Working Part-Time

Parent Q&A

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  • Part-time work in the Bay Area?

    (2 replies)

    Hi all -  I was laid off from my tech job (Project Manager) in October, and also happen to be due with our second kid in April. I've been relentlessly job searching with no luck so far. My husband recently let me know that, if possible, he would like one of us to stay home with the kids at least part-time - he doesn't like the idea of daycare raising them. I'm less bothered by this, but open to staying home part-time as long as I can keep working also (he makes more money than me, so that part makes sense, and we need at least 1.5 incomes to stay in the Bay - not to mention my desire to keep up on experience and adult time). I want to clarify that he offered to stay home, but that would mean we'd have to move away, which I'd rather not do.

    Anyway, there's the backstory. My question is: does anyone have any ideas or experience working part-time and parenting at home part-time here? We live in Oakland. I like Project Management, and I am sure my skills there could translate into any number of similar part-time jobs, but I just don't know where to start. Maybe Real Estate? Kind of at a loss!

    Thanks in advance!

    I started a part-time staff job at UC Berkeley when my now middle schooler was in early elementary school after freelancing in media for a number of years. I’m now in a full time role in a different department. I found the work-life balance of a part-time job to be a great fit while parenting a young kid. Although you would probably make more in the private sector, the UC benefits and the job stability are great, You can check the UC Berkeley Jobs site for part-time gigs. 

    In my experience the best way to work part time in a lucrative job is to transition from a full time role in the company (which means spending a couple years there full time). I’ve worked part time as a Project Manager in real estate and construction, but I’ve never found a part time role. I’ve come in full time then down shifted. Or come in in a consulting capacity for a few days a week. In both cases, I’ve had to work on my days off occasionally. I would think tech is more flexible than real estate and construction?

    I think it would be hard to find a lucrative role that would allow you to fully commit to childcare on the off days. Part of what makes it lucrative is the availability to flex the days to meet business needs. At least in the roles I’ve had. I also always charged hourly for hours worked in these roles. Do not commit to a part time “salaried” role - that’s just a recipe for working full time for less money.

    I started working part time when possible after having kids. I have never used my time off to take care of the kids - we had full time childcare until they were old enough to entertain themselves / be left alone. I used the time off to take care of everything else - errands, appointments, cooking, cleaning, dropping kids at sports practice (but not staying with them), etc. This allowed me a lot of flexibility in the type of work I could do - and gave me a spot to negotiate from when I asked for part time hours. If your goal is more to stay home with kids vs maintain a career and your sanity, this might not be the right approach for you.

    You say your spouse is the one interested in forgoing childcare. Can he flex to a part time role instead so you can go full time? I get paid more per hour when I’m part time and waive health benefits because I’m on my spouse’s insurance - it results in a surprisingly small difference in annual take home pay. Just a thought.

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  • Low key part time work ideas to explore?

    (8 replies)

    My spouse (mid 50s) is retired but getting bored and interested in some low-stress part time work. Any East Bay ideas for them? No childcare/teaching or retail. This is more for getting out of the house than for pay, so volunteer work also a possibility. Thx!

    My thought would be local government. There are usually committees to join that can align to interests and just attending local city/county meeting for some citizen oversight is valuable. Our democracy only works if people are paying attention. 

    Become a Master Gardener and volunteer at community gardens.

    East Bay Regional Park District sometimes lists part-time seasonal jobs that are suitable for mature workers (rather than student interns). Check their website.

    If volunteer work is an option too, they might try Berkeley Food Pantry. They're open 3 days a week to the public and one day a week for deliveries. Since volunteering is during the day during the week and their operations are almost all done by volunteers, they sometimes have a hard time getting enough help. But it's important and good work, feeding several thousand people each month with fresh and shelf stable food in Berkeley and Albany.

    Check out Volunteer Match! Lots of good opportunities that you can explore based on your partner's interests. For example, there is an urban farm that needs help!

    If volunteering is a possibility, check out the websites for Ashby Village and Berkeley Schools Volunteers. 

    Ashby Village is a peer-to-peer community that helps everyone who participates to age better.   Volunteering there is like paying it forward.  Imagine if you are aging in your own home and everything is fine except you need someone to change that lightbulb or drive you to a medical appointment.  That sort of thing. 

    Berkeley Schools Volunteers does not involve childcare or teaching.  They need task runners, technology helpers, data entry, etc. 

    There are a number of senior programs in the area that could use a volunteer.

    The City of El Cerrito runs a food program, both in house and meals delivered. 

    There is a Japanese based senior program, J-Sei, located in Emeryville, that prepares and delivers meals to seniors.  This program is very flexible, not very stressful, and is staffed with some very nice people.

    There are tons of volunteer opportunities out there.  What are their interests and what sort of work do they want to support?  Even if an organization doesn't post on volunteer match or similar sites, your spouse can contact pretty much any non-profit and make an offer!  

  • Hello families! First time poster here. I’m considering taking the leap to full-time/stay-at-home parent for a few short months, and want to nail down a job by this fall when our son is old enough for a preschool program. I would ideally like to find something with a flexible schedule that will allow me to go back to school. I would appreciate any advice, leads or anecdotes about your experiences switching up your work while juggling kids, expenses, etc.

    Thank you for your time!

    I would absolutely recommend *not* working a flexible schedule. It sounds great in theory, but in practice I have found flexible schedules/work from home for parents to be a trap of not doing anything well or to completeness, and with more hours spent of trying to get "everything" done, leading to less sleep and more stress.

    Set boundaries: Work time is work time, preschool time is preschool time, your school time is your school time. This may mean you are only working three hours a day and taking one class, while your child is at preschool, but you and your child will be better off if both of you are having "free time" at the same time. You will actually have less housework if you spend more time out of the house, so that part of the equation sort of solves itself.

    Good luck!!

    Wise words! Thank you!

    When my kids were babies and toddlers, I worked part-time as a grantwriter with very flexible work-from-home options.  Its not for everyone, but it worked for me in that I could be home and present with my kids during the day, had two 4-hour days/week in the office, and did most of the rest of the work from home, late at night, either while the kids were sleeping or when I was woken up for breastfeeding, baby in one arm, typing with the other.  I had worked for that boss before I had my kids, so there was an existing relationship that made it much easier to flex, but it really helped to keep my mind occupied, and the money was of course useful as well!  Good luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Mom or dad working part-time?

July 2008

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, please share: 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. Anon

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. Good luck! 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 you. burken

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+ from home. 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 anon

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. HR Manager

Stay at home mom returning to work - how to find part-time job?

May 2008

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 spend 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? Thanks! 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, I'd 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 while 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? ios

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. Mary

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. anon

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... Recruitment specialist

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! worker bee

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. Good luck! 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. Good luck with your search. amber

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 flexible/part-time work.

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 you're looking 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 somewhere.

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 happen, right? 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 Elizabeth

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. good luck

Requesting part-time from employer post-maternity

June 2007

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. anon

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. j

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! anon

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. Anon

How to find a part-time job that covers the cost of daycare

Sept 2006

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. Jenny

I've found that working as an Adult School teacher, teaching ESL at night, has been a 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 School 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 that 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. br

Finding satisfying part-time work once kids start school

Nov 2004

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. anon

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. Robbin

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! Francesca

Finding a flexible part-time job

Aug 2003

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 much appreciated.

Have you tried looking at 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! Hilary

UC staff who have changed to part-time?

Feb 1999

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. Marco

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.
Two points:
1. consider telecommuting in addition to or instead of reducing your work hours
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: Ginger

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.