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Part-Time ER vs Part-Time OMY: a Perspective
Old 05-31-2016, 04:46 PM   #1
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Part-Time ER vs Part-Time OMY: a Perspective

Looks like my employer has worked out so I can go to part-time employee status of 3 days/week. I actually like this, since I keep all of my benefits at the same co-pay costs as full-time, which was my goal. I will earn vacation and sick time at the proportional 60% rate I am working, but having 4 day weekends every week I won't need as much vacation time.

If anyone recalls, I was the one who put on my work performance goals at the beginning of the year "Convert to part-time or retire in June". It was not intended as a threat to my mgr, but it seems to have helped get the ball rolling and the slow megacorp wheels grind through the process. They really need my help and knowledge, and part of me is better than none of me for their perspective. So it is kind of a compromise, I get the extra time off work that is more valuable to me than the extra money, and work gets to still utilize my capabilities. I also maintain my salary at current rate, proportional to 60% time of course, but that is much better than anything I could ever get part-time at a different place.

The main benefit from my perspective is being able to keep the good health insurance I have for another 1-1.5 years; at which time I plan to fully retire. Staying on current insurance saves approx $10K/year in cost avoidance. I will be 54 at that point 1.5 years from now, so the ability to start this transition seems a good way to end my career. Also gives me another 1.5 years of investment growth before starting into withdrawal mode.

Here is where perspective comes into play - I will refer to my status as part-time ER'd, instead of being part-time OMY. Exact start date for the part-time is still being worked out, probably within 2-3 weeks. I have no absolute have to stop full-time date, so I can be flexible with the administrative BS it takes to make it happen. I look forward to the extra time off. I am grateful the part-time is able to work out.

I used to have a handle on life....... but it broke!

Semi-Retired 7/1/16: working part-time (60%) for now
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:04 PM   #2
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Sounds like you worked a great deal.

I did something similar after the birth of my first child... Went to 3 days a week. DH went to 4 days a week. This worked out since we had a friend who wanted to do part time childcare - and 2 days a week worked for her.

I had to up it to 4 days a week when I transferred departments (and states).... But part time gives you so much flexibility - it's a good compromise.

Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:21 PM   #3
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That is a good plan and one that lots of employers should offer. Gives the employee time to wind down and prepare, gives the employer time to hire the right person and get them trained.
Retired at 59 in 2014. Should have done it sooner but I worried too much.
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:29 PM   #4
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I did something similar and it worked great for me. A couple of years where I didn't have to eat (much) into my investments. I chose to work 1/2 days, which worked out well for going to the very nearby ski hill on winter mornings, or afternoon hikes and runs the rest of the year. And when I wanted an extra day or two, it only cost me 4 hours of accrued vacation. The only gotcha to watch for is that your off days really are off, and your 3 work days don't stretch too long.
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:33 PM   #5
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Same approach worked for DH too, went PT last summer, kept bonus + bene's. It was a real good way to transition for him and his Mega. He was also very diligent with his hours. He works 5 days, 4 hours each, all mornings. On days they wanted him on calls in the afternoon, he logged and tracked and took the time back later in the week. This avoided any chance of working beyond his hours and falling back into FT patterns.

I saw an immediate difference in him, happier, stress was gone, as his responsibilities (i.e. direct reports) also moved to another leader once he went PT.

I'm not familiar with all the details, but his Mega did say if he stayed thru 2017 they will require 30 hours for PT to keep full benefits, something to do with ACA. We didn't pay much attention since there's a near zero chance he'll be there next year. But you may want to just double check for next year to prepare in case the rules change.
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:51 PM   #6
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Currently on 1/2 days as well, possibly for 1 -2 years as it is open with my new employer, the group I sold the business to.
I like the way you phrase it as part-time, as a planned approach to FIRE in the coming years. As someone has mentioned it is difficult to keep the two separate some times. It is difficult to leave sometimes when a project is in mid stream, or, when your former colleagues are stressed out, I sometimes feel guilty as I close the door behind me. On the plus side my sleep, temperament and fitness is much improved since I began about a year ago!
Enjoy the ride and keep smiling.
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:51 PM   #7
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I worked 60% time for the last 3 years of my career. My experience is that while the time you spend in the office is reduced the "work while you're not at work" i.e. thinking/stressing about work problems in your off time stays the same.

For me the 60% time very quickly turned into a new normal. I got more rest, but I still felt like I was working.

Upside: it enabled me to do 3 OMYs (which greatly improved my retirement finances)

Downside: it made it possible for me to survive 3 OMYs, which I then felt obliged to do for financial security's sake. In retrospect I think I might have been happier if I'd just ripped off the bandaid and retired completely sooner.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:07 PM   #8
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I am doing three full days, no half days for me. I need the full days off for RV trips, doing work in the garage on my old cars, working on house projects, and just enjoying not being at work. I have a good ability to drop work when I go home and it does not keep me thinking about it. My job is also working on classified stuff, so I can't do it at home. Fine with me!

It would seem that companies should offer more of the P/T option, I kind of had to push to make it happen. But pushing a rope is only so effective, the thing that probably helped me the most is they are short-handed already. Plus, not breaking my arm patting myself on the back, I am one of the few that can really do the job. Both factors work to my advantage in getting the approvals for P/T.
I used to have a handle on life....... but it broke!

