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'Part time' work with full-time workload

(27 Posts)
NoisyBrain Sun 05-Mar-17 15:00:50

It's all too common I know, but when I returned from Maternity leave to a 4-day week, I ended up having to do 5 days' worth of work in 4 days.

It's been really tough at times, but things had been looking up towards the end of last year. I had a really capable junior supporting me who took on much of the day to day tasks so I could focus on 'bigger picture' stuff, as my role requires.

Then in January, my junior handed in her notice. She's been gone for one working week now and I'm already drowning. In addition to doing all the work on the busy account she and I shared, since January I'm also managing another junior on two other accounts, plus my boss keeps chucking ad hoc projects at me!

As a company we have always had a culture of overworking people til they get fed up and leave, or have a breakdown. The boss won't 'speculate to accumulate' so will never keep more than the bare minimum of staff members to cover the workload. He's now saying we can't afford to replace my old junior.

In December I was promised that my biggest account would go to another team. After my junior left their line manager promised they would get another team member to share the work, so the changeover was still supposed to go ahead. It's now March and the other team are just too busy to take on my account. With no sign of an extra staff member that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

So, I'm job hunting (for a FT role closer to home, PT work in my field is v rare), and hoping that I don't get pushed to the point of handing in my notice without a job to go to, which wouldn't be the most sensible decision financially.

I guess I'd like to hear from anyone else who has been in this situation. What did you do? Is leaving my only option?

BackforGood Sun 05-Mar-17 15:26:20

I keep putting it back to the manager. "Remembering I work 0.8 of a working week, which of these would you like me to prioritise and which should be left undone?"
Rather than 'having a moan', always try and keep it factual, and emphasise you are more than happy to do 'X' that you are given, but just to be clear that in the 30 hours you work, that means there won't be time to complete 'Y' that you had intended to do this week, so what would they like you to do with that? etc.

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Sun 05-Mar-17 15:26:24

I would be having a conversation with him that the current set up isn't sustainable. You can't be expected to do what you did in five days and more.

I had a job where my boss went off with stress for three weeks. We were already flat out and I was expected to pretty much pick up all of her work. When I broached it with my boss, he just shouted at me to "get on with it!". I left shortly after and ended up as the scapegoat when they failed to meet their deadlines.

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Sun 05-Mar-17 15:27:14

The bigger boss shouted at me.

troodiedoo Sun 05-Mar-17 15:34:32

All you can do is either have a word with your superior or prioritise and do what you can, leave the rest. Takes iron resolve though!

Unfortunately this is all too common and even with HR involved if you'd lucky enough to have one, it never gets much better. You have my sympathy flowers

daisychain01 Sun 05-Mar-17 16:08:28

Can you create a log of all the activities you do for the next 14 days, just high level including approx time taken and include tasks on you list that you don't have time to do.

Try to do this daily for 10 mins at the end of the day to make it manageable.

Then take the data to your manager to show how overworked you are. Get them to make decisions on priorities both for the near term but also guidance on non value adds that don't need doing any more. Highlight wasted time spent that you can't avoid but which shows you are aware of the problems.

I know it sounds tedious, but maybe it's time to hit him with facts and data and be the first to fight back.

NoisyBrain Sun 05-Mar-17 19:53:44

Thanks for all your replies.

I could try a "What do you want me to prioritise?" conversation, though I have a feeling that it may not get me anywhere. The prevailing attitude is that if you're not getting your work done, you need to be more efficient. Our objective for this year is even 'More for less'. What a way to motivate your employees!

Backforgood I work in a creative industry and it's in our contracts that we're required to work overtime 'where necessary'. Last year I spoke to my boss about the fact that at the time I was having to work full time hours in 4 days most weeks for 20% less money and his response was "Everyone here does overtime", in other words "Suck it up".

I've considered asking to go back to FT hours in order to cope with my workload, but then I could see the boss using that as an excuse to give me even more work! The sad fact is that he doesn't give a shit about his staff's mental wellbeing, we're just there to make him money :-(

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Sun 05-Mar-17 21:03:12

Other than getting paid every month, what are you getting from this job exactly?

I'd go back to full time hours then just start looking for another job personally.

ClashCityRocker Sun 05-Mar-17 21:11:11

Yup. I also work in an industry where part time jobs at senior level are rare as rocking horse shit, and the only way to get one is to work for the firm for a while and request flexible working post maternity.

In reality, it means doing the exact same work for a 20-30% pay cut. They'll cut the pay but won't reduce your portfolio, and similar unpaid 'overtime as required' is the norm.

It's shit, and no wonder women have a harder time returning to their careers post-baby. The current legislation allows them to pay lip-service and nothing more.

TreeTop7 Sun 05-Mar-17 22:43:52

I like the PP's idea of "what do you want me to prioritise?" but given that you've explained that it won't work in your case, I'd go back up to full time hours and job hunt in earnest. You'll be under immense pressure at that place whether you're 0.8 or full time, so you might as well be full time and collect the extra money. Maybe save it, so that you have a financial cushion in the event of having no option but to quit before you've found something else.

