Did it really have to be like this, was there no other way?
Unfortunately my four months of hard work trying desperately to win the lottery had not succeeded!
Luckily for me, my wife was on hand with a useful suggestion. “Why not ask them if you can go back part time?” she suggested. Huh? I thought. That would be a double shock for them. First my paternity leave, then this… Would they think I had lost the plot as well as any career ambition?
What was more important? Keeping my boss or my family happy? Did it, in fact, have to be an either/or question, or could I find a good balance where we’d all be happy?
Work is important, of course, we need to work to live, but my kids, and my own happiness and wellbeing, were also important. What’s the point of killing myself at work if my family life suffers? Life’s about happiness after all, isn’t it?
So off I went again, to meet with the boss, to request flexible working. (I wondered if he might soon start declining my meeting requests!)
After explaining to him that I was still very much committed to my role, and a bit of negotiating (I’d still be in the same role doing the same work, but if necessary I’d come in early to make sure everything was covered), he finally agreed that I could have a half day off per week to continue to spend some quality time with the kids, on a six-month trial basis. With reduced pay (and therefore pension) and holidays, of course.
As far as I was concerned, the trial was a formality and I WOULD make this work!
Well, it does work! I really enjoy having every Wedesday afternoon off. I usually pick my son up from school at 2pm (luckily for me, his school finishes early on Wednesdays) and he decides what we go and do together. The “we” often also includes his two-year old sister.
Win win win. It’s a win for me – a half day off per week is more than I had before. It’s a win for my employer – I’m still doing the same role, but with a 10% pay cut! And it’s a win for my kids, who get to see me every Wednesday afternoon.
My boss, as if in passing, has wondered if I fancy coming back full time. I have, as if in passing, politely declined!
Do I resent being officially a “part-timer”? Nope! It’s fantastic!
N.B. This blog first appeared here: http://www.cityparents.co.uk/Blog/Cityfathers/151.htm on 2 September 2014