Author Topic: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time  (Read 6750 times)

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Offline jancumps

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#184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« on: February 12, 2014, 03:29:54 pm »
C&D mentioned that it is close to impossible to convince your company to work part-time.
That's not my experience. I work part time since 1998. My current employer, whom i work with for 13 years now, is the 3rd one where I'm a part-timer.

Negotiations are tough, but once the leap is made it all works quite well.
It requires continuous 'maintenance' to keep it working well, but the balance is positive for both.

Every new project it is challenged that it is not feasable to have part-timers on the project, but that disappears after a week.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 04:03:58 pm »
That's very reassuring! I think now that I'm on my own, doing part time will seem like a more realistic situation...because I don't have time to do full time anymore!  ;D
 

Offline GiskardReventlov

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2014, 08:18:20 pm »
Holy crap!  No more car makers in Australia.  That's pretty big news.  What happened to make them flee? And is there anyone in Australia that can make cars? Why not an Aussie brand?  Seriously.

And what happens to the price of cars in Australia?

Dave mentioned these as reasons for the departure:
A. Import tariffs
B. weak australian dollar
C. higher than average wages
D. unable to compete with imports
E. lack of government subsidies

Unless the govt. is bat-shit crazy I would guess they tried behind the scenes very hard to make it work. But from a company's perspective it was probably decided by the numbers and no amount of subsidies was going to matter.

Running a company is hard and a big company goes beyond most people's imagination. It's more like a govt.  Anyway from a high level they need to be profitable. From my basic understanding of business there are things they do to stay profitable and viable and worthy of investors.

From best toward worst: (best gives the most bang for the buck)

1. make the business more efficient - consolidate and benefit from economy of scale and lots of other things

2.  do nothing -  sell cars - Prius and Camry and those vans they can't sell in U.S! (I would love one of those vans!)

3.  innovate - cost lots of money and profits don't show up until some later date, usually months and/or years



BTW good luck on getting your life back!  You will be wondering why you hadn't done this sooner. The sun'll come up tomorrow and the next day and you'll be fine. Losing the job's a blessing in disguise.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 08:19:37 pm »
I sit on the other side. I try to exclude part-timers from the team when possible.

The reasons are simple. There is a good chance they are not there in times of crisis. When the shit happens to hit the fan on the wrong day they are not there to pull their weight. And they force their schedule on the rest of the team "No, we can't have a team meeting on Friday, because I am never in on Friday! And we can't have it on Monday either."  Meh  :( That gets worse when it is not meetings but when others depend on the work of the part timer. And you can't quickly check some facts or get an answer if the need to know arises at the wrong day. They also underline moral, e.g. they like to rub it in that their work week already ends, i.e. a snotty "have a nice long weekend" on Thursday evening doesn't boost team moral. Or when they love to tell everyone what great things they did on their days off.

If I can't avoid part-timers, and I currently have one ..., they get the mop-up tasksand/or isolated tasks. Those no one likes to do, those that just need to get done, but where no one immediately depends on them.
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Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 08:30:52 pm »
TL;DR If you have to work with part timers, make sure you have their cell number and that they aren't a dick :D

For the most part, I agree. I think any part time arrangement (in engineering) needs to have an "emergency" call situation. However, the amount of emergency should always be balanced with, "If you're calling me to check if I read your email, you're going to get a smack down when I get back to the office" If I could really have my way, I would be on a proper "on call" situation as a consultant (with commensurate rates). That was another thing that was turned down. So I suppose my co-workers agree with you!
 

Offline jancumps

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 08:50:35 pm »
There might be some differences between my workplace and B@W's.
I get the same type of duties, responsibilities and career possibilities as my full time colleagues. And I don't behave like the part-timer he describes.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 09:00:48 pm »
Things change.

In years past, in medicine, it would have been inconceivable that a doctor - especially a primary care physician - would work "part time"- for many of the same reasons listed above for engineers.  Need to be available for emergencies, meetings, etc.   Now it is very common.  -

I work "3/4 time" (but still average about 40 hrs a week!) and so do about half of the docs in my office. But I am almost always available by cell phone even on my "days off".

I think part of the change in medicine has to do with more female physicians - who generally have a better concept of "work-life balance".  Part of it is also probably due to supply and demand - more jobs available than physicians to fill them.

 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2014, 09:25:18 pm »
That's a great point @mtdoc. In a world where we complain about fewer jobs, one of the solutions I've seen offered is "more jobs, less time" like you describe. I know I would gladly take that trade (obviously). It's all moving towards a freelance type economy, but i think many places will still want to maintain some semblance of loyalty by offering regular (smaller) checks.
 

