I am currently reading a book.
It’s called “Let my people go surfing” by the Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard.
I’m at the bit where he is writing about the realisation that his business was no longer small: “One thing I did not want to change, even if we got serious: Work had to be enjoyable on a daily basis. We all had to come to work on the balls of our feet and go up the stairs two steps at a time. We all needed to have flextime to surf the waves when they were good, or ski the powder after a big snowstorm, or stay home and take care of a sick child. We needed to blur that distinction between work and play and family”.
It suggests two things to me….
- Do what you love.
- Do it on terms that suit you and keep you happy.
The first one could be the basis for a whole essay, as it’s tough to know what it is that you would consistently love doing.
Then to be wily enough to get paid for doing it.
So I’m going to breeze past that and instead talk about doing what you do, on terms that suit you and keep you happy.
I work four days a week and feel privileged to be included in this year’s Power Part Time list compiled by Timewise, a business focused on matching talent to flexible work opportunities, set up by Karen Mattison and Emma Stewart.
The list is in its fifth year and celebrates people at the top of their profession, who work on a part-time basis. It aims to bust the myth that working part time means an end to ambition and achievement.
If there is any thought that you can only go part time once you have the power, I would disagree. I was promoted to Head of Strategy at BBH London, while on four days a week.
I accepted the exciting offer to work at LEON, on four days a week.
If there is a question about only being able to move to part time once you have a legitimate ‘other thing to do’ for example studying, setting up your own business, a constructive hobby ….then I would challenge it.
I do not have any ‘other thing to do’, it’s that I want some balance and working four days helps me be a Mum. We are after all human beings, not human doings: it is ok not to have every day filled with constructive activity.
If there is a consideration that part time means you cannot engage as much as full time, well that’s flawed in my view. If you are part time you need to get your team working brilliantly together – they need your full attention when you are there and you need their full support when you are not.
Away from myths and back to Chouinard’s quote, there is something I believe to be truth which is that knowing yourself, so you can work in a way that suits you and blurs the distinction between work and play and family, is a great thing.
It keeps you authentic and can help reduce politics and ego in the workplace.
Who doesn’t want that?
At LEON we support flexible working across the business and want to employ people to be themselves, as that way we are guaranteed to have family members who are full of sun and create positive relationships.
Admittedly part time is not possible for everyone.
But within full time you can still find ways of working that suit you.
Four long days, one short.
A day working from a(nother) happy place, that’s not the office.
An early start, a late finish but a long lunch in the middle.
Fixed hours, worked flexibly.
We are in an age when talent is extremely valuable, time is prized and given you can customise the majority of your life, it makes sense that tailoring work to suit you and keep you happy is the next smartest step.