How to approach supervisor about moving from 1.00 FTE to 0.75 FTE?
July 14, 2015 11:21 PM   Subscribe

Another department recently offered me a 0.25 FTE position, and I'm sort of nervous about approaching my current boss about asking if my current department would support/allow this.

(This is a higher education setting)
I previously worked for department A for 3 years (in a grant funded position). The funding/project finished and I accepted a position in department B (same organization).

I have been with department B for about 12 months.

A new professor was hired in department A in the last 6 months, and I had applied for a position they had created. I did not interview for position and another person was hired. The professor recently met with me, told me they didn't want to hire me because they didn't want to seem like they were showing up and trying to poach people from other departments. The professor also said that he'd been lucky to end up with a lot more funding than expected, and if I was interested, could create a 0.25 FTE position for me to work on a project.

The project sounds very interesting, and I very much want to work on it. I'm just not good with office politics and want to approach this as gently as possible.

I'm looking for advice about how to approach my current boss about asking if they would allow me to lower my current 1.00 FTE position to 0.75 FTE to free up time for me to work for Department A. I may just be overthinking this. It may be simple.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (2 answers total)
You really have to be able to pitch this in a way that minimizes the impact on your current boss.

I think the most important thing for you to think through and make sure you can address before the meeting is, what impact will the loss of 10 hours a week of work from you have on your boss? What work will have to be reassigned, have its timeline adjusted, or simply won't get done with the loss of those hours? The answer can't just be, I'll get everything done in .75 of the time (even if you think that's a realistic possibility).

Also, think about scheduling in a way that minimizes the appearance your physical absence or is in keeping with the general flow of work over the course of the week. For example, can you work around your old boss's teaching schedule (or the day that's always full of meetings, if they're not faculty)?

There also may be some institutional bureaucracy around funding sources and hoops to jump through to make sure the university still considers you "full-time." Identify who you need to work with (i.e. office manager, HR rep) to make sure that happens with minimal hassle for your boss.

Stress to your current boss that you will be consistent with your schedule - so they can count on you to be there for those 30 hours - and do whatever you can to be flexible in cases of deadlines. It also might help to tell old boss that you've been clear to new boss that old job will continue to be your main priority.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:20 AM on July 15, 2015

In addition to demonstrating that job 1 won't be impacted, you just need a non-insulting reason for why you'd like to work on the second project. It's not at all unusual in grant-funded environments to work on more than one grant. (And if you're in higher ed, you're probably underpaid - you don't need to say this out loud, but you're expected to have an eye on your career trajectory and career interests.)

A reason for wanting to work on the second project might be "I'd like to expand my skill set, and that project will give me an opportunity to learn more about XYZ" or "personally, I'm really interested in ABC, which is their focus." It could be the "topic", but your argument is stronger if it's a job function you'll be learning that could benefit you current project, like "I'll have an opportunity to observe the IRB process" or "they need someone to set up their data in ACCESS, and I've been wanting to get more experience with relational databases."
posted by vitabellosi at 6:17 AM on July 15, 2015

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