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should I go part time?

(11 Posts)
Parietal Tue 06-Oct-15 23:15:35

I'm a reader in science at an RG uni with a couple of grants, a solid research group and not too much teaching. It should be the ideal position. But I'm not feeling 'driven' in the way I once was, and would like to have more time for me & my children.

So I reckon the pros of part time (80%) are
- more time for me & children. I could go to the gym and fix my garden ...
- less guilt (maybe) at juggling
- maybe a better reason to say no to some aspects of work ...

but the cons are
- less pay (we can just afford that)
- I will probably end up doing the same work as before anyway
- slower career progression

what have others done in this situation? I wish I could create more hours in the day, but failing that, is there a solution that will work?

MedSchoolRat Wed 07-Oct-15 10:19:19

I have no ambition, so probably not much help.

There's only Professor to go to next, right? So what? What's so great about being Proff'd?
Lower pay for same amount of work sucks, though, definitely don't sign up for that!

JeffreysMummyIsCross Wed 07-Oct-15 10:24:30

The thing that would worry me is that academic jobs have a tendency to expand to fill all available hours in the week. I imagine that would continue to be the case in a part-time role. Otherwise I would be considering doing the same myself!

BuffytheFeminist Wed 07-Oct-15 12:39:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NightLark Wed 07-Oct-15 12:47:11

Yes, I'd agree that what you're buying with your 20% of salary is more like flexibility than time off (I work 70% but easily 4 days a week with extra still there, lurking and waiting to be done)

NeverEverAnythingEver Wed 07-Oct-15 20:49:32

I'm on 0.6 contract. I work 3 days a week one term, more than that one term, and less than that another term. grin

What you need to do, though, is practise saying "Yes, you too can be lucky if you take a pay cut" when someone says how lucky you are to go home at 3pm.

goodenoughal Wed 07-Oct-15 20:57:42

I'm a part time prof. On 60% but I'm ruthless about not working on my non-working days. I got promoted just before I had my DD and then went part time and to be honest it's my research that's taken a real hit. But I'm ok with that as my priorities have changed and I'm enjoying the teaching/supervision/student stuff much more than I had been. I'll still fulfil my REF demands, I think, but I won't excel in the way that was before. If I really wanted to keep my research going in a more full on way, I guess I'd be working extra hours. But I'm very happy with the balance I've got now.

murmuration Fri 09-Oct-15 16:28:37

I decided to stick to full time after mat leave due to many stories I'd heard about part-timers basically doing the same work (plus, as I bring in our only salary - and at the time, we were still paying tuition for DH's arts PhD - we really needed the funds). One friend moving onto a 60% was sitting with me complaining about how she was supposed to have X and Y admin cut, but instead they cut only X and gave her Z too, plus added to her teaching. She said, "It appears what I've done is negotiate myself a pay cut." However, she did have the ability to specify she was only working 3 days a week, and they did schedule things around that for her. Another friend faced a problem when moving from 80% to 100%, as she was already doing a full time load, and realised they would expect a quarter again as much work (they had actually tried to get her to cover first year for me when I went on mat leave, with her still at 80% and removing nothing else! Unis really do seem to look at staff effort as a bottomless pit.) The only person I know who is truly doing significantly less is a friend on a 50% contract: she tried to get 40%, but they insisted at least 50%, so she arranged two days coming in and a half-day at home. She says it is closer to a full day at home, but still actually part time, and she counts hours meticulously to stay as close to her 50% as possible.

I was actually talking about this to a female Prof once, and she said she had recently changed to a full time contract after 10 years at 80%, when she realised she was working full time anyway. They did let her do this, and she's now senior enough she says she doesn't feel guilty when she has to go get her kids.

If my health continues to worsen, I may have to consider part time (still really can't afford it, so hope not). But if I do I will definitely be massively counting hours like my friend and simply not do more. I can tell already that what it would impact is research, as that is the stuff you do in your 'spare time', and what is already being impacted by my ability to only manage a bit over full time instead of twice full time like before kids/health problems smile

dimples76 Fri 09-Oct-15 20:45:51

I am going back to uni next month on a 0.8 contract so I don't know how it will work yet. I am sure that at times I will be resentful that I'm still essentially doing FT hours but being paid 20% less but for me it is outweighed by the benefit of having a day carved out of the week to be with my LO. Plus they have agreed I can work from home one day a week which will really help as I have an hour long commute to work.

As others have said I was doing more than FT hours before so I guess either way they win! When my HoD sent through the workload in the summer nothing had been taken off it. I have since managed to shed one of my admin roles.

Wish me luck!

CityDweller Mon 19-Oct-15 19:32:07

I talked to my HoS about doing this after I went back after DC1. He basically told me not to do it - for all the cons you list above (also some bs to do with School budgets). He told me to 'fudge it' so I could look after my daughter one day a week. I did that for a semester, but it was incredibly stressful and I essentially got no research done.

I'm currently on mat leave with DC2 and am wondering about going back on 0.6 for the first semester, then 0.8 second semester and then full time again after that first year. We'll see. Thing is, I know what ends up getting compromised on a pt xo contract - research. As they just pile on the teaching and admin seemingly regardless of what people's contracts are.

NeverEverAnythingEver Tue 20-Oct-15 07:41:02

I think I must work for an extremely nice department. They didn't pile teaching on me - just the pro-rata amount, and admin was also a fair amount, and I got enough research done. And I get to work from home a fair bit - though that applies to everyone as long as you didn't have lectures or meetings. (Of course the pay is decreased accordingly ...)

But research is hard when you have less time. There is no substitute for long stretches of time ...

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