I’m a software developer working 5 days a week and I’d like to reduce that to 3 or 4 days a week so that I have more time to work on starting my own business. I’d like to stay at my current employer (an early stage startup) because I enjoy working there and switching jobs too soon would not look good on my CV (obviously it doesn’t matter if you’re starting your own business but I want to have something to fall back on if needs be).
We will be raising more money and then hiring one or more developers soon so I want ask to switch to part time work before that happens so that my reduction in hours can be factored into hiring decisions. I think my request is more likely to be accepted that way.
However I can’t think of a compelling reason for them to let me reduce my hours. I’m happy to take a decrease in salary and benefits in proportion to my reduction in hours but the fact that that would save them money seems like a bad argument because I wouldn’t be employed if my time wasn’t more valuable to them than my salary. Also the company is keen to have much more developer resource than it currently does anyway.
The best argument I can think of is that they would retain my skills and knowledge of the product for longer compared to if I started working part-time elsewhere. I feel uneasy about this argument though as it seems somewhat like a threat and I probably wouldn’t follow through on it (not for a long time at least). Answers to similar questions on this site give this advice but I don’t think that’s workable here.
Also I’m concerned that my request to work less hours might potentially be seen as a sign that I’m not focused or dedicated enough to growing the company and I would be seen less favourably as a result (for context I have declined requests in the past to work weekends in the run up to deadlines although there were no repercussions from this so perhaps I’m being paranoid?).
When I discuss with my manager that I want to switch to part time work what arguments and accommodations could I make to convince them allow it? And how do I approach asking in a way that won’t make members of the team feel that I’m not dedicated or “pulling in the same direction”?