How should one start a discussion about working less hours in order to start taking care of a parent?

The scenario is that this person (I am asking for) is 52 years old and is a manager (office, marketing related) for a large media company for 26 years. Salary is $57k.

He feels he has risen as far as he can go and works 60+ hours per week on-site plus 15-20 hours at home. (He never wanted to be a manager but he's also not very technical ... he started in consumer phone support.)

He has no siblings and his parents are mid-70's and showing signs of dementia. He's been advised they'll start to need a caretaker in a few years and perhaps 24/7 care in 8-12 years.

They have some money but certainly not enough to purchase residency, for even one parent, at a nursing home, which is not an appealing option regardless.

He has some ideas for a home-based business to supplement his income and wants to reduce his work hours to a 50-hour on-site work week.

Any tips how and when to approach this situation?

  • What is his relationship with his management at work? That can open up more options. Sep 10, 2019 at 1:27
  • @UnhandledExcepSean Very fair question, I don't know but isn't it safe to assume it's irrelevant as the manager certainly has no concern about his burnout?... or him earning a salary closer to double the salary a person who works 70+ hours for 26 years should perhaps make (70,80k?) Sep 10, 2019 at 1:33
  • 1
    Why should we make those assumptions? You didn't provide those details in the question. For all I know, he's a workaholic or hates his home life or finds his work terribly rewarding or whatever. Sep 10, 2019 at 1:41
  • Possible duplicate of How do I tell my boss I don't want to keep working extra?
    – gnat
    Sep 10, 2019 at 5:20
  • 6
    I think this is the wrong question to be asking. The question is not about working less hours to take care of a parent, but either working less hours or being adequately compensated. An annual salary of $57,000 and working 75 hours a week results in an hourly rate of $14.61, which isn't much about minimum wage in some places. It's definitely not an appropriate hourly rate for someone who has 26 years of experience, especially at the company. Even simply working 40 hours per week, I'm not sure the salary is appropriate for a manager with the level of experience you describe. Sep 10, 2019 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


The whole question is pretty weird. As a comment points out, it is a good salary only until you consider it is a 75+ hour week.

Given the 26 years of experience and the manager position, this definitely seems like this person is being terribly exploited by the company. If that is the scenario, it is very unlikely they'll agree to reducing the working hours.

I would suggest using all of the experience to find a suitable position at another company, where they can accommodate the reduced working hours.

  • What's your opinion about the chances for a low-50's aged man to find another position that hopefully pays the same has has less hours. Sep 13, 2019 at 23:27
  • @RandyZeitman given he has at least 26 years of experience, I would say they are pretty good
    – espindolaa
    Sep 14, 2019 at 14:59

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