Sunday, May 12, 2013

Working Full Time

It is almost a done deal (as in 99% certain, just waiting for paperwork) that from the beginning of June I will be working full time as an archivist instead of switching back to part time in July. A colleague is leaving and I was offered a permanent increase in hours which I decided to accept.

So, how have I got to this? And how is working full time panning out? When I started down this path I had no intention of working full time. I wasn't even actively looking for a part time job. When I first decided to train as an archivist I felt that doors were opening providentially, and that has been my experience throughout the three years since. At no point have I actively looked for a job, or for an increase in hours. First an unusual, incredibly interesting, and manageable part time job came up which gave me a toe in the door of the archive profession. Then the part time archivist post fell into my lap, and my part time job grew into a temporary full time one which was too good an opportunity to turn down. This time, within minutes of my colleague resigning I was asked if I would like to stay on full time. Just a couple of weeks before, as the end of my original temporary contract got closer, I had realised that - contrary to expectation - I was enjoying working full time and that the benefits were outweighing the disadvantages, and Tevye and I had discussed the possibility of my looking for a second part time archivist job for one or two days a week to run alongside the current one. Really, saying yes to the full time post was a no brainer. Providence again.

Given that I hadn't planned to work full time, I have been very pleasantly surprised at how well it has worked out. I found the jump to daily part time work much harder to adjust to than the increase in hours. Having to get out of the house at an early hour every morning was the toughest part to acclimatise to, followed by the daily commute. Having got used to those aspects of working, staying at the office for longer hours didn't make much difference from my point of view, and I haven't found working full time significantly more tiring than working part time. When I increased my hours I switched from taking the train to driving to work, as I needed to be more flexible and it saved time, cutting probably half an hour off my daily commute. I have also now started car sharing with a colleague who leaves nearby, after we realised we were working very similar hours. We have a flexitime system, and some people choose to get in early and leave early, others prefer to work later - we both fall into the early bird category and were often virtually tailing each other down the road. Sharing means less petrol, less driving and company, all of which ease the commute.

I am very lucky in that I have a lot of practical help from both Tevye and the older girls. Tevye has picked up a lot of the domestic slack, which he is able to do as he works from home a couple of days a week and has very flexible working patterns. Helen and Marie get Rose ready for school three days a week and drop her at the school early birds club, and Marie collects her from after school club when necessary. My flexible working hours and understanding managers mean that I can juggle work fairly easily to fit round family needs and I can occasionally work from home. A generous holiday allowance (26 days plus public holidays) and "flexi days" when I can take time off in lieu of extra hours worked mean I can be at home for large chunks of the school holidays. There are some very hectic days but mostly we have a very manageable routine. The downsides really do seem to be outweighed by the positives - a fascinating, varied job that I love and a regular salary to supplement Tevye's which is less predictable because he is self employed.


Missus Wookie said...

So glad that it is working out for you. I remember you going for the first one 'just to see what it's like' - so proud that you've been so good they don't want you to leave :)

ellie said...

Yes, it's really wonderful how all of this has worked out for you. So glad for you :-)

Caroline said...

Sounds just perfect, what a helpful family you have by the sounds of it. And it's brilliant to have a job that you love, too.