Many women worry that going part time will derail their career or that they will work a full schedule and only be paid for a percentage of it. Others worry they won’t get benefits.

But going part time might give you the space you need to be who you are right now, and it doesn’t have to be permanent. Life and career coach Johanna Beyer tells us that taking a break, or in this case, working differently — can be good for your career. It gives you the space to potentially be even more creative. And there’s no doubt you’ll be more prioritized, efficient and productive.

What it might take is some proactive management on your part. And you thought asking and getting a part time schedule was enough. Nope! It’s just the beginning — you’ll need to navigate the part time waters from here to get the results you want during the part time period and beyond.

The good news is, it can be done and it can work for you, your family and your job. It definitely doesn’t have to mean the death of your career.

We’ve learned a lot from all the smart women who have interviewed with us or contributed to Maybrooks. Here is some of their wisdom to help you with this journey.

BE ASSURED THERE WILL BE A FUTURE

First and foremost, know that a switch to part time does not mean your career will not progress.

Karen Brewer, chief marketing officer at software company Ellucian, spent seven years working part-time basis while her kids were young before transitioning back to full time and becoming CMO. “My specialty was filling a gap with small companies to help them plan and successfully launch products. I learned how difficult it was to work 20 hours a week and spend the rest of the time being a mother to three boys. That was probably the most challenging time in my life!” Read Karen’s story here.

MANAGE YOUR PHONE

Andrea K. Garry, PhD., Human Capital Senior Consultant successfully pitched — and got — a part time schedule with Deloitte: 

“I try to turn my “work brain” off when I am at home with my daughter. To that end, I am strict with myself to not check work emails when she is awake and keep my phone on mute. I also have my “out of office” email reply on and my Outlook calendar blocked, so others will see and get notified that I am not available. This helps me feel less concerned about not answering an email or phone call right away.” Read more about the before and after of part time for Andrea here.

PROTECT YOUR TIME

Bria Martin of Ultragenyx isn’t part time but she fiercely protects the hours she sets aside for her children — a prime example you can model for any schedule. “Soon, everyone got used to my new working norm and respected it, as well as me for prioritizing my family,” Bria says. Read Bria’s story here.

BE SELECTIVE ABOUT NEW PROJECTS

Part of protecting your time is being selective about the new projects that will come your way. Deloitte’s Andrea says it’s important to be clear with colleagues and that they’ll appreciate a firm ‘no’ more anyway. There will be many opportunities that continue to come your way. Here are some tips to help you turn them down.

Regarding benefits, be sure to ask your human resources team. Many companies do support benefits for part timers.

If you need help pitching a flexible schedule, be sure to check out our other resources here. Good luck!

Après is a career resource for women returning to work after a break or transitioning within the workforce. Reconnect with your professional self — search jobs, get inspired, find resources, and refresh your skills. Join our community of women helping women.

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