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How to get a raise when you negotiate a part-time arrangement

Work fewer hours and get paid more? Sounds like a dream arrangement! With a keen strategy and skillful negotiation, it can be a reality.

For this purpose, the term 'raise' reflects a boost in relative dollars, not absolute dollars. That is, your new, pro-rated salary, though lower to correspond with fewer hours worked, would translate into a substantially higher hourly rate.

As an example, in my own experience years ago, while working full-time in a salaried position, I proposed a four-day workweek and requested my compensation not be cut at all. It was vehemently opposed.

But, within the same hour of negotiations, I instead suggested a 5% reduction in pay to go along with my request for a 20% reduction in hours worked per week.

It was inexplicably accepted with little hesitation, employee benefits intact besides.

I was thrilled! When figured on an hourly basis, this was essentially a double-digit raise. That, along with the 'extra' weekday off, really kicked my job satisfaction up several notches.

I've had acquaintances and some Flex Success users negotiate similar arrangements.

Sound like a gutsy move? It is. But, think about whether you can pull it off. How well it might go depends on:

Timing - Can you time your negotiation with your regularly scheduled performance review and merit raise? Or, after successfully completing a major project with which your boss is well-pleased?

Your perceived value - Is there a shortage of candidates in your job category and/or do you offer a unique combination of skills and experience that strengthens your negotiating leverage? I had both these factors going for me in my situation.

Which work responsibilities you will retain - A four day workweek allows for better retention of your key responsibilities over a three day workweek, and will likely allow you to ask for more of what you want.

The quality of your relationship with your boss - A supportive and appreciative boss is a key factor. In my case, while my immediate boss was supportive, the real decision-maker with whom I had to negotiate had a condescending and combative management style. Yet, I was able to swing the deal. So remember, anything is possible!

A good scenario: If you have been at your job for more than three years with the same boss with whom there is a high degree of mutual respect and good communication, plus formal (performance reviews, raises) and informal acknowledgment of your high-level responsibilities and achievements, you have a favorable environment for proposing a four day workweek with less than a 20% salary cut.

Especially if you are the only one in your job category and if you restructure your job to continue to maintain key responsibilities.

While I recognize the limitations imposed on civil service workers and union members in striking such a deal, for others, the opportunity is ripe for creative salary negotiations.

As the diet ads say, "Individual results may vary." Evaluate the risks/payoff equation for yourself. Do a reality check with trusted friends about your prospects of successfully crafting this compensation coup. The payoff is worth it!

Note to Flex Success users: Remember, you can request a complimentary coaching session to help you assess your situation or to aid you in making your request.


Pat Katepoo is founder of WorkOptions.com and the developer of the electronic workbook, Flex Success: A Proposal Blueprint & Planning Guide for Getting a Family-Friendly Work Schedule.







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