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I'd love to hear from moms and dads who have successfully
transitioned to part-time work after becoming parents.
My partner and I are considering my changing to part-time,
flexible employment once we have a second child and are trying
to get a sense of what the options are, what our budget might
be, whether we could buy a house and where, etc. His social
services career pays modestly so we don't have the option of my
being a complete SAHM, but we'd like to mitigate the constant
rushing of both of us working fulltime.
I'd especially love to hear from anyone who has found work in
writing or nonprofit administration.
If you have succeeded in finding part-time, flexible work,
How many hours a week do you typically work?
Do you work from home or another location?
How much is your typical weekly net?
What type of work do you do?
How did you locate the job?
How old are any children?
Many thanks to anyone willing to share your experience.
I think this is a good time in history for carving out part-time
flexible positions for parents as well as nonparents.
Have you looked into Flexperience Staffing yet? It may be worth
attending one of their informative events with panel speakers
sharing their experiences obtaining and negotiating part-time
flexible positions. I've found they are very enlightening and
make me feel lucky to have the job that I do.
I was lucky enough to be in a good position (hard worker; long
hours; etc) at my company when I was pregnant and have been able
to keep my job part-time (30 hrs) and flexible hours (half from
home) since my daughter was born 6 years ago. I was also the
first to go on maternity leave (new company) so I had to pave the
way which wasn't easy and did have some rocky periods where they
weren't sure whether it was working or not for them. I stuck to
my guns and continued to prove myself (still do have to prove
that I'm productive when not in the office). Another challenge is
to keep the hours I work to the hours I am paid (it is easy to
work more sometimes with a full workload and busy times, and I
have to remind myself not to).
Here are my stats:
How many hours a week do you typically work? I'm paid for 30 hrs
Do you work from home or another location? Both
How much is your typical weekly net? 6 hours average - some days
are more and I balance out by the end of the week (Sometimes I
only have to put in 2-3 hours on Fri, e.g)
What type of work do you do? I work with suppliers in other
countries so most of my work is by email/phone.
How did you locate the job? I had this job before I got pregnant.
How old are any children? 6 years old.
works for me
I am an grandparent now, but when my kids were 6 months old and 4 years old (2
kids), my husband and I decided to move to Berkeley and each work part time so we
could each spend time with the kids. It was a very challenging year. We had to take
less in pay because part time work was paid hourly, and we didn't have any time
with each other, because our schedules were such that he would leave when I would
come and vice versa. We both worked for the University of California. His work
ended up to be a career job for him (He has moved up and is now in a very
comfortable head position, working [FULL TIME] for the same department). I moved
on and started teaching [FULL TIME]. We also got divorced after that year. . . . It was
very idealistic of us to think that we could manage raising kids on 2 part time jobs.
Well, that was my experience. I'm not saying for you not to do it. Just consider all
the consequences and options before doing it. It didn't work for us. It may work for
My partner and I have found extreme happiness in each of us working PT since our
son was born 3+ years ago. It has been very difficult financially at times, but
overall we feel that it has been worth the struggles. I am in social services and left
my career-track position in npo administration management. I work 15-20 hours
per week, from home. I do policy writing, program development and grant writing-
-all things I did when I worked 40+ hours per week. It has been fantastic! I
realized that it is all in how you present yourself to potential clients. My partner
works PT for Peet's Coffee, which provides health insurance for employees who
work a minimum of 21 hours per week. (I have heard there are many corps that do
this.) Some suggestions for getting started: ask current employer to allow a PT
schedule; use your contacts in the field to get started; scan craigslist in the ''writing''
category for jobs, look also on CL for agencies that are hiring for development
directors/other management positions and call and offer to be a consultant instead
(saves them money on benefits). Good luck!
will never go back to FT
Hi Anon. I am a part time administrator at a nonprofit social
and mental health service agency. I've been there for 3 years
and had time to establish myself there before getting pregnant.
