I don’t know if you are like me, but I definitely think that there are a lot of other things to do besides working to fulfill one’s life. Just as finding a job that you like is important, I think that being able to strike a balance between your life at work and at home is very important. I’m very lucky as I don’t think about my day job after I leave my office. But still, the more time I spend outside work, the more I feel satisfied by my life.
But Mike, Don’t You Love Your Job?
I do love my day job. In fact, each Monday, I look forward to going into the office and turning on my computer. But I get more rewards from life by spending time with my family, working on my online income or simply walking outside on a sunny day. I guess I like my job even more since I’m working 4 days a week. With this type of schedule, I’m able to enjoy life at work while having a lot of free time to do whatever I want at home. Since I work 4 days a week, I’ve become more productive and enjoy every single minute at work. Recently, I got a promotion and this “benefit” has to be renegotiated again.
I told you about the dream crashers who keep trying to tell me that I’m a lucky dog to work 4 days a week and such a schedule shouldn’t even be accepted. Guess what; I got the same refrain when I got my promotion. Technically, a promotion means better income and more hours at work. Lol! I definitely don’t think this way! I would rather take an approach where I work less hours and make more money (sounds kinda cool, doesn’t it?).
At my previous job, I had been able to negotiate the non-negotiable: working 30 hours a week but with a full salary. The downside was that I had to bring in the same level of numbers as a regular employee with 20% less time at work. I ended-up being the best performer last year so I was able to get pretty much whatever I wanted. The trick is that I am now changing departments and regions. Therefore, nobody knows me at my new job and are a bit reluctant to give me the same benefits.
This is the very question I had to ask myself. I knew that getting paid for hours that I don’t work would not be a possibility anymore (there’s a limit of what you can suck from your employer apparently 😉 ). So I had to look at different options:
Give up 20% of my salary: This is how I originally presented my case to get my 4 day work week. In fact, I was smarter than that: I offered a 13% cut in exchange of a 13% hours drop so I can manage a 4 days work week easier. When you think about it, 13% cut is not the end of the world and you save 1 day of work. Just what I saved on the cost of transportation was helping me to overcome this 13% cut. But this time, I’m not too keen on cutting my income as I really want to pay off my debts (that’s part of my 2012 financial goals).
Work the same hours but over 4 days: Another common option when you want to work 4 days per week is to work the same hours but over 4 days instead of 5. This implies that you come in early and leave late. It actually sounds like the perfect compromise for now. Since I’m working 5 minutes from my house, this won’t be complicated to start at7am and finish at5pm 3 days a week. The last day, I’ll do a “late shift” and work from 7am to 8pm. It’s not ideal, but I used to work a similar late shift at my previous job where I was working 1h15 away from my house.
Abandon my 4 days workweek: Aaaahhhhh! I know this is a possibility. In fact, it’s not a possibility for me, but my new boss may just tell me to shut up and work. I wouldn’t like that as I would be put in a place where I had to think about my future in this firm vs. working full time on my sites. If my boss is too rigid about it, I will offer the following: a test drive for 3 months where I work 4 days a week. The key will be to a) bring numbers and b) make sure all my clients are happy. Given my current career path (I’ve been in the top 5 out of 100 planners for the past 3 years while working 4 days a week), I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to negotiate at least 1 quarter as a trial period. If it really doesn’t work, my other option will be to work like a darn donkey for a year or so with both my day job and my company. After 12-18 months, I should be able to get a huge bonus from my day job and then be able to quit while continuing my quest to financial freedom with my online company. But let’s not figure on the worst case scenario for now ;-).
Find another alternative: In my field, there is only 1 rule for negotiation and 1 rule for evaluation. The good news is that it’s the same rule for both: bring in the numbers. As long as you are a performer, you can ask pretty much anything you’d like. So among my other alternatives, I would have to go to school for a while during my day job and still bring the same level of numbers. This is another trick I did when I did my MBA every Friday’s. If I can proof that I can work 4 days a week and bring the same level of business as my colleagues, I’ll be granted with the 4 days work week on an official basis.
I can’t tell you how magical it is to have 3 days of vacation per week! It fuels you with energy, ideas and motivation. I’ve become way more productive at my day job and online company as well as having more free time to spend with my family. Have you tried working 4 days a week? What would you be willing to do in order to get this kind of schedule?
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