I've just marked my 10th anniversary of working part time. And during that time, I have continued to build an exciting career, making a significant contribution to my enlightened employers and clients - based on working 3 days a week.
People's reaction is usually positive, except for those who enviously say "You're lucky!" - however, I remind them that I only get paid 60%, and that luck is not really involved. I asked, my skills were valued, and first Hitachi and now everis have been willing to give it a try. And in both cases, the businesses have grown significantly during my tenure.
I like to think I'm flexible on non-working days, but protect my boundaries wherever possible (no one else will do this for you!). Clients know they can reach me if they need to, but they are largely respectful of work / non-work - in fact, I think they appreciate working with someone who's values & priorities are transparent, and who is able to bring themselves to the relationship.
It has also helped knowing what I do do, and what I don't. And being willing to find others around to complement what I bring. I also find it easier to not get dragged into those meetings and activities which don't really add much value or joy - time does count.
My motive was that I lived in Dorset, and didn't want to miss the kids growing up, and also wanted to do some things locally which wouldn't like pay anything. I've loved the balance, and come back on a Monday refreshed and often inspired - stepping back from emails and meetings gives space for ideas to come and breakthroughs to appear.
Over the years, I've also quickly turned down a number of amazing roles on the basis that they required full time - I figure "first things, first", and the rest fits. Maybe I won't ever get to run the world, but I have great work, where my skills are valued, and get to work with inspiring people, and I earn enough. And I'm part of home life, I'm seldom sick, I have a sustainable balance, and I'm happy - there is lots to be grateful for.
It's great to see role models like Katie Bickerstaffe and Marc Nohr making part-time work, and organisations such as M&S and Dixons Carphone being willing to back them.
Be bold. Know yourself. Spend less. Find great employers. Ask the question.
As for employers, she thinks that those that are flexible will get to pick from a wider pool of talent. "This is something worth sticking your neck out for because you do get rewarded," she says. "You get the pick of the people, huge loyalty and people are thrilled to have the opportunity."