Since having my child in Winter 2006, I've gotten two raises and
one promotion and a flexible schedule. How? Well luckily the
agency is full of women and very family-oriented. Secondly, I
made myself hard to lose. And finally, I rationalize with my boss
the need for a higher level administrator, who could accomplish
the work in less time, which meant that the money saved from
paying for full time benefits and salary could be used to give
me a raise. I suggest going to the interviews for full time
jobs, wow them and convince them to give you part time work
and/or allow you to telecommunicate. Don't forget that
nonprofits are desperate for good solid people who will stay
awhile. Having a family and expressing the desire for stability
and longevity will gain you some points. BTW, working from home
isn't always easy, especially early on when naps are frequent.
Nowadays, I work during my son's afternoon nap and at night.
Also, I am a bit of workholic and sometimes work interferes with
my homelife too much. Just something to think about.
How many hours a week do you typically work? 24 in office, 8+
How much is your typical weekly net? $800
What type of work do you do? Administration and quality management
How did you locate the job? Craigslist
How old are any children? 1.7
I work in Human Resources, so have a personal as well as a
professional view on your desire to work part time. Do either of
you work now? if so, can you ask for flexible hours or fewer
hours? I started off full time, in the office. As the company
started to trust me and learned of my good work ethic, they
allowed me more and more flexibility. Now I work from home about
20 hours a week, and have flexibility when I do go into the
office. Most companies will allow this only once you have proven
yourself to be trustworthy etc.....good luck.
I've been a stay at home mom for 3 years now and I'm ready to join the ''real world''
and get a job. The thing is, I'd really rather only work part time so I could still
some time with my little one.
After looking through craigslist and the papers I'm starting to get the sense this
doesn't actually exist. Do any of you work part time? How did you convince your
employer to let you work only part time? Do any of you work where there is a job
available that is only 20 to 30 hours a week?
Ready to work
I think that this IS the $64,000 question for SAHMs.
I (college educated with a high-paying/high-responsibility job before kids) ended
up being a SAHM for 10 years and I attempted to go back to work last year. I
quickly discovered that professional part-time jobs really don't exist. (If they do,
love to know where!) After several conversations with potential employers, I
realized I had to dumb-down my resume and then I got hired.
It was great at first, because being ''back in the game'' is all I wanted. After a
though, I became increasingly frustrated because I was working with
uneducated/unprofessional types and got increasingly mired in petty crap. After
factoring in all the issues (including poor pay) I resigned. Gone are my old days of
working with educated, goal-oriented co-workers. Gone are my raises, profit
sharing and end of year bonuses.....
Several girlfriends have had similar experiences. If you don't have a full-time
professional position, you won't get paid well, you won't have benefits, and you
won't have evaluations/promotions and raises.
I wish I could help you, but I'm in the same boat.
How does an educated, professional get back into the game on a part-time basis
without dumbing down?
from your post: ''ready to join the ''real world'' and get a
job.'' WAIT, you have a real job raising your child, managing
your home! I am a man, a single (divorced) father of teens. Take
some time to appreciate your role, your job, your life. Being a
full time mom is as real as it gets! My ex-wife accused me of
wanting to 'keep her home', taking care of the kids... I always
told her i appreciated it so much and gave her time off for
personal pursuits. That was what she wanted and i worked my butt
off for 17 years to be able to do that. Please consider how
important your current job is and show this post to your partner.
Ironically there is another post this week where a woman is
missing her baby while working. Count your blessings. Work is
important and good work gives us satisfaction in many ways. So,
my advice (you asked), think about what you want to do for
''other'' work in addition to the ''job'' you already have.
Acknowledge that a ''real job'' provides satisfaction in other
ways: intellectual challenge, camaraderie, monetary gain... and
so does your current job as a mom. Then, attempt to integrate all
this into your life. Start your own business, seek job sharing in
a progressive company....
~ former corporate geek enjoying life as a carpenter
Yes! Nursing has worked great for me. I have a LVN licence and
work 20 hours per week. If you have any interest in health care
it is a great way to go. And in high demand.
Have you thought about substitute teaching? I know many people
are scared to do it because of their own childhood memories
involving abusing subs. I did it for 3 years, and I found it to
be the easiest, most flexible, and least stressful job I've ever
done. You only take jobs when you feel like it, and since it's
now all done through an automated phone system, you don't even
need to talk to a person when you select jobs. You only accept
the jobs you want on the days you want. If you market yourself
successfully, you become the regular sub for some sweet and easy
classrooms. Give it a try - You don't even need to ''quit'' if you
don't like it, you simply stop accepting jobs.
