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wintermom

Any strategies for increasing hours of work

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I've been at my current job for 6 months at 0.4 Full Time Equivalent (FTE), which is 2 full days on-site. I love the work, the team I work with, and the setting. The commute is a drag, but doable. I'm in research, and although funding is secure, it is limited. I would love to increase to 0.6 / 3 days, but not sure how to go about asking. There would be benefits to the team, as I'd be on-site more and could follow tasks more regularly. However there is a delicate balance worked out with the funding.

Anyone have suggestions or experience with something similar?

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It really depends on your organisation. For us, adding extra hours permanently would be a whole palaver of making an application to Workforce Planning. Do you know if the extra hours are in your manager's gift?

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4 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

It really depends on your organisation. For us, adding extra hours permanently would be a whole palaver of making an application to Workforce Planning. Do you know if the extra hours are in your manager's gift?

Each research team at my hospital has its own budget based on the funding the Principal Investigator (PI) has secured through grants and other means. My PI has overlapping grants and funding to keep the $ available long-term, so that when one project is complete they don't have to let go of all/most of the team members. It's all part of the reality of research at universities and hospitals.  

I'm thinking that there would either have to be more grant money coming in or current staff reducing their hours before I'd be in the position of increasing my hours. 

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Have you talked to your boss?

When I was a part time adjunct and wanted to increase my hours, I went into my department chair's office and said, I would really like to work more, and whether there was anything he could do. 

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8 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Have you talked to your boss?

When I was a part time adjunct and wanted to increase my hours, I went into my department chair's office and said, I would really like to work more, and whether there was anything he could do. 

I have a meeting scheduled with my manager who crunches the budget numbers. I would like to bring up the subject, but not quite sure exactly how to do this. Did you simply say, "I would really like to work more. Is there anything you can do?"  Or is there other wording that is better.

Edited by wintermom

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6 minutes ago, wintermom said:

I have a meeting scheduled with my manager who crunches the budget numbers. I would like to bring up the subject, but not quite sure exactly how to do this. Did you simply say, "I would really like to work more. Is there anything you can do?"  Or is there other wording that is better.

I pretty much said just that. (I also did the same when I asked for a raise - went into his office and asked "what do I need to do to make more money?" It ended up with me going full time in a slightly different category of position.)

I don't see why another wording would be better - there is nothing shameful about wanting to work more, and I find that being direct is very efficient. Just asked my DH who is a boss, and he says, he'd prefer people to say straight out what it is they want, without being flowery.

ETA: and even if the funding is not there right now, it can be useful for your manager to know that you want to work more - so when an opportunity arises later, he knows.

Edited by regentrude
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1 minute ago, regentrude said:

I pretty much said just that. (I also did the same when I asked for a raise - went into his office and asked "what do I need to do to make more money?" It ended up with me going full time in a slightly different category of position.)

I don't see why another wording would be better - there is nothing shameful about wanting to work more, and I find that being direct is very efficient. Just asked my DH who is a boss, and he says, he'd prefer people to say straight out what it is they want, without being flowery.

Thanks so much! My dh would totally agree with your dh about being direct. My manager is a woman, though, and I have the sense that directness might come off as a little too pushy. Maybe I can shoot for being clear. 😉

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1 minute ago, wintermom said:

Thanks so much! My dh would totally agree with your dh about being direct. My manager is a woman, though, and I have the sense that directness might come off as a little too pushy. Maybe I can shoot for being clear. 😉

OK, makes sense. I work in a male dominated field, and my boss has always been a man. It's so much easier.

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Just now, regentrude said:

OK, makes sense. I work in a male dominated field, and my boss has always been a man. It's so much easier.

She's also overwhelmed with a ton of extra work and the research budget is causing her "head-aches." I think the timing is off for more hours. I could, however, ask directly about what I would need to do to get higher pay and more hours within the research institute as a whole. That way she would know I wanted more for any future changes in our research team. 

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Sounds like you are worried your boss won't like you asking for more hours? If so, that's crazy talk. All bosses like to hear their employees want to work more. I would simply be honest. 

"I really enjoy working here, and if the budget allows, I would love more hours in my current role or another role."
"I really enjoy working here. When available, I would like to add another day to my schedule. I am open to another role within the team as well."
"I really enjoy working here. Do you foresee an opportunity now or within the next year that would allow me to add another day to my work schedule?"
"I love my current role and team, and I would really like to be able to grow more professionally. When possible, I would like to add another day to my schedule, whether on my team or another team."

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25 minutes ago, 2squared said:

Sounds like you are worried your boss won't like you asking for more hours? If so, that's crazy talk. All bosses like to hear their employees want to work more. I would simply be honest. 

