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Resource: Career Advice
Making the Part-Time Transition
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

If it's been a while since you've worked a part-time shift, it can be hard to acclimate to the new schedule. Part-time employment is run on a completely different set of rules. It offers flexibility that full-time work often can't.

There has been a recent increase of workers looking for part-time positions in order to accomodate their changing lifestyles. Meeting the expectations of a 40-hour work week while juggling a list of other demands can be overwhelming, to say the least.

Switching to part-time work doesn't have to result in part-time pay. Working two part-time shifts works for many people who like the change of scenery and want to expand their experience in different industries.

Transitioning into part-time work is easiest when it makes the most sense. Think about your reasons for wanting to make the move. Is your current full-time job cutting into your family time? Are you feeling burnt out from the workload? Perhaps you want some time to get back in the classroom and want plenty of time to study. Get a good understanding for why part-time appeals to you so that you will be able to convince both yourself and your boss.

Once you know your own reasons for the change you need to get to know the nature of the part-time work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 25 percent of all working women in the U.S. work part-time. This will help you get your point across and your boss to make his decision. Learn as much about what being a part-time worker is like, and if possible, get some insight from someone who works part-time at your company.

Imagine what part-time life for you would look like. Would you be working 25, 30, 35 hour weeks? Depending on the type of job, some part-time work can allow you to work from home or at locations outside of the office. Figure out what your ideal part-time work situation would be like and see if your current boss would be willing to go along with it.

After much giving the idea much thought, it's time to prepare your pitch. Your boss will want reassurance that you're going to be just as good of a worker as you already are. Two main concerns will be your productivity and your accessibility. Schedule a time to discuss your plan so that you both have a fair opportunity to lay out your views and concerns.

In the case that your company isn't into the idea of cutting down your hours, propose the idea of a trial period from one to three months. If they agree to that, make sure you stick to your end of the bargain by showing them how well this new situation can work for the both of you.

What Not to Say In a Perfromance Review
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Were you ever one of those kids who got butterflies when you knew your report card was coming?  A performance review can bring up those same butterflies because you're being critiqued on how well you performed based on others' standards and expectations. Finding out these results can be very stressful when it comes to your livelihood.
A performance review doesn't have to a be a negative experience though. It's really just an evaluation of what's been done, both good and bad, and how this information can help you and your supervisor in the future.
The point of any kind of progress report is to find areas for improvement. It's a good opportunity for you and your team to assess the positive changes that can be made on everyone's behalf. It also points out the good that you've done.
Peformance reviews can be nerve-wracking as it is. The last thing you want to worry about is harming your career in this kind of situation. To avoid coming of your review with your foot in your mouth, here are six things that should never be said during it:
How did I do?
Asking this is risky because you're inviting someone to point out your flaws. You can still get a positive response but why take the chance if what they end up sharing with you is mostly negative? They'll bring up anything they feel is necessary to so leave the questions to them.
How can I do things better?
This question also solicits extra criticism. Instead of asking them to tell you what you can do better, offer them your own ideas. Suggest ways that you can contribute more productively and improve the company as a whole.
I'll work on that.
This doesn't say much in terms of wanting to make efforts of improvement. When your supervisor points out an area that he or she would like you to work on, ask them how. Allow them to explain the direction they want to see you go in. This is your chance to get everything out on the table so don't leave anything out. It'll show that you're genuinely interested and concerned with improving your performance.
Can I have a raise?
Performance reviews are not a time to ask for raises since it's only a chance for you and your supervisor to sit down and reflect on things. A better time would be schedule a one-on-one appointment where you can make your points and discuss the issue of a raise specifically. The performance review is a great way to outline these points to bring up later.
I don't feel challenged.
Even if you're feeling bored you can still turn it into a positive outcome. Point out the things you've been able to do well and other areas that you can make more stimulating. You might want to demonstrate to your boss that you're ready to take on new tasks and challenges, but make sure that you don't mention wanting to reliquish any of your current responsibilties. You want them to see that you feel ready to tackle it all, not just the things you prefer.
A review is only successful when it's interactive and you're engaged in it. By not preparing for it you can expect things to not go as smoothly. Before your review you should conduct your a self-review for any questions or concerns that come up. Without any feedback on your part, you'll just seem indifferent to what they are saying to you. Competent employees have something to say for themselves, don't give them the impression that you are otherwise with your silence.