I have worked in Human Resources and recruiting for years. I
would apply for any jobs that seem interesting to you, even if
they are advertised as full time. If they are impressed with
you, they might hire you for hours that suit you., or might
allow you to work part time from home.
Another thought...Craigs list has part time listings,
contractual listings, occasional listings etc. which might help
you ease back into work slowly. There are lots of firms that
hire people for market research work and you usually have a
choice of dates and times in which to work.
Don't limit yourself....go for what looks good even if if seems
that part time might not be an option. Companies will flex for
the right candidate...
I work part time (about 20 hrs/wk) in biotech/clinical
research. Really, the way this came about was I spent some
years as full-time and then when my daughter was born I
requested to come back to work part-time and this request was
granted. You are right that good part-time work is hard to find
(depending on your line of work). Do you have any contacts from
previous jobs? If so, I would definitely start there.
Also, some lines of work lend themselves more easily to part
time. My sister is an RN and has absolutely no problems. So
you might take some time to think about how you want life to
look down the road and, if you can, get some additional
education or training. I'm in the midst of this right now.
Best of luck!
You don't say what kind of work you did or want to do, which
might help folks give you more specific advice. But, as in
finding most jobs, it seems, networking is probably the best
way to go. I found my part time ( 9-5, four days a week, or
about 25-28 hours a week) professional job through an friendly
acquaintance--she mentioned that a neighbor of her did the same
type of work I did. So when I was sick of working in SF, I
called up my friendly acquaintance and asked if maybe I could
talk with her neighbor informally about how the market in our
field was in the East Bay. We had an informal lunch where I
discussed w the neighbor what sort of thing I was looking for
etc, and in a couple weeks I had a new job. So when I say
networking, I don't mean anything super fancy, just letting
everyone you know that I you are interested in going back to
work part time in your field. It also helps to be ''resume
ready''-- both literally and figuratively. Start thinking about
your strong suits, what you loved about your work, what skills
or interests you have to bring to a new employer, what you
would like to make etc. People like hiring people who they
know or who know people they know. And they like to hire
positive, confident people. Don't worry about being out of the
job market, as long as you can show that you have current
interest and skills. Even when you are in mama mode out and
about, dress neatly and look as if you are office ready (or
whatever is appropriate to your field)--you never know when you
will stumble across a potential lead. Also, if there are any
professional associations in your field, start attending their
meetings or luncheons. It is a great way of finding out who is
doing what where.
Happy part timer.
I am currently working for a physician in Berkeley as a patient
coordinator and it has been the best job for me to transition
back from being a stay at home mom. I am leaving in June to
pursue graduate school and I know they are looking right now to
fill my position, ideally with another mom whose looking to work
part-time. The job has been just wonderful for me, I took it
as a way to get some exposure to the medical field because I was
considering nursing school and it fit very well into my schedule.
I was able to attend classes on the days I was not working, not
to mention all the mentoring and support I got from the physician
I worked for, the job really helped me focus my career goals. It
has been the most ideal job for me these last couple of years and
I am really sad to be moving on.
with your search.
Have you picked up the latest issue of Bay Area Parents?
The cover story has some very useful suggestions and solutions on
achieving the work/life balance - in particular, how to find
I would also agree with/reinterate the advice:
a) apply to jobs you like and then try and negotiate hours
b) network, get the word out to everyone and their neighbor that
c) be creative in your skills - you might have to make a sideways
move, or a temporary step back in order to get your foot in
My own abbreviated experience in the graphic design field: When
my 2nd child arrived, I negotiated an 80% week from a 100%.
Unfortunately, it was an environment where they really wanted
120%, so I was let go after about a year of 80%.
Since then, it's been a variety of short-term 100% and freelance
at home (as low as 40%). I am now on a annual contract at 80%
time. The position was advertised as full-time, and they ended up
hiring a full-time person - plus me at part-time. And I'm already
working on the next stage of employment.
It's true that most of the really good part-time jobs are never
advertised - you have to dig them up and make them happen
yourself with a bit of negotiation, ingenuity and luck.