"I really enjoy working here, and if the budget allows, I would love more hours in my current role or another role."
"I really enjoy working here. When available, I would like to add another day to my schedule. I am open to another role within the team as well."
"I really enjoy working here. Do you foresee an opportunity now or within the next year that would allow me to add another day to my work schedule?"
"I love my current role and team, and I would really like to be able to grow more professionally. When possible, I would like to add another day to my schedule, whether on my team or another team."

These are great. Thanks!

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13 minutes ago, geodob said:

Maybe you could look for a grant, to pay for an increase in your hours?

I wish I could do that, but I'm not high enough up in the medical field to apply directly for grants.

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2 hours ago, geodob said:

Maybe you could look for a grant, to pay for an increase in your hours?

This was going to be my suggestion if there isn't an opportunity right now with this PI/grant. I don't mean apply for a grant yourself, I mean look at the other existing grants at your institution and see if you can find opening with other PIs. I would clear it with your boss first, but if she can't get you the hours, she can't get you the hours so I wouldn't imagine she would begrudge you time on another grant if you can find it. Most of the people I have known, myself included, who have worked in grant funded positions are/were funded across multiple grants past a certain level. You work a percentage off of each and that's what you are billed to. 

I don't know what type of facility you are at, but another thing you might put on your radar is that grants tend to go in cycles of what is the "cause de jour". By that I mean, you will have a 5-10 year run where something is super popular and grants are getting green lighted like mad, but then it will all shift, seem to dry up overnight, and the funding will go elsewhere. That makes knowing multiple PIs who are familiar with your work ethic vary handy, because it will inevitably shift. Most PIs I've ever known have their hands in multiple cookie jars at some point to cover the bases. Widening your network will help a lot if you plan on staying in this for some time. 

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1 hour ago, OH_Homeschooler said:

 

Given this, I simply don't see why it would be a problem to offer additional assistance.

If there is grant money to cover more hours, that would be great. I'm not going to volunteer to do it for free, though. I have bills to pay. 😉 

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37 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

This was going to be my suggestion if there isn't an opportunity right now with this PI/grant. I don't mean apply for a grant yourself, I mean look at the other existing grants at your institution and see if you can find opening with other PIs. I would clear it with your boss first, but if she can't get you the hours, she can't get you the hours so I wouldn't imagine she would begrudge you time on another grant if you can find it. Most of the people I have known, myself included, who have worked in grant funded positions are/were funded across multiple grants past a certain level. You work a percentage off of each and that's what you are billed to. 

I don't know what type of facility you are at, but another thing you might put on your radar is that grants tend to go in cycles of what is the "cause de jour". By that I mean, you will have a 5-10 year run where something is super popular and grants are getting green lighted like mad, but then it will all shift, seem to dry up overnight, and the funding will go elsewhere. That makes knowing multiple PIs who are familiar with your work ethic vary handy, because it will inevitably shift. Most PIs I've ever known have their hands in multiple cookie jars at some point to cover the bases. Widening your network will help a lot if you plan on staying in this for some time. 

Great points.  The research centre is doing this on a wider basis by collecting CVs and such from interested part-time people. The personal touch with talking directly with other PIs and Research Coordinators would probably be more effective, though. It's always easier to fill a position quickly with a recommendation from someone you know.

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36 minutes ago, wintermom said:

Great points.  The research centre is doing this on a wider basis by collecting CVs and such from interested part-time people. The personal touch with talking directly with other PIs and Research Coordinators would probably be more effective, though. It's always easier to fill a position quickly with a recommendation from someone you know.

At my university tbh, that was the ONLY way to move up. Our HR was like a black hole of incompetency. Hopefully your place is more organized! 

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2 hours ago, wintermom said:

If there is grant money to cover more hours, that would be great. I'm not going to volunteer to do it for free, though. I have bills to pay. 😉 

 

Oh course, I wasn't suggesting volunteering. But if you frame it as, "I see that you're swamped, and I'd love to pick up more hours to help," then that shows that you're thinking of the team and all that. And if they can't give you more hours now, at least they'd know you're interested if an opportunity comes up in the future.

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I don't have experience in this myself, but I guess my brother is a "PI" -- he's a research scientist who always has a number of projects going on at once, each one funded differently.  He has a broad research staff supporting his projects.

I'd think that if you were honest and just said up front that you'd be interested in working an extra day if that's possible -- and if not possible, you'd understand, that that would be totally fine!  If you think your PI is swamped as is and you believe you can help take on some of the PI's workload, maybe your offer would even be appreciated?  That would free up PI to spend more time on other projects.  

I really don't think there would be any problem at all in at least offering this.  

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