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To feel out of control now that I am working part time?

21 replies

Possiblyneurotic · 26/06/2015 08:22

I have come back to work part time after maternity leave. I now work four days per week, fixed hours (but of course end up doing a bit in the evenings/at weekends). I hate that I don't feel in control of things any longer. I gahahave always been quite a detail-focused person and over the last few months things have been so busy that I feel I'm rushing through everything without giving it enough attention to do a good job and have nearly made some howlers (although have noticed and rescused them at the last minute, thank God). Is this normal in this situation? Does everyone feel as though they are scraping through by the skin of their teeth when trying to do 6 days' worth of work in 4 days? I feel (that old classic) that I'm doing a bad job in all areas of life at the moment. Please share your experiences - I'd be really grateful!

OP posts:

Possiblyneurotic · 26/06/2015 08:23

"Gahahave"? I rest my case.

OP posts:

tobysmum77 · 26/06/2015 08:27

I think that you need to change your attitude to work. You work 4 days a week it is up to your manager to manage that. So many people feel lucky to work pt when in fact in most cases 4 days a week is a good deal for employers as they in reality get more than 0.8 value out of you.

I work 4 days a week and I don't work evenings and weekends. If I was doing that I would work 5 days instead and have the rest of my salary.


antimatter · 26/06/2015 08:35

Did you say 6 days of work in 4 days? How many hours wa it before and how many are you doing now?

I've read on here before others complaining about this attitude of managers wher in fact load of work doesn't drop when you drop the hours. Time to have "the talk" perhaps?


sanfairyanne · 26/06/2015 08:56

sounds like compressed hours - full time squashed into part time days


PaigeMahoney · 26/06/2015 09:01

I do the same hours and feel exactly the same. I've been doing 4 days a week for 2 years and the only way I've been able to deal with it is to try not to care so much.....which doesn't really work! And yes to the 6 days in 4. I'm wondering what your job is and if it's the same as mine.


NRomanoff · 26/06/2015 09:11

Unless you took the piss and didn't do that much on your six days, then trying to fit that into 4 days is impossible. You don't sound like the type of person that would do that, so you just can't do it.

If you are now working less hours, your work load needs to be reduced to match your hours. You need to have a full and frank meeting with your manager. You can't do the impossible and mistakes will happen if you keep trying. You are doing your best, but you need some work removing from your load.


ThreeLeggedHaggis · 26/06/2015 09:15

You're trying to fit a full time job into four days a week, of course you're "failing"! Did you discuss which tasks you would drop when you dropped a day? If not, time to have that talk now.


LindyHemming · 26/06/2015 09:18

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MiddleAgedandConfused · 26/06/2015 09:19

You get used to the feeling over time and get better at prioritising. You will never be able to work 4 days a week and still keep perfect control over everything else at home. It will be a muddle, with compromises at home and at work.
For me, that's not a problem as I have never really felt it necessary to be a perfect mother or housewife. Grin Though I do like to be perfect at work.... but not sure my family would thank me for that admission!


icklekid · 26/06/2015 09:23

Also a teacher and deliberately pushed for 3 days as knew if I said 4 I would end up in your situation. I've already had to have conversations about a change in September as what they are asking me to do is just not possible in 3 days- I think they are hoping I will increase my hours but I really don't want to. I've requested for one part of my responsibilities to be passed on to someone else because I would rather say now than start drowning and doing a poor job. You need to be honest about whats realistic


HemanOrSheRa · 26/06/2015 09:24

I completely agree with tobysmum. I work 20 hours a week and have done for 8 years. I was the first person in a large team to do this after a massive restructure (at my request for work/life balance). It took a long time for me to adjust to the reductions in hours and therefore not being able to do as much as my full time colleagues. I was kind of trying to 'keep up' with them for a while and it stressed and exhausted me. And of course, while I was doing this my Manager/Supervisor didn't give it a thought as they were getting bloody good value out of me!

Eventually I realised that I couldn't carry on and DP pointed out that the more I did the more I would be expected to do. So I requested my workload be looked at and reduced in proportion to my full time colleagues. Judging by my managers reaction, I really don't think they'd given it a thought! As soon as they had their 'lightbulb' moment they acted quickly to sort things out.

I still have to point out that I am part time occasionally. My colleagues work shifts which gives them the opportunity to do the PILES of admin we have do to during quiet early mornings/evenings. I work smack bang in the middle of the day when we are at our busiest. But on the whole it works extremely well.

