Do you almost have enough money to retire and want to scale back from the 40-hours-a-week grind? If so, here’s a way for you to get your employer to agree to your phased retirement.
Before you approach your employer, you have to think like her. Her main interest is her business. She wants the best people on her team as possible at the lowest possible cost. Keep that in mind because it’s the key your entire line of attack.
Here are the 4 steps you need to take to achieve your plan for partial retirement.
1. Become Indispensable.
Successful business owners think primarily about the jobs that need to be completed. They don’t model the business around the employees. Don’t take offense to this. Use this concept and become a central player in the business. Take on extra work. Go the extra mile. Become such an important part of the profit potential of the company that your employer really starts taking notice.
In essence, somebody is going to replace you in your old job. What you have to do is create a new position in the firm that only requires part-time work. And you have to become so good at this job that nobody else would even be considered for it. You might be in charge of training, client development or quality control. Whatever it is you have to do, come to your employer with the idea already formulated rather than expect her to come up with something.
2. Become Invincible.
This may seem counterintuitive, but in order to get your employer to agree to your part-time position, you have to be OK with her NOT agreeing to it. What I mean is you need a plan B. You need to find another way to fund your retirement if your boss says no. Line up another side job and/or generate more income with your investments so you don’t need the boss or your current job.
Why is this important? Because it will significantly enhance your bargaining power and attitude when you negotiate with your boss.
3. Become Understanding.
With every business transaction there are pros and cons. By going from full-time to part-time, your employer will benefit. Chief among those benefits is cost savings. Obviously your salary will be reduced and your boss may no longer be required to make contributions to your retirement account or to pay for your health benefits.
Another benefit of having you around on a part-time basis is that the boss will be able to tap into your genius skills and experience. That intangible is priceless. By slowly phasing you out, customers will be able to develop new relationships with other key personnel rather than have to go through an abrupt change. These are all arrows in your quiver.
On the hand, you’ve been working there full time for a number of years. Presumably another person will have to be hired. So if you figure that the new person will work 40 hours and you will work 20 hours, there will be 60 hours worked when 40 used to be sufficient. This is a major drawback for your employer. That’s why the first step (become invincible) is so crucial.
You must understand that you are going to be replaced. The only way your boss is going to keep you on board with reduced hours is if you invent a new position and become indispensable.
4. Become a Solution.
The only way to become a solution is for someone else to identify a problem. That someone is your boss. Talk to your employer. Find out what which business needs are not being fulfilled within your skill set. Ask your employer what one thing needs to happen in order for the business to go to the next level. Come to your boss with a solution and opportunity that includes you working less than full-time. Mention the cost savings the company would garner if you work less than full-time as well. In short, make your boss an offer she simply cannot refuse.
Keep in mind that this strategy is not without its risks. First, the new position may not pan out. If that happens, you may be phased out a bit faster than you first planned.
Have you ever transitioned from full-time to part-time work at your own choice? How did you do it? What obstacles did you overcome? What would you do differently?