Switching From Full to Part time


I am an administrative assistant for a very small non-profit…my workload is enormous! My boss relies heavily on me, and I get wonderful performance reviews. I will be 66 next year, and would like to retire and “smell the roses.” However, to pay for medical insurance, I would like to work part time–say three days a week. I know my boss would offer me part time, rather than lose my expertise. How can I make the switch without being expected to do five days’ work in three? If she hires someone for the two days I will not be working, how do I avoid cleaning up this other person’s work and making her/him look good? How do I determine what kind of salary to ask for? So many questions!!! Thanks!


Wanting To Slow Down A Bit


Dear Wanting To Slow Down A Bit:

It sounds as though you have a good relationship with your boss, and are an invaluable assistance for keeping things going. Usually the best way to work through issues such as yours, in a setting like that, is to be open and honest with your boss about what you want and don’t want from the change–in a way, of course, that doesn’t appear that you are demanding more than is reasonable.

In any negotiations, the one who has the most to offer has the most power–but that is not always clear cut in cases like this. You want three days of salary, and your boss can make that happen. BUT, your boss needs all you offer in the way of experience and skill, and THAT is much more valuable than money.

Consider this: Write a letter and say at the beginning that you would usually talk to her face to face, but you wanted to have something in writing for her to think about before that. Then, say exactly what you are hoping to achieve starting such and such a date. Say what you want to be able to do, both to help. and to allow you to reduce work to three days. Then, you might suggest the things you don’t think can be done in those three days and what would have to be transfered to someone else.

That is the difficult part. You don’t want to keep the fun things, leaving on the drudge things. But, your boss will want to know that a full five days of work is being done by someone.

You might want to also do some research ahead of time to find out how much of a financial, scheduling and job-sharing burden this will be for your employer.

You might also want to consider how this transitioning would take place and what you could do to help. In short–you probably will benefit by providing your boss with a plan of action she can implement, that will help both of you achieve your goals.

I do, however, think directly expressing your concerns is appropriate. the drawbacks you mention are very real. But the benefit you would gain from being able to reduce work somewhat would be very nice!

If there is another non-profit similar to yours, you might want to contact them to see if they use part-time work, and how that has worked for them, as a way to reinforce the value and the lack of problems.

Always keep your employer’s perspective in mind. Make a list of the immediate objections, so you will at least have some speaking points right away.

The bottom line apparently is that you are going to retire. So, she just has to decide (not so easy) whether to replace you and move on, or find a way to make the job an equitable two-person job, for which someone else is willing to work only two days per week. If you can show her how that could happen without a lot of hassle, you can get your wish for some rose smelling, AND some money to help pay bills.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.