Jon's Blog: Happy Part-timeiversary
Last August, I decided to go part-time, dropping down to a four-day week. A number of the females in our team have being doing that for some time now, and our team leader is very supportive, so it was an easy sell to change my working hours. I was the first male to make that choice in our team, so it was very helpful to learn from those who were already working reduced hours on how they had made it work before me (and - perhaps most importantly - what to put on my email footer, which I shameless copied from them).
There were a number of reasons behind the decision. Our younger son was starting school, so our childcare costs (of nursery fees and nanny) were dropping substantially. I had been doing a very part-time Masters, so having some time each week for that, which didn't encroach on evenings or weekends, was handy.
But fundamentally, I just wanted to try and strike a different balance at home and at work. Our youngest starting school, and my 40th looming, reminded me to try and make the most of this time when both boys are (usually) pleased to see me. I wanted them to remember me being at school sometimes, or at their activities. I hoped it would make the endless list of house admin (housemin?) slightly more bearable, and the evenings and weekends slightly less task-driven. The timing was also good, as it meant I could have an extra day at home during the summer holidays.
Fast-forward 12 months, and how's it been? To be honest, it's a bit complicated but I don't think I'd want to go back now. Work have been immensely supportive, which has been absolutely essential. I've had to work the odd day off, but I always knew I would and that's been sufficiently infrequent that it’s a non-issue. I have found it hard to get into a rhythm – I didn't think one less day would make so much difference, but it's slowly getting there. I suspect I am now more focused when I am in the office, so I need to remind myself to take time to chat as well. I think the boys like it, although I sometimes feel that their behaviour is worst when I'm with them – their reward chart always seems lower with me than when it's someone else (maybe I'm just stricter?!). But I look forward to my day off each week, and would not change it.
Unfortunately, the housemin is as relentless as ever, and the to-do lists as long at work as well as home. But, sometimes, if things won't stop you need to make the choice to slow it down and step back anyway. Here's to the next part-timeiversary!
Jon is the father of two fantastic boys, with an amazing wife who also works four days a week. Jon has worked in the City for around 15 years as a solicitor in the insurance industry.
Category: A Cityfather's Diary