How to get promoted and keep your flexibility
Mind the ‘Flexibility Trap’! That’s what Timewise calls the problem of part-time workers getting stuck in their careers, with 73 percent saying they haven’t had a promotion since working fewer hours.
So we know this isn’t an easy path to tread. And we understand that if you’ve managed to secure a flexible job that works around your specific needs as a carer, you might not want to ‘rock the boat’. But there are ways to get promoted at the same time as hanging on to your flexible working pattern.
Here’s what you need to remember:
Flexibility isn’t a favour
While you might be grateful that an employer has given you hours to work round your caring responsibilities, you must remember your own value, and what you bring to the table. Don’t see yourself in debt to the company. Instead, consider your contribution to be as valid as any full-time employee; you have the right for your skills and dedication to be recognised and rewarded.
Part-time work doesn’t mean part-time ambition. While the demands on you to care for another person may be a priority in your life, it doesn’t mean you stop wanting to reach your potential in the workplace. Continue to give yourself targets to hit. Find ways to stretch yourself and bring value to the role and the organisation; not only for your personal development, but as evidence to your line manager that you are serious about moving on up the ladder.
Prove your worth
Especially if you work part-time, make sure you agree fair targets with your line manager - and then hit them. If you can consistently prove, through the quality of your work, that you are meeting the demands and expectations of the role, then you can prove that your working hours have no impact on your performance. Be known for the high standard of your work, not the hours you work.
Let your team know exactly when you’re going to be in the office or when you are available on email. If important meetings keep happening when you’re not there, say something. Don’t feel your voice isn’t valid because you don’t work full-time hours. Where appropriate, speak up and contribute to conversations, be it around office management issues or broader ideas. Suggest software programs like Basecamp or Slack, which can be a great way of keep an oversight of what is happening in a workplace, even when you’re not there.
Learn to delegate
If you want to take on more responsibilities in your job, you’ve got to be able to trust the team around you. You may not be able to bend your schedule, because of when you need to be at home for the person you care for, so divvying up work will be crucial to managing your time effectively and ensuring you can take on challenging projects.
Build up your track record - and then use it to your advantage
If this is your first flexible job, take time to bank the experience as evidence that you can perform on flexible hours. Once you have that experience under your belt, use it. When you go for a promotion, you can demonstrate that working flexible hours is beneficial for you and the company.