Semi-Retired 7/1/16: working part-time (60%) for now
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Old 06-02-2016, 04:33 AM   #9
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Good thoughts. I'm pretty much in the same boat. After my Megacorp layoff I never really intended to go back to work much at all, and a job I took to do just one morning a week turned into an accidental part-time career position a couple years later. I'd preferred fewer working days and fewer hours than I wound up taking, but if someone wants to give me retirement and full medical benefits (not prorated premium subsidies, but all of it, I pay the same premium as someone working 40 hours) for 20-25 hours a week of work, I'll take it, especially in a job where when I'm off, I'm *off* and don't take the work or bad attitudes home. And the more ACA appears to struggle under cost and shrinking network pressures, the more important it feels to keep getting that employer group health insurance.

The biggest downside is having to work 6 mornings a week, every week, starting at 6 or 6:30 AM. On the other hand, in most of these days my work day is over by 11:30, often by 9 AM. Saturdays are usually finished by 8:30.

On the other hand it's turned OMY into almost "nine more years" since that's how long I'd need to go to keep this health insurance coming in retirement. Not sure I'll make that, it depends on a lot of things with me and also with DW's career, but it is there at the finish line if I stick with it (and fortunately I have significant opportunities for transfer if DW accepts a new call elsewhere). And as long as I remain healthy and my BS bucket doesn't fill too fast, who knows? It's certainly not retirement or even semi-retirement, but it's not full-time wage slavery, either.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:59 AM   #10
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I worked part-time for 7 years starting in 2001 before I finally ERed back in late 2008. It began with a mostly telecommuting deal. I worked 20 hours per week, going to my office one day per week. The long, tiring, and often sickening commute was the one thing I needed to rid myself of, and this deal worked out well for about 2 years until my company ended any open-ended telecommuting in 2003. I saw some benefits reduced proportionally such as paid time off and annual company stock allocations while I had to pay 50% of my health insurance premiums. But I remained in the quickly growing ESOP program and saw my accumulated shares explode in value in the 2000s. I considered myself semi-retired, as in halfway to being fully retired.

In 2003, when my company ended the open-ended telecommuting, I was devastated. I was allowed to keep working part-time, but I had to fulfill my 20 hours per week from the office. The horrors of commuting had returned even if only 3 days a week. My benefits were mostly unchanged, only some of the rules for paid holidays were adjusted. I considered myself 2/3 retired, working only 12 hours per week.

During the next 3 years, I began developing an ER plan. As my signature line indicates, my plan was to cash out the company stock and live off its dividends after investing it in a bond fund. The commuting again took its toll on me so I was able to reduce it to 2 6-hour days per week (12 hours total, down from 20). I had to forgo most of my remaining benefits such as group health eligibility and went on Cobra in early 2007. I knew by then that by the end of 2008 I would probably be able to ER. The company stock was zooming upward although its growth had slowed as the overall markets began declining by late 2007.

As my ER plan began taking shape in 2007-08 with its remaining pieces falling into place, I picked an ER date at the end of October 2008. I had also visited my first (unpaid) Account Executive at Fidelity where I was a client, and she told me, after entering my data into their RIP program, that I was "good to go." I was working on one large project in my scarce time at the office and in late September I predicted I would finish it by the end of October, something I barely achieved on my last day.

I left the working world on 10/31/08, Halloween. It was all Treats, no Tricks. I put my ER plan into place and it I has been great ever since.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:25 AM   #11
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DW resigned but was asked to stay on for a while. She suggested part time (like 2-3 days per week) and her manager talked her into "full" time but working from home officially 4 days per week with the wink wink understanding it could be much less if she wasn't busy and no one is going to check how much she actually works as long as the work gets done. The manager said without at least 30 hours per week she wouldn't get benefits, so they wanted to keep her at that as a favor.

As it worked out, it was closer to 20 hours most weeks and during the busier weeks 30-35 hours. Basically they were making availability payments to keep her around for the busy weeks (1st week of month in her finance role). Worked out well for 6 months until she decided to part ways for good.
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (4, 10, and 11).
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Old 06-02-2016, 02:51 PM   #12
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My boss asked me to stay on for an additional 6 months beyond my original quit date. I agreed if I could work half time and since I had a long commute I wasn't interested in coming in every day for 4 hours, my boss agreed to 5 days (out of a 10 day pay period). Working part time works well for some but I have to say for me it didn't. I was involved in a fast moving project (software implementation) and there was just too much going on to try and keep up with everything. If I had to do it over again I would either stay on full time for an additional 6 months or quit as originally planned.
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Old 06-05-2016, 05:07 AM   #13
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I was a bit concerned about going cold turkey when I FIRE'd, so I stayed on as a very part time consultant intending it it be a transitional thing which I would wind up after a year or two.

It's been nearly three years now and I still do it because I enjoy it. The small income stream is nice to have but not necessary, I like the people I work with, I like the academic side of what I do and having an office and meeting rooms in the CBD is very convenient. Most importantly, it doesn't interfere with anything else I want to do.
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:32 AM   #14
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I'd love to go part time for awhile before cutting the cord completely. Heck, my employer might even get more bang for their buck as my enthusiasm level might jump a few notches if I had more time for myself. I still like my job, but have been feeling a little burned out lately.
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:28 AM   #15
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Not to mention the relative tax burden per hour which should be lower.

I'm also convinced most people aren't built for working 40+ hours a week but more like 20.

Then again, YMMV ..

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