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Being given no choice but to return to full time hours.....

(19 Posts)
alabasterangel Tue 04-Nov-14 14:50:45

I think I need to write this down, vent a little and ask for some support from you all....

I've worked for over 20 years in a specialised role in a tiny regional office in a massive private company. 18 months ago I dropped from 37.5 hours to 22, as I was unhappy juggling two small children, a full time role and a husband who works away mon- fri. Financially we could manage, and the company reluctantly consented. They openly told me they were worried they would loose me altogether if they didn't agree, but they weren't happy about it.

This is working brilliantly for me, in fact, I even get to spend one of my working days at home if I want. I love it, we all do. Home/work balance is pretty perfect.

Then there was a re-org. A HUGE one. My role was centralised to a main office, we went through union action, and I was placed at risk of redundancy because I could not commute due to childcare constraints. My director spoke to me privately and said he was 'devastated' I would have to go. I was also devastated as my redundancy payment was pro-rated to my brand new part time salary -I..e halved. Anyway, he offered that I could stay in a temporary seconded position to complete a certain project for him, which would buy me more time, so of course I agreed. He said that he would do everything he could to recommend me for a permanent position within the company during that time, which he has. My secondment is now coming to an end, and I have an interview for a full time position next week which they have created specifically for me. I should be happy and grateful but I just feel stressed by the whole thing.

Geographically it's okay, but its full time, and will involve some travel. I know lots of people work full time but I don't really have to; financially we are okay with me part time. I can't take the redundancy money and look for another role as it is extremely specialised and I would have to commute at least 1.5 hours to a main city which I just can't do with no local family support and childcare constraints, nor do I want to do that (I had a near death car accident a few year ago too). Plus again, any new role would probably be full time. Plus I am very lucky because my current part time salary is about the same as a lesser full time role locally would be with another company.

All along my director has said any new role would be full time, that he's been trying to get me back full time, etc etc. I just don't want to do it.

I don't know what to do here. Whilst I know they think highly of me, I am disposable like anyone else. Do I say something in the 'interview'? The role they have opened for me is considered to be a 'golden role' in the company, much desired, and I do think its possible to do the role part time.

At the very limit of what I would compromise would be to do the role but on two or three days a week work flexibly so that I start earlier and finish earlier, so at least I get a couple of days when I'm not so late back and able to be with the kids soon after school. How do I bring that up in an interview? I feel so ungrateful to be being offered this chance, but I don't feel happy about it at all.

I suppose I just need some thoughts and advice. It's really starting to make me anxious.

MillionPramMiles Tue 04-Nov-14 16:14:29

By all means ask for the arrangements that will enable you to perform the job (what have you got to lose?) but be prepared for your requests to be turned down.

I've generally only seen part time/home working requests agreed where there's a scarcity of people qualified for the role in the market or where an individual brings long term knowledge to the role that would be difficult for others to acquire. One or both might apply to you?

It can be really tough to juggle it all, esp if your partner is away. Don't be pressured to commit to full time working if your circumstances would make it too difficult.

DPotter Tue 04-Nov-14 16:22:05

This is a tricky one.
Is there any potential in a job share arrangement ? Trying to think outside the box here.
Alternatively if full time is the only option and you don't want to go down that route, how transferable are your skills ? It's a rare job that has nothing which can't be transferred into another sector. Maybe the company would pay for you to see someone who could talk you through your options ?
I agree don't agree to full time working if it doesn't suit you and your family - that way stress lies

alabasterangel Tue 04-Nov-14 16:44:26

We can't survive on my husbands wages alone, so I kind of feel like if I ask and they say no, then I'll have to suck it up sadly, and everything in me is really unhappy about this situation. We can manage if i am part time, just, but we both agree me having time with and for the children is a suitable happy middle.

It is pretty specialised. The only aspect of which would be transferable would be the admin side (so I can rustle up presentations, handle myself IT wise, type like a demon and project manage fairly effectively) but otherwise it is a very specialised role. So much so that I can't even say which sector on here. Plus as I say if I got an admin job here locally it probably wouldn't be part time (so rare it seems) and I would have to work full time hours to equate to my part time current salary anyway.

