanted part-time, but I can’t ask for that can I? Can I ask for the salary that will make it work being part-time? What if she says no? Then what do I do? Kyle’s response “If you don’t ask, you won’t get it and if she says no, then you can talk about alternatives” (he's so smart).
I asked for exactly what I wanted and explained why I wanted it and guess what her response was? “That’s awesome! Let’s do it!” Pene, did I capture you right there? ;)
After a few weeks into the contract I temporarily went full-time to get through a mass amount of work (which was great!) and last week I went back to part-time and I’m so excited about the extra time to work on my own stuff.
No, I’m not too young to be part-time to set that point straight! There is no minimum age to being part-time (not that I’m aware of anyway).It’s a choice I've made regardless of my age. Do 30 somethings get asked this?? You may be thinking this is a millennial thing, but I don't see it that way. What I value is more free time to do other things vs working full-time and climbing the ladder.
I want to start my own business and I want more available time to do it in, other than squeezing it into my evenings or on my weekend days. I already pack so much into my day (a day that starts at 5am) that I would struggle to find more time to work on these things when I'm not tired as heck!
In my view, what I’ve done is a choice and something I’ve asked for. I worked with Pene to ensure that it worked from an outcomes perspective and it was doable (note - not hours at a desk perspective). There are so many roles that can be done in less time during the week, if we are open to thinking creatively. Can I get an amen to Perpetual Guardian for trialing the 4 day work week for 5 days pay?! They are only working 32 hours a week, not 40 hours in four days (Pene, how about it? ;) ). It's important to keep your days off as your days. Of course there will be times where might need to do work, but ensure that your colleagues and boss respect your part-time hours so you are most effective (thankfully mine very much is!).
How do I make this work, you might ask?
I realise I don't have a mortgage or children which could make a choice like this harder (but not impossible), but you'll be surprised by how many people in the same situation and on a good income may not afford to do this. I live a very intentional life and within my means to make this a feasible choice for me, but the important aspect to note is I made the choice and I live a life that allows me to do it.
I’m not lucky. I could work more and make more money, but that's not what's most important to me. I also have an awesome boss that sees the value in me pursuing my personal endeavours and trusts that I can deliver great work in four days, instead of five. I finally understand the mantra 'when you surround yourself with people who will support you (a great boss) and in environments that encourage growth (a job with flexibility) you will feel empowered to push for success' (not word for word, but same same).
If you're thinking you might want more freedom and flexibility in your life or around your work, start by looking at what you can adapt in your life or how you can wiggle things around to make it a possibility (even if just a little bit!). I am more than happy to work with you on tips and tricks to getting started, you can contact me through the contact page!
If you want it, go get it. Evaluate, plan, execute. Make it happen and see how much more you can do with your life!