Q. I was hired less than two month ago for part time role (three days onsite, two from home) which I love. I was told by the hiring manager the role would be part time for at least a year, which is what I need as I have two, young children.
Now, my manager says priorities have changed and he needs someone full time. He wants that to be me, but I just can’t do it; with working, school drop-off and pick-up, and day care it would be too much.
My mother is retiring this summer and it might work if I could wait until then, but my manager wants me to commit to this transition now. If I can’t do full time, he would likely keep me on, but wouldn’t be able to commit to a certain number of hours. I have to get back to him to let him know whether or not I can do it.
A. Business priorities change, which is what your manager is telling you, and you have stated your life and work balance priorities. Both of your priorities aren’t the same. Most employees end the conversation at this point, with an all or nothing mentality, but try to look for alternate solutions that meet both your needs.
What does full time mean to your manager? Clarify, as you may be closer to an agreement than you think. Does it mean 40 hours in the office? A certain amount of deliverables? He has shown flexibility by allowing for part time and work from home arrangements, so offer to work 9AM to 2 or 3PM, with one or two days from home. Will that work for you and for him? How about alternative, similar arrangements that allow you to stay in the role in some capacity until your mother becomes more available to support you?
Consider proposing a job share. Do you know other great professionals with a similar skill set and life situation who would welcome the opportunity? Your responsibility would be to find the right person, and it is vital the job share partner makes this work easier for the manager. Companies who have done this successfully agree the value from this equation is higher than one professional. You can also propose he get a temp for a few days a week for the short term until you can move into the full time role.
When you meet with him, reinforce your love of the job. Let him know you understand the changing priorities and that you can continue to contribute. Advise that you have looked at a number of solutions you’d like to discuss to make sure the company gets the skills and level of support needed. Go through each option, assess the barriers, don’t argue, just take note and see what might be resolved.
Always remain positive. Retain whatever number of hours he can provide, communicate regularly with him about his situation and yours, and you may have an opportunity in the future.