There are other jobs in the industry, but they are commuting, tied to your desk all day type roles. I already relocated here for work 10 years ago, because as I say I had a horrible accident and didn't want to drive hours every day any more.

I feel like they have me over a barrel to be honest. They know I can't just jack, I can't really afford to, but at the same time they know they have me cornered.

I'm trying not to be black and white about it. I'm open to upping my hours to 30, doing that as 4 full days or 5 short days, or working 37.5 but doing a couple of those as 'early' days and as I have demonstrated for the last 20 years I always answer my phone out of hours anyway and can log in remotely. On the two days I don't work at the moment there has never been a complaint that I'm not contactable and I am able to help remotely (and over and above what I am paid and required to do) because I appreciate the balance I have.

I just feel guilty wading into an interview with all that.... I'm conscious this is as they say a 'golden' job and I'm nit-picking about what I can and can't do. I don't know how to word it in the interview and at the same time I can't not say it....and so much rests on it for me and it feels so important that I want to say it in the best and most convincing way and not fluff....

alabasterangel Tue 04-Nov-14 16:47:07

Is there any hope in having the conversation, trying it for a few months, then asking again saying I've tried and it isn't working?

Also, being that my other option is redundancy, is it usual or can I ask for a 'trial' period to be factored in so that I can still take my redundancy if during that trial period I really feel like it isn't working?

Stevie77 Tue 04-Nov-14 17:08:55

Do you think there is scope to negotiate working from home a couple of days a week? It would mean you could do the school run and be at home after school.

Probably best not to raise all these issues\alternarives as part of the interview but wait until you're offered the job.

alabasterangel Tue 04-Nov-14 17:21:08

I've loved working from home, but unfortunately a large part of this new role will be 'out and about'. I can ask about it, but notoriously the company hates it generally. I guess that's why I'm so fed up right now - my secondment manager really doesn't give a chuff. I can work when I want and from where I want, as long as it's getting done. Unfortunately he can't employ me permanently, and the secondment is all but done. It's been a brilliant 6 months sad

Its one of these companies which is all 'fun fun fun, we're wacky we are' - we all wear jeans and sit on beanbags, but the reality is no one is really trusted and you have to ask permission to go to the loo (not literally, but you get what I mean). Let's just say my very head honcho is a very very famous man (household name) who is known for his forward thinking, casual, fun approach. The reality is that ground level managers are control freaks building empires and climbing ladders.

alabasterangel Tue 04-Nov-14 17:24:10

I WILL be offered the job, BTW, the opening has been created for me but for formality sake I have to have an interview. It hasn't been advertised and technically they are transferring me into the role, but the interview is to make me the formal offer and to discuss anything which needs discussion (like this I guess...)

Rockchick1984 Wed 05-Nov-14 00:10:07

Could you agree full time hours but worked flexibly? That way you could do a couple of early starts, short lunch breaks, so you can finish earlier a couple of days?

caroldecker Wed 05-Nov-14 00:31:35

They are bending over backwards to keep you, so there is a solution. Work out what the minimum you need and keeps you where you want to be (hours, working from home, flexibility) and discuss in the interview.
What are your redlines if you have to have some income?

alabasterangel Wed 05-Nov-14 08:14:39

Thank you all.
The furthest I would be genuinely pushed towards their ideal would be to of their 37.5 hours but do 2 or 3 days with an early start and finish at 3, meaning dc don't have to go to after school club all 5 days. I could be flexible with which days according to work requirements for that week (my after school care is very flexible, thankfully). Best case I'd like to stay doing three days a week. Somewhere in the middle would be 4 days spread over 5 or just 4 days. Rock chick that's what I'd like , but I just don't know how to ask and secure it, it makes the difference between accepting the role and not....

bbcessex Wed 05-Nov-14 19:34:17

Hi there.. it sounds like you've got yourself tied up in knots over this, when if you stepped back, or thought about it as if you were advising a friend, you'd probably easily see the right approach. The ball really is in your court. You're creating monsters in your own mind and getting het up.

