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Decision Time

I’ve been faced with a very difficult decision which has been looming over me for a while now.

I’ve had an agreement with my boss and HR to work on a temporary part-time basis ever since Chris was diagnosed. I get tired far too easily, and that’s been the only way I’ve been able to continue doing what is really a very challenging job. But the Company has a rule that, if you go permanently part-time and then change your mind and want to increase your hours, they are not obliged to agree, and will only do so if there is a business benefit.  Hence formally going part-time can be an irrevocable one-way step, and my boss didn’t want to put me in that position since it was originally the hope/intention that if and when I was strong enough I would go back to working full time. However, I can’t keep working on a temporary arrangement indefinitely, and I had an agreement with my boss that at the end of August (i.e. two full years after Christopher died) I had to decide either to return to full-time working or to make the part-time arrangement permanent at a sustainable level.

I had really hoped that I’d be well enough by now to go back to full-time working, but it’s clearly not to be. It’s time to face the facts. I’m finding this bid such hard work and so tiring that colleagues are stopping me in the corridors and asking if I’m ok! I’m absolutely exhausted, and that’s doing a nominal three-day week, spread flexibly over five days, plus some overtime, but still adding up to substantially less than a full week. There’s no way I could keep up this level of intensity full-time without going off sick with a string of migraines, and conversely there’s no way I’d be happy coming into work and offering anything less than my best effort.

So I have decided that I would much rather continue to work at my peak performance for as much of the week as I can, than work sub-optimally full-time.  The former is better for me, and also better for the company, as they only pay me for what I actually do – so in my opinion are getting an absolute bargain! The quality of my work is as good as it ever was I believe, I just can’t keep up that sustained level of effort full-time without making myself ill. I often come home from work, have a cup of tea, and go straight to bed for an hour or so before dinner! There is also the consideration, which my boss takes extremely seriously, that he has a “duty of care” towards me as an employee. Since he knows full well that I’m my own worst enemy and have a clear bias towards overdoing it, he needs to make sure I’m not put in a position where I can run myself into the ground and then go off sick for an extended period.

So I’ve asked my boss for a clear statement from HR of the impact of going permanently part-time, which should  include the rules on pay, pension, over-time, redundancy, sick-pay, and annual leave. I’m not keen on continuing with what is effectively a 40% pay-cut, especially since the house is costing a small fortune at the moment, but I think it’s the only sensible decision to take.

It’s tough. I had never expected that it would have taken me this long to get over Christopher’s illness and death. But clearly that’s how it is, and I need to face up to it and be pragmatic. So part-time work it is.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Catharine | 6 September 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Congratulations. That’s a very difficult set of realizations and decision to come to!

  2. pauld | 7 September 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Part-time is good, i wouldnt mind working part time but not in a crap job.

    You can also spend your leisure time wandering around Malvern watching all those poor miserable, stressed people going into work every single day 🙂

  3. David A | 14 September 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    A tough decision, but I’m sure you’re right. Hope you get some rest soon!