In my workplace I am an oddity. Here’s a few reasons why:
- I’m just odd. As a creative, outgoing person I am outside the norm of my introverted engineery co-workers.
- I’m female. Probably 85% – 90% of the workforce in my organization of 5,000+ is male.
- I work a reduced work schedule at a reduced salary. (Insert sound of a co-worker spitting out their coffee at the horror of this thought)
So why is #3 such a big deal at my workplace? Out of the 5,000 employees at my place there are probably only 3-5 employees on a reduced or part-time schedule. You see, in my work world making money is king and if you can work overtime to rake it in you are even that much cooler. The perception is that putting in extra hours allows you more career opportunity and higher pay. Based on all the research I’ve been reading lately I would venture to say that the perception is also reality for most. However, I want to present an alternative view.
I guess going against the grain is kinda my thing because it’s definitely worked out for me over the course of my career. I’ve always been very honest about my preferences with the how, when, where and why of my work. A poor performer with a list of demands probably won’t get taken very seriously so I’ve always been sure to bust my butt to earn the right to ask for what I want.
So when the opportunity arose for me to share my desire to reduce my hours from 40 down to 32.5, I jumped at it. After submitting a proposal and working out all the logistics, my new hours were approved. I was so excited and scared.
You see, since face time and overtime was perceived to be “the way” to be viewed as a valuable employee I was scared that as I reduced my hours that people would assume my performance and loyalty would decline. I was determined not to let that happen so I adjusted my day to ensure that I focused my limited time in the office to those activities which provided the most value and maximized my contribution. I’m here to tell you that it is working! Not only do I leave at 3pm every day to pick up my son from school, I have received a promotion, raises and now serve on the extended leadership team (top 10% of managers).
If you hate my guts now I totally understand. I am blessed beyond belief and living a dream situation with a job I love and time at home to feel as if I’m able to be a decent mom too. I don’t share all of this to brag but to help encourage you that it is possible. I really don’t believe you can have it all but I do believe that if you stick to your guns, you can get a little closer to what you want.
So why the post title “I Gotta Have Faith – Working Your Real Hours”? Because some of the best career advice I’ve ever received was this.
“It takes a lot of faith to just work from 9:00 – 5:00.”
Little did I know how much faith it would take to leave at 3:00 every day! How much faith do you have that if you work what you’re paid to work (and no more) you’ll end up closer to achieving all that you want out of your career and home? Weigh in and let me know what you think.