I wish you well! More flexibility for all (not just moms) needs
to happen in the workforce! If we all keep pushing, it's gotta
Mom of Two
I am an employer who welcomes part time staff. I used to try
to hire people as full time employees in my small private
plastic surgery office. I initially worked with only one
support staff person and it was VERY difficult to find someone
who could handle all aspects of the job. Also, I found that
the people who were looking for full time medical office
positions did not have the customer service skills that are key
to this office. By chance, I found two people who were
interested in part time positions and this has worked
fabulously. Not only does this allow each employee part time
work, but they can split up tasks so each can do more of what
they prefer as often one likes to do something the other does
not enjoy as much. Obviously, the responsibilities also
overlap, but my experience has been that they work really well
together as a team, communicating with each other so that the
communication with the patients is seamless. They have also
worked cooperatively covering each other for vacations so that
no one has to plan vacation around my vacation schedule.
In my opinion,SAHMs ready to return to work part time make
fabulous employees. They can multitask, deal with issues, be
kind to patients, problem solve and run the show here
independently. Mothers have a skill set that any employer
should value greatly and you should feel proud to bring this
managerial experience to the workplace. I am not sure that all
employers recognize this yet, but they should. I wonder if you
have another friend with the same needs as you? You might
present yourself as a team ready to split a full time
position. I would certainly have been open to that when I was
looking to fill the full time job.
It is great that this question was posted now because one of my
fabulous ex-stay at home mom is moving on to graduate school
and we have a 24 hour a week position coming available in my
office. So if you are interested, call us. We might meet both
of our needs at the same time. 510 704-2170
There's already been good advice given, but I wanted to share one
more story because this was hard for me and now is going well. I
worked with my career coach, Toni Littlestone, who helped me get
a very good full time job that we figured might have the
potential for going part time. Toni coached me to look for clues,
such as noticing whether anyone worked part time when I went for
interviews, and whether the type of organization could only
support full time workers or whether part time might work. I
landed a job that fit the profile we worked out, then really
proved myself in the job and built good relationships with my
boss and co-workers. Toni and I roleplayed my request to my boss
for a reduced schedule about six months into the job. I was
nervous about it, but during the roleplay practice, Toni played
the part of my boss and brought up so many objections that I
ended up being mega-prepared. I also came to see through the
practice sessions what my boss might be worried about, so I was
able to show how I could go on being a great team member and
loyal contributor. First I went down to 80% then a few months
later I went down to three days a week plus a half day of working
from home. I am thrilled with my situation, and it's working
great for the organization, too. The secret in my case was
getting the job I really wanted and then building enough trust to
transition to fewer hours.
Does anyone have advice/recommendations for resources for
approaching my manager to go back to work part-time instead of
full-time when my maternity leave ends?
When I left, I thought I would definitely want to go back full-
time, but as the date to go back approaches, I've found myself
wanting very much to stay home with my daughter.
What is the best way to bring up the subject? What are my
options? Do I have obligations to go back full-time for any
length of time? How can I present my ''case'' well that I will
be able to do my the responsbilities of my job (or the majority
thereof)in 25-30 hours of week?
There have been some major reorganizations since I left and
there are more people on my team now, and some of my previous
role has been moved to cross-functional folks outside of my
group, so I actually do think it's reasonable that I can still
do the main responsibilities of my job in less time.
Any thoughts/recos would be greatly appreciated.
Check out ''The Working Mother's Guide to Life'' by Linda Mason.
It has some info on negotiating alternative work schedules.
Before I returned to work I think I also found a sample
form ''letter'' which helped formulate some of the arguments for
part time working or telecommuting. Think I found that through
just Googling some stuff. I kind of screwed up though because
my boss seemed supportive so I wasn't very organized & didn't
really present a strong case. When I was getting ready to
return to work my boss said upper management wouldn't support
telecommuting or part time except for a brief stint. At the
time I didn't have the confidence to fight it. So, really get
yourself prepared. Have a backup plan in place so that you
will have the confidence to be assertive about your plan. I
bet you'll find that you are much more efficient when you
return to work as I found and many other mothers learn.
I went through this too. I psyched myself up for the
conversation with my boss and went into the meeting with the
attitude of this is what I need to do to continue my work here.
My boss was very receptive, and of course, I took a salary cut.