Offline jancumps

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2014, 10:15:36 pm »
Oh - and Good Luck Chris!
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2014, 11:10:09 pm »
Interesting that those advocating that part time works so well are all part-timers. If you sit on the other side and have been screwed over and let down a few times by part-timers you start to think different.

Of course formally part-timers get the same career opportunities, otherwise they come up with some discrimination lawsuit shit.  But part-timers make it very clear that they aren't really interested in the job, it is just an annoyance to make some extra money while pursuing other interests. That and that e.g. a part-timer working only three days a week can formally only deliver a 60% performance compared to a full time worker. This does not promote their careers.

That 60% is just an ideal value. Such a part-timer deprives me of 40% of planning wiggle room. This create extra friction which one has to deduce from their 60% performance.

Oh, and by the way, treating patients is a bit different. The problems, known as patients, line up in one or more queues. The fronts of the queues are then being processed, one problem after the other, by one or more big cheese in a round-robin way. Each big cheese pushes a problems out of his surgery's door again after five minutes. Assigning the problem to another queue, sending it home or parking it somewhere. Special events, known as emergencies, can change the order / priority in which problems are processed.

If a particular queue processor, aka big cheese, aka MD, is absent another one processes his queue, or the problems are assigned to another queue, or the problems are sent home. All that is very different from developing a product in a team over some time.
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Offline jancumps

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2014, 11:25:51 pm »
A professional career is not a sum of working hours performed. A number of events happen that determine where the partnership between employer and employee is leading to. Performance in your role, stress resilience, partnership, taking responsibility and initiatives, being resourceful, the way you act in a company - all play a role.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 11:44:07 pm »
But part-timers make it very clear that they aren't really interested in the job, it is just an annoyance to make some extra money while pursuing other interests.

Generalize much ???

Interesting perspective coming from someone proclaiming to be "Bored at Work"....

Quote
. The problems, known as patients, line up in one or more queues. The fronts of the queues are then being processed, one problem after the other, by one or more big cheese in a round-robin way. Each big cheese pushes a problems out of his surgery's door again after five minutes. Assigning the problem to another queue, sending it home or parking it somewhere. Special events, known as emergencies, can change the order / priority in which problems are processed.

If a particular queue processor, aka big cheese, aka MD, is absent another one processes his queue, or the problems are assigned to another queue, or the problems are sent home.

This bears absolutely no resemblence to reality....

But of course engineering is very different than medicine - I never said otherwise. My point was just that cultures change.  The EE culture may currently be such that in many companies there is a taboo against part time employees. But this is most likely due to past cultural norms and some managers who can't move beyond past bad experiences with some part time employees (selectively forgetting similar bad experiences with full time employees!).

A good employee in many cases might bring more enthusiasm and value to their job if they have a good work-life balance .

Of course in any employment setting, managing a mix of  part time and full time employees requires a change in habits and presents new challenges and opportunities.. Not surprisingly a manager who is "bored at work" might not want to tackle that...

« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 11:46:42 pm by mtdoc »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 11:54:31 pm »
Unless the govt. is bat-shit crazy

Yes, our current government led by Tony Abbott is certifiably bat-shit crazy.
http://shitabbottsays.com/

 
 

Offline GiskardReventlov

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2014, 02:16:12 am »
Yes, our current government led by Tony Abbott is certifiably bat-shit crazy.

Wow, that's funny but sad too.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2014, 07:20:37 am »
Should I describe the part-timers I have to deal with? OK, here we go.

Currently I have the poster child of part-timers. Almost the prototype others are cut from. An elderly lady who doesn't need to work because her husband is a professor at a local university. Facts she is not shy of telling everyone. After they raised their kids she was apparently looking for a hobby. And she decided that her hobby would be to work three days / week posing as an engineer. Probably also so she can brag among their female friends what an independent, well educated modern woman she is.

Now, I also have a single mother in the team. She needs to work, because the child's father doesn't pay child support.  She is great and very hard working. Can you imagine how well the behavior of that elderly lady sits with her? Do I want to be in that cross-fire? No, I don't want to. I don't want that challenge and I don't want to spin it into a great opportunity.

The elderly lady is by fare not the first part-timer I have to deal with. I had several very similar to her. Thanks to the local universities she isn't even the first "but I am a professor's wife" I had to deal with. I also had guys just earning some pocket money. Or the one who was busy building a boat to sail the seven seas. One day he changed his mind, bought a ticket to Japan and disappeared for almost a year. And the list goes on.

