Part-Time Work: Jean’s Story
“WHY” are you navigating the part-time jungle and “HOW” did you find your part-time job and “HOW” have you made your job fit your juggle?
Jean is a mom of two kiddos who is currently working closer to full-time hours and who is hoping to return to more of a part-time position! I met Jean through my Dad as they used to work together in the oil and gas sector.
We have interacted from time to time but recently I had the privilege of sitting down with Jean to have an amazing conversation over coffee about all things work and motherhood. She is incredibly warm and kind and with both of us being “boy mamas” we also had lots to talk about in terms of the joys and challenges of raising young men.
Jean is a mom who has navigated the part-time jungle and I am so appreciative that she is willing to share her story!
In her own words, here is Jean’s “WHY” and “HOW”:
What is Your “Why”?
Why do you want to work part-time and why have worked at the part-time jobs that you have had?
I am a mom of two amazing, beautiful teenage boys and I want to work part-time because they’ll be boys for only a short time. Next time I blink, they’ll be taking on the world as adults and I want to give them all the guidance and support I can before that happens. I love being here for them and with them mornings before they head off to school. I know they’ve started their day with healthy food in their bellies (most days) and a healthy dose of mom love. I want to be here for them when they arrive home again. Honestly, most days they don’t feel like sharing then, but when they do these are important conversations and connections. They are testing out independence and navigating a world of bigger choices and more complex decisions. I’m their sounding board. Their anchor in storms. But also their mama bird giving them the push and confidence to fly.
Working bring lots of benefits: mental challenges, creating change, different sense of purpose, collaboration and interaction with other adults, not to mention the needed pay cheque. Working part-time has allowed me the opportunities to grow and contribute in so many ways without sacrificing my family time. Until recently, I worked for an amazing non profit that recognized the benefit of having women work part-time, and valued family to the nth degree.
What is Your “How”?
How did you find your part-time job? How did you make working part-time fit with your juggle?
I didn’t find this job so much as I “made” it. Six years ago, after taking some time to be a full-time mom and part-time volunteer, I was looking to go back to part-time work. I did not particularly want to re-enter the world of oil and gas where I had spent my early career (regular travel is a major drawback). I envisioned my skills and experience successfully applied in different fields, and started to explore career possibilities that might bring a larger sense personal fulfillment.
Initiating a Conversation
I sat down with the executive director of a non profit near and dear to my heart, one where I’d been volunteering for 10 years. An adoption agency is pretty far removed from oil and gas, but before the end of that conversation we recognized together that my skill set was a perfect fit with their needs, and the process of creating a new position for me at the agency was initiated. There was one small obstacle to overcome… no money to pay for a new employee! Not a problem, but rather an opportunity to demonstrate success right out of the gate. Initially volunteering my time, I worked to secure financial sources from fundraisers and grants to secure the newly created position.
Making this job work for my juggle was easy, thanks to amazingly supportive leadership at the agency. I asked for 60% FTE and was granted this. I primarily worked from a home office and set hours that fit with our family life, scheduling occasional overnight trips around the boys’ dad’s schedule. If I ever needed extra time off (without pay) during school breaks at Christmas, Easter or for a few weeks in the summer, it was never denied. So I got to hug my precious boys mornings before they raced out to catch the school bus, and I was here for them (whether they noticed or not) when they stormed the house mid-afternoon. I loved my work and the passionate women I worked with!
Change is Tough
Sadly financial challenges of running a non profit are a reality, and after 5 years the agency could no longer afford to fund my position. After spending several months sharing my juggle struggle and my goals with friends, networking with connections going back 20 years (am I really that old?) and searching online job boards (definitely not a source of professional part-time positions) searching for another part-time job where I could use my skills and experience and be compensated somewhat commensurate to what I bring to the table (I don’t expect a lot, after all I worked in non profit!), I became very disheartened.
After 6 months of searching, I received a job offer for a temporary position. At 32 hours a week it’s not really my definition of part-time, but I will use my skills and be challenged to stretch them. More importantly, this job is a foot in the door to a large organization where fingers crossed I will find or create a fulfilling part-time opportunity when my term comes to a close (job share, anyone?). So starting next week, I will see my boys briefly in the mornings and they will be the ones to greet me with a hug when I come through the door in the afternoon.
“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.”
Thanks for sharing your story Jean! 🙂
Please share your story! I would love to hear your “Why” and “How”. It’s easier to navigate the part-time jungle when you know you’re not alone.
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