How to be assertive when working part time

AssertiveDo you work part time or flexibly? Do you feel you always have to say ‘yes’ to work, even though you may be swamped? Do you find yourself working more in the evenings and the days you don’t work?

If so, in short, you need to be more assertive and understand what is achievable in the hours you work.

Our steps will set you on your way to becoming more assertive and help you create the part time or flexible role you really want.

An assertive person is someone who…

  1. Can quickly find common ground when in a ‘conflict’ situation
  2. Knows they have personal power and doesn’t feel threatened or victimised when things don't go as planned or expected.
  3. Is good at solving problems and is empowered to do whatever it takes to find the best solution

Step one: Job description and objectives

Firstly, work closely with your boss to finalise and agree the exact parameters of your role and set clear objectives. Designing a role that is clearly defined, realistic and achievable for all concerned will help you manage your job and workload more effectively, as well as set boundaries for colleagues who may want more of your time.

Step two: Learning to say ‘No’

It’s ok to say no. You’re not superhuman. If you’ve set clear parameters and you’re given work outside your role, then it may be time to push back. However, it is always best to suggest an alternative for a positive outcome. If this is something you’re not comfortable with, then discuss this with your boss. It’s ok to know your limits and have a point where you feel you are at capacity.

Step three: Express negative thoughts and feelings in a healthy and positive manner

If you feel that things are getting a bit much, do say what's on your mind, but do it in a way that protects your colleagues’ feelings. Stand up for yourself and challenge people who do not respect you or your rights. Do remember though; the issue is that you feel you’re workload is too much, which can be discussed and resolved, so control your emotions and avoid creating a conflict situation.

Be proud to be part time

Don’t apologise for working part time or flexibly. You can still climb the career ladder and always look to improve your skills and experience. Believe it or not you could be a role model for other colleagues. If they see you making it work, then the possibility of moving to a part time or flexible role in the future is also achievable for them. Be proud of the fact you work part time, but also be realistic about what you can achieve in that time.


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