The way I see it, as a bystander, is that you are clearly highly thought of, your skills are desirable and someone somewhere wants to keep you.

My advice is to go to the interview as though you really want the job. Sell yourself etc , behave in whatever way is appropriate in an internal interview where the role suited you 100% and you were desperate for it.

Don't got into the meeting with 'the elephant in the room' firmly in your mind. Reinforce to them why they want YOU and no one else would.

At the end of the meeting, when they are delighted they've got someone as great as you, bring up the requirement for flexible working. Explain to them that traditional full time hours just isn't possible right now in your circumstances, as much as you wish they were. You've tossed and turned and researched every possible option; the most suitable solution for you would be to work 4 days a week, but at a push, you could do 5 days if the hours were short. Etc. etc. (or scale this - most suitable is 3 days, at a push could do 4, with holiday cover etc).

My experience is that you stand more chance of getting the hours you want, if your Company feel that it's the very best you can do and not just a lifestyle-choice. Make sure they believe you are committed to the same ideal as them, but you just can't make it work (right now)..

The art of negotiating is making every party feel like a winner...
If you 'come in' with your best case, and then, because it's such a great job, can meet them in the middle with your 'at a push' scenario, they at least they have 'won' in some way.


bbcessex Wed 05-Nov-14 19:36:09

not 'no one else would' - no one else will do! (very different meaning there!)

alabasterangel Wed 05-Nov-14 23:10:03

Thank you bbc you are absolutely right in your summary of how I feel.

I've started to make some notes now....writing it all down makes sense. I'm sitting with them next week so I'll report back on what happens (fingers crossed!)

bbcessex Thu 06-Nov-14 14:31:26

I will keep an eye out for your post alabasterangel.. It's actually really exciting that your firm are doing this for you - they must value you :-)

For what it's worth - with the hyper-anxiety and fixating on the issue thing - most working mums have been where you are at some point; In 15 years of childcare I've had the 'work moving location/changing hours issues' / nanny leaving / child minder giving notice etc. Because you love and worry about your kids so much, each event has felt like an insurmountable disaster at the time, but they have all, without fail, worked out and been long forgotten.

alabasterangel Thu 06-Nov-14 21:31:43

I'm back and I'm very very happy grin

Completely out of the blue I've had a call from another division, saying they want me. Once I'd picked myself up and listened, they said the seconded role I've been doing is 'flagship' in all ways, and they want to give me a permanent role, and clone me with 7 others the same nationally....because I've done such a massively wonderful job blush

I can choose to work from home, work part time, work how I want within corporate practicalities. They actually said (I keep repeating this to myself) 'we'll do whatever it takes to keep you if it means creating a good balance at home'.......!!!! I get to help create the new role, give it a title, develop it and take credit for it. 20 years of loyalty was worth it after all!! I'm thinking given I can work from home too, I'm going to suggest 4 days with optional OT on the 5th day and the ability to have a home contract.

Feels a bit fairy-tale TBH. If I could have cherry picked the role and the conditions a few days ago this would have been it. The person I am going to work for has a reputation for being a cow, but I'm being totally transparent and as long as I don't have to fake where I am or how I'm working (which is where my anxiety lies) then I'll give them 100% and that's all I can hope for. I've been honest about wanting home working flexibility and allowed to manage my own work. She just kept saying 'yes, yes, yes'........

I am aghast right now, home alone with DC tonight and finding it hard to wind down from it all, but smiling from ear to ear.....

alabasterangel Thu 06-Nov-14 21:34:08

Keep pinching myself. Just went to wash dishes and again am saying 'did that really happen....??' Oh yes it did !!!! grin

bbcessex Thu 06-Nov-14 22:41:52

Woo hoooooo... Bloody brilliant.. absolutely fantastic!!! That is such great news, well done! Ha... Start cloning... :-) delighted for you x

starlight1234 Thu 06-Nov-14 22:50:07

Fantastic. Really happy for you

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