Well I’ve finally out of my manager job and back to working in my old engineer job. It feels good to be back, but even better yet I’ve negotiated to be reduced down to 90% time starting in July. Ya! Less money but way more time off! You might consider myself a bit nuts to want this, but in fact if I have my way I would never go back to full time work again.
Why? Well have you ever noticed that your vacation after two weeks never seems long enough. That somehow you feel you should be more rested by the end, but you are not. Or the fact your typical weekend after errands and a few activities are gone before you know it. You seem to blink and you are back in the office on Monday. Why? Because our average work week is really too long. So we end up in an odd situation where we end up valuing convenience over the money we just earned. We are willing to pay dearly for an perceived time savings (at least that is my theory since I can’t understand why people spend so much money on eating out).
Since I’ve spent most of this year already with taking off every second Friday afternoon I’ve managed to notice a huge benefit to my life of being able to spend more time doing what I want (spending time with my family or friends, going for a walk or just simply reading a book). How with just half an extra day? Well because I can get so much done on those Friday afternoons that I can actually sit back and enjoy the rest of my weekend. And taking those afternoons was equal to only 5% of my pay. Now imagine what I could do by taking every single Friday afternoon or a full day every other week (which is actually what I’m planning on doing).
Life just get much easy with just a bit more time off, but even getting this approved was a little like pulling teeth (ironically not because of my boss, but rather my boss’s boss). Why? They oddly assume that you being gone is somehow critically reduce the organization output when in fact, I typically only take off one minor item from my work plan in a year. I even had to put in a six month trial period to put their minds at ease about the entire issue.
The policy I used to get this apparently is almost exclusively used by new mom’s who want extra time for their kids. So when I wanted to use it they pointed out how unusual it was for me to get it. My point back was ok, but how many of your employees are councilors on their Engineering Association? The answer: one (out of approximately 3000). Just me. Heck even the last time I used this policy I was a school board trustee, which again was very unusual. I don’t have the normal commitments so yes, I need the extra time off. Yet the reality is the idea you need some highly unusual second job to get more time off is really sad.
I know a number of people who are getting near retirement who would love to reduce hours and stay around a little longer, but most companies seem unwilling to attempt this. Despite depending on how much people cut back you could literally pay the full salary of a junior staff with the savings from the reduced hours of the senior staff member. Also I’ve noticed people tend to grossly underestimate the impact of engagement on getting stuff done. When I’m happy at work I get more done, I’m less tempted to surf the web or otherwise waste time. God they have study that to death and it’s disturbing how little people get done in a day in the office anyway (hint just under three hours of actual work).
Besides I’ve worked out the impact of this change to my retirement plan and it comes out to a few months in total. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather make the next five years a lot more enjoyable by working a few month extra at the end of my plan.
So would you ever work part time? Or is your workplace likely to never approve it?