The Unknown Road

So I finally started down an unknown road at work, figuratively speaking.  During my mid-year performance review with my boss I planted an idea with respect to my career goals.  I actually wrote on the form for near term goal (1 to 3 years): retirement or reduced hours to approximately 50%.  Then I submitted it to my boss to see if any fireworks ensued.

Oddly enough, the entire conversation was oddly civil and straight forward.  From my boss’s point of view he wants to keep me around as long as possible, so if we need to look into options to make that happen he is at least willing to explore them and ask how it could potentially work.  If we can find a compromise that works for both of us, why not look into it.

I made it clear I don’t expect changes immediately (after all I’m still working on building my savings), but I would like to know what options may exist.  Currently we are exploring a few different ways to make something like this happen including:

  1. Cut back to half time.  This would be using the same policy that let me drop down to 90% currently.  The issue here is figuring out how picks up some of the work that I’m no longer doing.
  2. Cut back time and reuse the budget to pick up another employee.  This one is a bit trickier to pull off and requires some help from HR on what is possible and what isn’t.  The idea would be to free up enough budget from my current position to allow another person to come on board and pick up the remaining work.  In effect splitting the budget from my job into two.
  3. Shift to a contractor role.  I had thought of this idea myself a while back but somewhat discounted the idea as the work involved to setup and obtain clients while still working.  This way would be easier as I would start with one client right off the bat, which would make the shift easier.  The downside of course if contractor budgets are often the first things to get squeezed out during budget cut backs.  So my income would be more unstable and there is a risk of me being hung out to dry.

Of course I’m not sure where this is going to end up, but I figured that it would be worth the time to at least explore semi-retirement with my current workplace.  Oddly enough I sort of discounted this idea in the first place as I thought they would shoot it down at once, but the reaction has been more hopeful than I would have guessed.

Anyways, worse case scenario it doesn’t come to anything, I finish my savings and just leave in about two more years.  Best case would be dropping down to 50% by next year and staying in semi-retirement mode for a three or more years until I get enough savings to leave entirely or just get sick of the entire thing and pull the plug.

Has anyone else had much like convincing their employer to allow you to go part time?  Any tips or ideas?

5 thoughts on “The Unknown Road”

  1. @Tim kudos on the planning cycle

    Having spent over 90% of my working career as a contractor (and it suited me perfectly) you should investigate the tax implications before following this path, particularly when transitioning from employee status. CRA can deem you to be an employee even though you think you are a independent contractor in particular if you have a long term relationship (contract) with a single client. There are tax implications for both contractor and contractor giver.

  2. No, never convinced an employer to go part time. However, if they value you and it sounds like they do, I would think they would let you go PT especially if you have a set of skills that are hard to replace.

    In my case, I just got laid off of my job due our department being shut down. Fortunately I have a paid off 300k house and 700k invested. No debt. I was only in this job for 3 years and got a small termination package that will last us until October or so. After that I could collect EI. However, I was just offered another job for 7k less. I am not sure if I should accept the offer, or just go to fun PT work, or just frugally retire all together. I have a SAHW and 3 kids.


    Great blog btw.

  3. @Robert – If you are spending about 28K or less a year…do the full retirement. Otherwise, consider some fun part time work. I notice early retirees often complain after the fact they wish they did it sooner rather than later. Good luck.

  4. Twice I asked for and was granted a reduction of weekly hours worked. After 16 years of working full-time, I was able to reduce my weekly hours worked from 37.5 to 20 back in 2001. The deal also included a telecommuting deal where I could work most of those hours from home. In 2003, the telecommute deal got yanked but I continued working part-time. In 2007 I asked for and was granted a reduction of my weekly hours worked from 20 to 12 but that didn’t last long because I soon realized that 12 hours was too much. So I retired in 2008.

    Because my expenses were so low, these reductions did not change my budget much. I was saving less but that’s all. I surely liked lessening the awful commute and having more free time and flexibility to do what I want.

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