17

I'm a software developer and I really like my job. I mean I really really really like my job. I have a great work environment, I work on creative projects, I work the standard full-time gig: 40-50 hours per week, 3 weeks vacation, sick time, the usual benefits. I'm based in the USA.

The thing is, I'm in my early 60s and I'm starting to think about retirement. I enjoy the work but I want to spend more time working on other interests and aspects of my remaining life. But I still want to work for the same employer.

I figure if I could work 3 days per week with 3 months of paid or unpaid leave a year I could do that until I die. Salary and bennies would be commensurately reduced, of course.

How do I convince my employer to agree to this?

  • Why the downvote? – empty Feb 1 '18 at 21:30
  • I would assume the reason for the downvote is because there's nothing any of us can do for you. You already have everything figured out and all that's missing is you saying the exact same thing to your manager. Good luck. PS: I did not DV – Isaiah3015 Feb 1 '18 at 22:42
  • Might freelance work not be an option? – Jeroen Feb 2 '18 at 15:24
  • What makes you think you can't suggest this to your employer? There must be some reason why you're reluctant. – user8365 Feb 2 '18 at 16:35
  • Update: I got the 3 days a week and held off on asking for 3 months unpaid leave per year. I may revisit this in a couple of years time. As it is, having a 4 day weekend is pure joy. – empty Nov 27 '18 at 22:23
15

Sell it as a good thing for the company. They will retain your knowledge and input for longer. If you kept working full time you would have to completely retire in the not too distant future and this won't be as good for them.

4

Take exactly what you said and talk it over with your boss. Seriously, you worded it perfectly, especially about how much you like your job. They may or may not agree but I think the way you put it here is just about perfect.

3

Based on the content of the question, I am assuming the OP is in the US.

It's very hard to guess how you could convince your employer this was good for them too, as we have no idea what you do, the nature of the projects you work on, etc.

However I do want to suggest you strongly reconsider requesting 3 months vacation.

As a manager I could cope with reduced regular work hours from a good, current employee, but having to work around an employee who will be fully gone 3 months out of the year would be a complete dealbreaker, due to added complexity of project planning and resource allocation. If you are in the US I think that's very hard to sell.

  • I don't understand your concerns. In Germany, 1.5 months (about 30 days) of vacation (plus official holidays and any sick days) are common. Three months is not that much more. Why can't a manager cope with that? – Roland Feb 2 '18 at 9:50
  • 1
    because this employer is not in Germany, and is accustomed to working around employees having 3 weeks of vacation. There is a massive pacing and cultural difference at work here. – user82434 Feb 2 '18 at 10:00
  • 1
    I am saying that for US employers, you have to be really USEFUL. Being gone for 3 months out of the year makes you less USEFUL because they have to work around that when planning projects and resources (something I have not seen German employers really do). I don't expect you to understand that if you are German and have never worked in a US office, but it's just true. You'd have to be a really key (ie irreplaceable) developer to pull this off with the overwhelming majority of US employers. – user82434 Feb 2 '18 at 10:09
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    he has three weeks of vacation and he can imagine working at this company til he dies if he can reduce his schedule ;) He is definitely NOT in Germany. So? – user82434 Feb 2 '18 at 10:12
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    Based on the content of the question, I think the OP is located in the US, and yes I do have work experience in the US, ergo my suggestions. I currently live and work in Germany and if I thought the OP was located in this country, I would have offered completely different advice. Really, I don't know what your beef is. Muster your German directness and say exactly what you think I should change about my answer, instead of offering endless back and forth, ok? – user82434 Feb 2 '18 at 10:18
2
  1. Get the employee handbook and read all the relevant policies. Make sure you know what all the existing rules are. These include qualification for benefits, pro-rating of bonus, vacation, etc.
  2. Carefully try to find out whether someone else has done something similar already. If yes, talk to them privately and find out how it went and what the issues are
  3. Understand the financial implications for the company. Your cost to the company is significantly larger than your salary: they pay benefits, in particular health care, your work materials, office rents, general overhead (payroll, HR, IT,etc). Be aware that these overhead costs are mostly constant and regardless of how many hours you work. That means part time employees of often significantly more expensive (per hour worked) than full time employees.
  4. If there is someone in HR you trust, approach them and talk through potential options how to structure this.
  5. Come up with a specific proposal (or better: a few different proposals) and approach your manager. You may need to demonstrate some financial concessions, e.g. willing to pick up a higher percentage of you health insurance. Adjust as needed
  6. Look at alternatives: if part time doesn't work, consider becoming a free lancer or consultant for the company. This is good for the company since it's more flexible and it shifts the overhead management to you. You can certainly ask for a rate that makes it "net neutral" to the company. Example: let's say you currently make 100k and the company pays another 60k in overheads. At 1600 work hours a year, that's about $100/hour. Something like that.
1

Maybe it would fit your employer better if you offered some kind of flexible/freelancing approach where you would work a set number of days per year which are then scheduled depending on the current needs of the company. Maybe easier to just offer 120 days/year on a freelancing basis than getting 3 month vacation approved.

Think about these kinds of work arrangements also. Then, when you talk to your employer and you see he is not too pleased with your original idea, you have an alternative plan to offer.

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