My return to work was pretty fluid in that I didn't need to
spell out the terms of my return for more than the immediate
future. I negotiated a 4-month part-time status of working 60%
and then renegotiated an 80% status when that period was over.
Is your boss a mother? Can you have the meeting with a mother?
That helps too. Good luck!
I went through the same thing when I had my baby. I had planned
to come back full-time after my baby was born and after a 6
month leave but I just couldn't do it. I called my employer
about a month before I was to return. I spoke to him about the
possibility of coming back on a reduced schedule for a temporary
period because of my baby. I have a pretty senior position with
lots of responsibilities so I knew he was weary but I told him
that I could do some work from home and would always be
available for emergencies and obviously my salary would be
reduced based on my revised schedule. I also said that we could
do it for a trial period of about 30 days and if he was not
satisfied, we could re-address the issue. He agreed. So I
worked 3 days a week and the result was really great for him as
he paid me less but I did the same amount of work as I did on my
previous 5 day a week schedule. I got to stay home with my baby
and he got me at reduced cost. It was a win-win situation.
After about 6 months of this, I realized that I was unable to
finish my work in that reduced schedule so I revised my schedule
to 4 days a week and that has worked out great. Good luck.
Does anyone have any suggestions or contacts or leads for a
part time job for a SAHM that will actually allow me to earn
more than just enough to cover day care? My daughter is almost
2 now, and I need to try to find something that allows me to
contribute to our family's income. However, taking care of my
daughter is so important to me, so I am hoping to find
something that is part time rather than full time. I've
searched craigslist and others, and most part time jobs are
listed for about $10-$15 an hour. That's just going to cover
day care and costs for me working (transportation, etc.).
There must be some moms out there who have found a way to make
this work. Do you know of any? I'd love to talk to them and
hear what they do. Thanks for any help.
I've found that working as an Adult School teacher, teaching ESL at night, has been
pretty good job to have while my husband and I are raising a young child. Even if
you taught in the day, childcare costs a lot less than the starting pay of Adult
teachers. I don't know if this work interests you, but I've found it stimulating and
extremely rewarding emotionally. I also do a bit of online copyediting, which I can
do at night after I teach, or sometimes on weekends. Long before we had our
daughter, I left a career in advertising for grad school & teaching; I can see now
the high pressure ad world would never have worked for me as a mom. Though my
days often feel very long, I've been able to build a strong relationship with my
daughter. When she starts kindergarten in a year, I imagine I can spread my wings a
little more, and then even more when she goes to the full day of first grade.
I've often wondered why our culture doesn't offer more opportunities for meaningful
part-time work. So many people want it: artists, mothers, students, lots of folks!
And when we have fulltime work, there's inevitably too much work. What's up with
this? Maybe it's the health benefits--if we had national health care and employers
didn't have to shoulder those costs, perhaps they would be less reluctant to take on
part-timers. Good luck in your work search.
I am at SAHM. My youngest child will be in 1st grade next year.
As I find myself with more time without my children I am
thinking of going back to work part time next year.
My problem is that I would like to work part time without
compromising my priority of being at home when school lets out.
I have looked at various jobs and the hourly rate is low, the
work often less than intellectually challenging.
What are others in my position doing? Is this the price we pay
for working part time? and should I just suck it up and deal
with the pay.
I would love to know how others have dealt with this.
I have a 4.5 yo girl and 1.5 yo boy. I am also a SAHM. I
recently became a Pampered Chef consultant. I make about $25
p/h part time. I hold my shows in the evening and on weekends
about 3-4 times per month. I suggest you look into something
like this which gives you the flexibility to keep quality family
time intact, earn a nice extra income and get you out of the
house for some stimulating adult conversation! There are plenty
of businesses like this out there, check some out and see what
works for you.
You could try a massage program (there are programs of
varying lengths from 100 hours up), or become an
Esthetician in 400 hours. Both careers are can be very
rewarding as you connect with clients on a regular basis
and help people to feel great. They are also flexible careers
in that you can work while your children are in school, and
then be home with them in the afternoons. And you can
make a very decent living. I am a mom and an esthetician
working part-time and would be happy to answer any
questions you may have. E-mail me if you'd like!
Does anyone know of a resource for identifying jobs with
flexible / part time hours, job sharing or consulting opptys.