I have had to toughen up though and say No to things that will add to my workload. Or ask my supervisor to make allowances for my reduced hours if they need me to do something else.


sparklewater · 26/06/2015 09:25

It takes time to adjust to the part - time mentality if you're used to doing extra on top of full hours. It took me ages to get used to it - a good two years of constant stress, working at midnight, etc. Gradually I realised it wasn't healthy and started delegating more and not agreeing to do everything I was asked to / taking on more work just as a matter of course.

For one week, just do your contracted hours. See how much calmer you feel! At the end of that week, what still needs doing? That's what needs delegating / outsourcing.

It's also about educating people around you - don't be afraid to say 'if I come to that last-minute meeting I won't have time to finish the report. Which would you rather I do?' Once there is no expectation that you'll work all hours you can always pick it up again :)


Athenaviolet · 26/06/2015 09:29

Unless your workload has reduced by 20% your employer is exploiting you.


caffiene99 · 26/06/2015 09:35

This is exactly why I decided to come back to work full time (5 days per week). I liked the idea of working maybe only 4 days a week but I suspected that I would end up being expected to do the same amount of work but for less pay.

Are you being paid for all of your evening work? If you are working AND being paid part time (as opposed to working a condensed week) then you definitely need to have a conversation with your managers about adjusting your work load.


DJThreeDog · 26/06/2015 10:21

You are either part time or you are full time working the same hours over fewer days.

If you are working fewer hours but taking stuff home you need to communicate with your boss and let them know you have too much.

YABU to not talk to anybody about the additional work you are doing and instead just doing it in your own time.


muminhants1 · 26/06/2015 10:30

When I went back to work after I had my ds, I worked 4 days a week. And I really did work 4 days a week. I occasionally swapped my days around, but I didn't work on my day off, or weekends, or evenings. I was quite surprised that it worked.

If your job requires attention to detail, then you can't rush things and you need to have a chat with your boss as others have said above.

I worked full-time for a few years, and now I work 4 days a week spread over 5, from home. And what happens? I leave my computer on all day and I answer emails all day if I am around! BUT, the point is, I am only contracted for so many hours in the day, so if I WANT to go out and do other things, I can. I could say I'd work FT, my boss would be delighted, but then I wouldn't have that freedom. So I'd rather take the hit on salary, do a bit more than my contracted hours, and be able to go shopping, help ds with homework, go out for a run when I am not working.


juneau · 26/06/2015 10:33

It sounds like you need to talk to your manager about your workload. If you're supposedly working four days a week (and presumably being PAID for only four days a week), why the hell are you doing so much overtime and actually doing six days' worth of work? This isn't fair. No wonder you're struggling and feeling overwhelmed.


Possiblyneurotic · 26/06/2015 11:25

Thanks for the responses. I completely agree, but unfortunately I work for a small organisation and I am the only person doing my job - a reduction in my workload would mean that everything moved more slowly as my colleagues do different jobs from me. It took a bit of a fight to persuade them to let me go part time so if I show any weakness, I will be forced back up to five days so quickly my feet will barely touch the ground. It was more that I was wondering whether everyone is actually juggling these competing forces and whether it ever starts to feel a bit easier?

OP posts:

nottheOP · 26/06/2015 11:34

It does start to feel easier.

I went back to work doing compressed hours, so 85% fte. My workload wasn't reduced at all so I've just got used to it. I always have a bit of a back-log of work but I'm not going to do unpaid overtime, my time at home is too precious.

I think the kids become easier too. DS was 6 months old when I went back, he wasn't sleeping through and was always needing to be watched. Now he can be left alone for 10 minutes without screaming the house down.

I reckon it took the best part of a year to feel like I wasn't failing at everything though.


tobysmum77 · 26/06/2015 14:34

In that case op I would renegotiate full time but with flexible hours. That way you are at least getting paid for the work. Right now it is your employers who are taking the piss while making you feel like they are doing you a favour. Don't let them get away with it.


DJThreeDog · 28/06/2015 11:28

Possibly - it sounds like you're probably doing five days work anyway. If you're picking stuff up out of hours, you are essentially doing the same work but not getting paid for it?

You need to either renegotiate hours or confirm what you need to do. There is no point you being part time if what it actually means is you pick stuff up and complete it on your own time without pay.

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