Monday, April 12, 2010

Voluntary Reduction

The state is in financial trouble. The stated explanation is the struggling economy but that's only part of the real explanation. However, in keeping with my vow to maintain a positive blog and attitude, I won't discuss mismanagement, foolish decisions and inherent weaknesses in the "democratic" processes. I confess it is tempting but it would be not only useless but counter productive.

Anyway, the University has been given the task of reducing salary expenditures by two and one-half percent. When I received an email from the administration I made an impulse decision, checked with Julie and volunteered for a reduction.

A few years ago I requested to work 32 hours rather than 40 which resulted in a 20% pay reduction. Before the economy went south I had decided to request a reduction to 24 hours per week. However, with layoffs and mandatory furloughs it didn't seem wise to follow through on this decision at that time.

With the current mandate to reduce salary expenditures I approached the director in my area, told him I hadn't spoken to my team lead as yet and brought of the idea of a 25 percent reduction in work hours and salary. He was open to the idea and immediately checked with the vice president and got it approved within ten minutes.

When I discussed the idea with my team lead I met some opposition. Our work loads have been excessive for several months without an end in sight. She and I have a wonderful working relationship. A few years ago during an extremely stressful time for her she asked if I was about to take another job or retire. If so, she was going to retire. By the end of our conversation we agreed that we would retire at the same time at some point in the future.

During our recent discussion about reducing to 24 hours per week she said she wouldn't oppose it but that it would create a hardship for her and the team. In the end I decided to continue working 32 hours and suggested more flexible scheduling which she readily accepted.

As soon as Julie is off for the summer I'm going to discuss working longer days -- four days one week followed by three days the next week. This will give us six four day weekends and six three day weekends during the summer.

However, I really wish I could have reduced another 25 percent. Time working around home with Julie is more valuable to me than money.


Blogger Tim Hodgens said...


RE: Time working around home with Julie is more valuable to me than money


Deciding that better use of time for quality of life and meaningfulness is much more important than working in the same way for money.

I'm glad you are in a position to not have to "worry" that much about the dinero.


4/12/2010 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger W A Britten said...

Paul -

I've been enjoying your words of wisdom for months ... you are a rare voice of sanity in a world gone mad.

In fact, the past few years I've concluded that the contribution I can best make is to put such a voice of calm reason out into the world.

Bill Britten

4/12/2010 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Beardedoverland said...

Great read, I've just completed reading it from start till now... thanks for sharing...

4/12/2010 09:35:00 PM  

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