I recently had my second child and have taken a year leave of
absence from my 50 hour a week job. I think it is so important
to be at home more to parent my kids. I however, do need to
bring in income. My speciality is Marketing. I am looking to
find a resource i.e. headhunter, web site, job posting etc.
that can help me identify opportunities. Any assistance is
Have you tried looking at www.craigslist.com? They have a full
section on part-time jobs. Other good places to try are
bulletin boards at your local YMCA, church, or other community
organization. I believe Whole Foods has a board like this as
well. Good luck!
I would like some advice from UC staff who have reduced their schedules
from working full to part-time. My spouse has recently gotten a new job
which is not only very demanding, but requires frequent travel out of
town. We have two young children in school/day care full-time. I would
like to approach my supervisor about going down to 50% time. I have read
the "Balancing Work and Family" publication put out by the university
and have worked through the proposal check list, but would like some
words of wisdom from fellow staffers. I work in student services and
have been in my position less than a year.
How did you first approach this? Did you have a meeting with your
supervisor first, write a proposal, meet with your MSO/personnel
manager? What kinds of obstacles did you encounter and were you able to
work them out? How do you approach a supervisor who may not be
particularly empathetic to your situation i.e. not married/no children.
I am trying to get an idea of the best way to approach this. Any
feedback would be helpful; thank you.
From my experience working in human resources, my strongest piece of
advice is to propose the reduction in hours entirely from the employers
point of view and what they will gain. Make a list of all possible
benefits which will depend on your individual case (cost reduction for
reduced benefits like insurance, vacation, etc.). Also, brainstorm any
"fears" that your boss may have, and address those within your proposal.
For instance, if there is a project that needs immediate attention on
your days off, can they page you? Is there a coworker who shares your
responsibilities who can handle emergencies? If your employer will view
part-time as an inconvenience, decide ahead if you are willing to make
sacrifices to gain this trade-off, and be willing to offer those up to
show you are reasonable and serious about making it work. Of course, you
can acknowledge that you
desire to move to part-time for family reasons, but don't try to plead
your case based upon that.
I have been working part-time now for quite awhile. When I occassionally
work full-time (usually to meet a deadline) we again realize how much it
impacts the family and my husband's job. There has to be some
flexibility somewhere or we're all stressed.
If you are a clerical worker I would suggest you contact CUE, the
Coalition of University Employees for some sage
advice. The people involved with the union are really sharp, know the
university well, and are generous with their knowledge. Good luck.
I have some advice about working part time. I'm a boss of part-timers,
I've worked part-time myself, and I'm also a true believer of the
virtues of telecommuting, as you will see if you make it all the way to
the end of this message! This is an important topic for me.
1. consider telecommuting in addition to or instead of reducing your
2. a lot depends on what your job is, how overloaded your department is,
how much leverage you have, what the funding picture is, how efficient
you are, how adventurous your boss is ...
For example: At 50% you will still get full benefits - will your boss
need to hire an additional 50% person, train them, and pay them full
benefits too? This is not going to be very desirable from your boss's
point of view. Can you convince your boss that there are some good
reasons for reducing your hours, or for doing some of your work at home?
Can you identify which pieces of your job can be done more efficiently,
or by another person, or offline? Are there slow times when you could be
away from work in exchange for being there during
the busy times? Are there ways you could do some work at home? do you
have a computer or is there one at work you could take home? would your
department consider leasing one for you to use at home? (BTW see a
recent report about the advantages of leasing at
At around $100/mo it could be cheaper than reducing your hours, for you
*and* your boss! )
If you go to your boss with a reasonable proposal, your chances are
much better than if you just cross your fingers and pop the
question. It sounds like you have already done some homework on this
so that's a good step. It is important to consider your boss's needs
too when you make your request. Also - I personally believe that
unless you are sure your boss is sympathetic, it's to your advantage
not to cast your request as a family crisis if there is some
alternative. A lot depends on your own situation, but I have usually
found it better to say "I'll be working at home today" than "My child
is sick so I can't come in." Of course a lot depends on your job - if
you have a support position that requires you do be in the office
during certain hours, then there is less flexibility. But if you are
creative, there are ways to build in some flexibility even for jobs
that require a high degree of face-to-face interaction.
