So you’ve given the full-time, back-to-work-with-baby thing a real shot. But in the words of Katrina Alcorn, author of “Maxed Out: American Moms On The Brink,” you’re “leaning in so hard that you fall over.”
Does this sound like you?
It’s a stressful time. You may be walking around with a lethal combo of sleep deprivation, a hellish commute and the emotional rollercoaster ride that happens whenever you leave your baby who cries for you to stay. You’ve reached that place where you Need. More. Flexibility.
Welcome to life as a member of the juggling class. While having offspring isn’t the only reason people want or need more flexible schedules, it’s one of the major motivations driving women to seek out more flexible work.
How to find more flexible jobs is something we’ve talked about before. But today we’re focused on how to get more of what you want by staying put.
If you like your job and company but just feel like something’s gotta give, you should consider negotiating for more flexibility alongside a new job search. You may not think your company or job will accommodate a different kind of schedule. But you don’t know until you ask, and if you’ve started looking already, the worst that can happen is that you know where you stand.
Here are some general guidelines for how to negotiate for more job flexibility:
Pat Katepoo has built a business advising working mothers and others about how to negotiate more flexibility. Her success story is inspiring. As she tells it:
"While working full-time in a salaried healthcare position...I proposed to the Executive Director (ED) a four-day workweek without a cut in my compensation.
The response? He was stridently opposed. (The ED was a strident guy all-around — feared by many — so his response was consistent with his style.) Within the same hour of negotiations, during which I made a solid case for the market value of my job role, I instead suggested a five percent reduction in pay to go along with my request for a 20 percent reduction in hours.
He agreed! Almost readily. Full employee benefits intact besides. Later, I concluded that saving money, even a relatively small amount, is what appealed to him."
What Pat suggests is to have options and different strategies to get more flexibility. There are some situations that make negotiation easier, of course. If your role is unique, if you’ve had the same manager for a few years and are considered valuable and a high-performer, you obviously have a lot of things going for you.
If you’re not in that situation, it may be harder, but not impossible.
Many companies these days understand that even though flexibility may be a bit of an annoying adjustment on their part, it may also help them retain women — and men.
So lean sideways, girl. And we wish for you balance that’s easier to hold than a Crow Pose. Namaste.
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