Work-life balance? That is just a buzzword. Great for those who can afford to make work into all fun and play or just do less work. For those who can't afford it work-live balance is a dangerous thing. Because then it isn't balanced. It it just means that even more work related items intrude into their private lives. Like having to be available 24h on the cell phone.
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Offline Smokey

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2014, 08:48:57 am »
I used to work with a guy that was part time.  It was a terrible arrangement and nothing ever seemed to get done.

Just to clarify, he was always there every day.......but he only really did any work part of the time (if that).

 :palm:
 

Online SeanB

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2014, 06:16:46 pm »
Well done Chris on the change in status, good luck and smooth sailing there.  At least you will have company, and might even see your child growing up.

Funny thing is that whjen I order from RS the order is invariable packed and checked by the same person. Always see on the packing slip - Packed/Checked by Elvis.
 

Offline robrenz

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2014, 06:23:51 pm »
Chris, I don't believe in luck so best wishes :-+  I took that step about 25 years ago and never looked back.  Irregular cash flow is the only negative I can think of.  But greater irregular cash flow is better than smaller regular cash flow in my book ;D.

Online dr.diesel

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2014, 08:09:46 pm »
I did the same myself last March.  Now spending my time retired with a "side job" of working.

Good luck, you won't be sorry.    :-+

Offline lewis

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2014, 12:13:55 am »
Should I describe the part-timers I have to deal with? OK, here we go.

I have inferred from your posts that you are in a position of hiring members of your team. If this is the case, then why not fire the elderly woman if she is not "pulling her weight"? More interestingly, why hire her in the first place?

Also, for some people, work is just an obstacle on the road to adventure in someone's life. Work, for some, is not the be-all and end-all of existence: some people really do live for the weekend and don't give a shit about work. I have no problem with that per-se, and neither should you. I was very much like that myself in my youth, but as someone who runs my own business it is very important I identify these people and allocate their role in the team accordingly to make the best use of their capabilities.

As for part-timers, they can be incredibly useful in providing short-term relief during a busy period, or where there is not sufficient demand to hire them permanently. Part timers can be very useful to a business, but I would certainly not make them part of a team connected with an important project where their employment status would be at odds with their ability to do the job.

If you are in the position of hiring/firing individuals or even building a team, then it seems you have been mis-allocating resources and getting it wrong. If you're not in that position, then I'm afraid you'll have to put up with whatever your boss tells you to do.

Something you'll never need to do if you're self employed.

I'm with Robrenz - best wishes to Chris!
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2014, 12:21:22 am »
Chris, I don't believe in luck so best wishes :-+ 

What's the difference between luck and wishing?   ;D

Offline GiskardReventlov

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2014, 06:14:09 am »
@Bored@Work, the other poster concluded that you are able to make hiring decisions, from what I read I'd guess you don't have the final word on hiring. Anyway I appreciate your posts and completely understand why you are sour on part-time employees.  But it sounds like you got a bad batch of part-timers and it also sounds like you have no choice. You are in a tough spot. The only recourse you have is to keep explicit, detailed documentation so your ass is covered.

Ironically after reading all this I'm going to try to get some part-time work. My problem is that I actually care about any job I do and feel that if I take a job then I've made a comittment to carry it through come hell or high water.  I won't take the job if I can't commit. I will make sure that expectations are set in advance.

How many meetings am I expected to attend per week.
If I attend a meeting on a day I'd normally be off then that time gets subtracted from my next week or do I get paid extra.
I might add that if the schedule near the deadline becomes hectic then I would be willing to add more hours.

I'd try to be flexible and reasonable but also try and get expectations set up front, otherwise I just won't take the job.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2014, 06:58:09 am »
Luck is a serendipitous  happenstance, a chance outcome. Unless you think you can control everything you are bound to experience luck from time to time. Good or bad.

But you need to be in a position to give luck a chance of happening.
Chris will never get lucky and win lotto, because he never plays lotto :->
And I wouldn't have gotten "lucky" at changing my career to bumming around making videos instead of working for the man, without having put in the hard yards making hundreds of videos consistently.
Chris is now in a position to capitalise on many forms of luck that may come his way (except for the lotto thing :->)
 

Offline Simon

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Re: #184 – Chris Becomes Self Employed – Part Time
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2014, 03:41:45 pm »
I'm taking one hour a day off since my employer asked for people to volunteer to reduce hours, working fine so far, maybe one day I'll tell them to take more back :)
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