I have worked part-time in many different jobs in order to have family
time at home. Sometimes it has meant that I must be twice as
efficient, because I still must get 40 hrs/wk worth of work done in
half the time. So, I think you do have to demonstrate that you are
someone who can be counted on to get the job done. But all my bosses
have allowed me flexibility once I showed them I could do a good job,
except for one who insisted I needed to clock in and clock out
regardless of what happened in between clocks. She was not very
creative and could not envision doing something in a different way
from the way it had "always" been done. She had a hard time holding
on to good employees, not surprisingly. I think that bosses who give
their employees some control over workload and work hours are rewarded
with loyal staff who work harder than employees who "can't be trusted"
to get it done themselves. (I should say that for the last 3 years I
have had an excellent boss, CS Prof. Robert Wilensky, and it is a joy
to work for him. He's smart, supportive, inventive, flexible, funny,
and not on this mailing list so I can say whatever I like about him!)
I work full-time as a programmer in EECS but I work from home 1-3 days
a week. When I do come in to the office I leave by 3 so I can get home
when the kids do. Working from home lets me do laundry, arrange doctor
& school appts., meet repair persons, start supper and all that stuff
that has to get done at home even when your kids are big and gone to
school all day. It's important to me to have this flexibility and I
appreciate that I have it. But it's not really because I'm "lucky" -
it is because I can (and do) work outside of the usual 9-5 schedule.
I may be up at 6am on Saturday morning finishing up a programming job on
my computer at home; I often work at night after dinner and usually part
of the weekend. To my 9-5 friends it seems like I work all the time - when
I'm not at the office I seem to be on the computer at home. But actually
what I'm doing is working when it's convenient for me to work, and not
working when it's not.
I also manage 4 other computer programmers: two work half-time (one is
a new parent, the other has a second job), a third is FT and works at
home in Sacramento 3 days a week, and the fourth has recently returned
to FT after a stint at 75% to take a class. All of us work from home
at least 1 day a week, usually more. Nobody really has a "regular"
schedule although we are all at work on Mondays for meetings and we
are all dependable about coming in if there is an emergency or a
deadline. Everybody is very productive and energetic. Almost all our
work is computer work so other than meetings and impromptu
collaborative sessions there isn't any reason why work can't be done
at home. We are on a research grant - which is more risky and
unpredictable but also more flexible in terms of hours and workload.
We all have computers at home that have been at least partly provided
by our research funding, and we hope to soon fund high-speed internet
connections for home use too. I have heard of other non-research units
on campus doing this as well as it is starting to get quite affordable.
A number of my friends outside the university work at home at least
part of the time too. Most of them are programmers and most of them
work very hard, often more than 60 hours a week. Some of them have
kids and that's why they want to be at home, some have other reasons
like an ugly commute to the South Bay or a hobby that happens during
the day and they want to work around it. More and more I see people
negotiating for telecommuting time and equipment, not just for family
reasons. If I were looking for a new job, telecommuting would be an
important requirement, and I would probably not even mention that I
wanted it for "family reasons".You might think this only works for
computer jobs, but that isn't so true anymore. Many jobs that didn't
used to seem computer-oriented are now; we communicate much more by
email, a lot more of the resources we need are online, a lot of the
work we do is on a computer. So there may be quite a lot you can do
from home if you have a computer and maybe a modem. Equipment is also
getting cheaper so if you and your boss are creative and willing to
try something different, there are ways. I think telecommuting is a
really terrific trend for working parents and I am always happy to see
campus efforts to support it! There is a March 10 seminar on flexible
time arrangements (announcement in the last digest) - I would recommend
going to that. Here is the official campus policy:
I'm currently working full time and am considering a reduction in hours.
My last two jobs (in the past six years since my son was born) were part
time. One thing folks might want to think about when considering part
time is that a small reduction in hours can make a huge difference for
you. Reducing to 32 hours or even 35 hours may makes it possible for
you to go to baseball games, volunteer in the school or schedule doctors
appointments easily. I also at some level found true parttime work (20
hours a week) to be a little frustrating in that I still did the commute
for not very much money, and never felt that I ever got anything done.
If your work is project oriented rather than support oriented, this may
be less true.
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