It’s scary to put yourself out there and ask for what you want. There is one pivotal time in my career that I asked for what I wanted and got it. Good thing I did because going part time completely changed the direction of my career and life.
I asked/convinced my boss and my client I should go part time.
My husband and I had recently paid off a lot of debt and I was struggling personally after my second miscarriage. These two events caused me to question everything about my life and future career path. I realized that without debt controlling my life, I could make career decisions that truly made me happy.
I wanted to explore entrepreneurial work assignments and give myself an opportunity to open up my creative side and apply myself in other places. I wanted to devote more time to write my blog, ClassyCareerGirl.com, write a book, and speak to professional women around the country but I knew I couldn’t do it all while working full time. So I presented a proposal to my boss where I could go part time and it would actually be beneficial for the team. And she said yes.
But here was the trick part. It didn’t really matter what my boss said. I had to convince my client as well.
I had to present my part time request to my client, which was a little tougher. I was very nervous and worried, but I knew I had nothing to lose. So I prepared the benefits for her and me that she could clearly see and she said yes as well!
There were 4 key things that I did that made my arrangement an immediate yes.
Before I talked to anyone, I had a very clear plan of why this made sense. I created a PowerPoint deck that shows the pros and cons and how I was going to handle the cons. I thought long and hard about this and I was very committed to making this happen. I really do think that my desire for it was very evident during the conversation. They could see that I was serious and I would make it beneficial to all parties.
I also had handouts for them to review while I presented my case.
2. Talk Benefits
During our conversation, I focused on my boss and my client and the benefits they would have for my part time arrangement. There was nothing about why I needed it. I didn’t complain about my current position of being overworked (although I definitely could have). I knew the only way they would make the decision I wanted them to is if I got them in the right mindset. They have bosses too and they can’t just approve big changes like this without clearly backing up the benefits. Luckily, I worked for the government where cost is always a hot topic. So I talked dollars and cents.
I made it very clear to my client that they would save money with my part time arrangement. They could hire someone else at a much cheaper rate and I could train them and we would be able to better keep up with the demanding workload. For my boss, I knew that by hiring someone, that we would be getting paid more from the client and I knew that was how my boss was heavily rated by the firm. More staff being hired by the client means more revenue for the firm. Yay!
It’s very important to know the goals of who you are trying to convince of your part time arrangement.
3. Be Irreplaceable
The other good thing is that they really trusted me. I had worked for the same company for 7 years so I had a ton of knowledge and they knew they needed that. I had proved myself over and over again to my boss and my client and they knew they needed me. They did not want to lose me and would do anything they could to keep me. When you are in this position you do have more bargaining power fortunately. For me, I was able to explain how with this new arrangement, we could hire another person who I could train so that I could share this knowledge and pass it along to someone else (who would be paid much less too!:) That was part of the win-win.
4. No Surprises
I was overworked and doing the work of beyond one person. And as much of a perfectionist I was, there was only so much I could do. I honestly knew that it just wasn’t fair and I was being taken advantage of. My nights and weekends working were taking its toll and my health and balance was beyond bad.
So I prepped my boss repeatedly about how I needed help in the months before this conversation. She had made some comments to our client as well so it didn’t come as a surprise when it really, really needed to happen. It was on the backburner and I just brought it back to front and center.
Through this situation, I realized through this situation that you have to ask for what you want because you might be surprised at what you get and how your life and career can change drastically…for the better.
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