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Sun 05-Mar-17 23:10:51

Mind you, you could use your fifth day to go for interviews which will be far less stressful than trying to get time off from a full time job. grin

daisychain01 Mon 06-Mar-17 08:25:16

I like your idea yorkshire excellent!

Get the hell out, OP, it sounds like a toxic environment you are better off leaving.

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Mon 06-Mar-17 09:39:17

grin <Takes bow>

lamprey42 Mon 06-Mar-17 09:49:43

Would they let you do compressed hours? Five days over four? Wouldn't help with the workload but at least you'd be being paid for it. I know a lot of people who have tried four days a week part-time and it always seems to end up that they have almost the same work load. Hard to scale back unless it is something you can't do out of office - seeing patients etc.

NoisyBrain Mon 06-Mar-17 21:41:37

yorkshire Lately the money is the only thing I'm getting from the job if I'm honest. Yes, if I'm fortunate enough to be offered an interview for any of the jobs I apply for I'm hoping I can do that on a Friday.

daisy funnily enough toxic was a word I used when talking about the situation with OH.

lamprey there have been many times when I have done 5 days' worth of hours in 4 days, if you take into account early starts, late finishes and shortened lunch breaks. It's just called 'overtime' where I work sad

Really hoping I get an interview...

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Mon 06-Mar-17 22:03:05

I think you've answered your own question.

Best of luck with the applications. Let us know how you get on.

NoisyBrain Sat 18-Mar-17 20:17:42

So, no luck on the job hunt so far.
I applied for one job nearly 2 weeks ago, so I guess they're not interested. The other was about a week ago so not a lost cause yet. I applied for another one yesterday. I've tweaked my LinkedIn profile and my CV to see if that gets results.

It's pretty depressing that someone with my years and range of experience is not even getting to interview stage - can they really be so inundated with amazing candidates that I'm not even worth seeing? Being relatively close to London I'd just assumed that all the 'hot shots' commute into town, leaving less competition happy to work out in the sticks haha.

I discovered I had a chest infection a few days after I last posted on here, which may have been contributing to my low mood. My work situation isn't any better from a practical point of view, but at least I feel less like handing in my notice with no job lined up (for now!)

I've got a 2 week holiday booked in June and reminded the boss last week that currently there is literally nobody with the knowledge to handle my biggest account while I'm away. Watching this space.

daisychain01 Sat 18-Mar-17 21:50:44

Have you tried portals like You can search by area and role title. Also it can be set up for automated emails so you get to see the most current jobs as soon as they are posted on the site

Fingers crossed for you!

SnugglyBedSocks Sat 18-Mar-17 22:05:11

Make sure you email your boss and don't just speak to him. You need a paper trail to cover yourself

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Sun 19-Mar-17 07:58:28

Just keep plugging away with the job applications. Something will come up.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheTimeG0es Sun 19-Mar-17 08:32:19

It happened to me too, boss was completely indifferent to it, as far as she was concerned it was as if I skiving off two days a week and up to me to get the eirk done. Luckily my colleagues were able and willing to pick up anything really urgent that cropped up on my non-work days as there were several of us feeling the heat from the same boss for various reasons and we looked out for each other's backs. I took voluntary redundancy in the end. Do you use LinkedIn? I see a lot of vacancies that would suit me advertised there and get approached by agencies fairly regularly even though my profile does not indicate that I want a new job (I have one I like very much now).

NoisyBrain Sun 19-Mar-17 14:20:27

daisy I'm on pretty much every portal going, several times a week smile I get email alerts from Totaljobs and Indeed.

Snuggly that's a good point about putting my concerns in an email. I'll make sure I copy in our HR lady.

yorkshire thanks for the positive words. I am now trying to work out what the absolute minimum salary would be that I could earn for us to still cover all the bills and have a little disposable left over, so I could broaden the type of part-time jobs I'm looking for. It doesn't help that OH is self-employed and work has dried up for him. He's waiting to hear if he got a job he interviewed for last week.

NoisyBrain Sun 19-Mar-17 14:22:08

WhoKn0ws that kind of attitude sucks doesn't it? I am on LinkedIn quite a bit too now. Keeping my eyes peeled.

SnugglyBedSocks Sun 19-Mar-17 20:44:23

Also bcc it to your private email...just incase you need access to it in the future.

Thing's have a way of "disappearing" ...

NoisyBrain Fri 31-Mar-17 16:00:57

Well, looks like no joy with the job I applied for 2 weeks ago sad I'm waiting for the recruitment agent to call me back, to see if I can get any feedback, because on re-reading the job ad (it's still live) I tick so many of the boxes for what they require (and it's all on my CV). I'm disappointed and mystified by not even getting an interview.

I had a long chat with my boss yesterday about my workload and he has now instructed our HR person to go ahead with recruiting someone to support the team who are supposed to be taking on my biggest account, so I can gradually hand it over. I won't celebrate until it happens mind you!

In the meantime, I've decided to explore options for going freelance. I've signed up for some online courses to boost my knowledge in areas of my industry where I have gaps, and I've got a few friends who might be able to offer some advice so I'm tapping them up one by one.

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