Should I Offer to Go Full Time? How?

I currently work 20 hours per week as Grants Coordinator for a nonprofit organization I love. I’ve been here 9 months. My job is deadline-driven so my schedule is very flexible, depending on deadlines. The culture is beautiful, the organization is well-run, I just feel like I’ve found my work-away-from-home.

At the time I was hired, I was told it would be a part time gig, which is good because I (ostensibly) would have all this extra time to work on my fiction. Things didn’t exactly go as planned. First I had major emergency surgery, then seizures and haven’t been able to drive for the past 5 months, and was on a terrible awful medication that I just kicked this week, but they’ve been really great about it, and I’ve been cranking out grants rather miraculously considering all the challenges I’ve faced.

We have had major turnover at my job lately. Our CEO left, my boss just quit, and we just replaced someone else in my department who quit (there are only 4 of us on the development team, so losing two people is huge.) I suspect the major reason for turnover is that we changed buildings to a new location, making the commute harder for people, and that when some people left it created a chain effect as people were additionally burdened with new tasks. As far as I can tell there’s no far-reaching drama or terrible things going on.

Because of all the turnover, a huge amount of burden has fallen on our Sr. Director of Programs and our Manager of Financial Operations, so I’ve been getting stuff thrown on my plate I wouldn’t ordinarily do. They are currently my direct supervisors and as far as I can tell they love the work I’m doing. I’ve also floated some ideas to them about streamlining the grants process by working on the systems side to integrate grant protocol with the way finances are actually managed, and they are very enthusiastic. I just look at where I’m at right now and I see a bigger picture, a greater need that needs to be filled, but I can’t realistically fill that need as a part-timer.

So I’m wondering, with all the turnover, would now be a good or bad time to suggest going full time? Having a super flexible schedule is nice and all, but I have found I do less well with less structure, and if I really look at times I’ve been happiest in my life, it’s been working my ass off writing grants. The Sr. Director of Programs is often burdened with the government grants and other things I am totally qualified to do but that just aren’t considered a regular part of my domain. I was thinking of proposing that I start taking on more of her stuff and a more prominent role generally in grants management, including foundation relations. The idea would be to ease her burden and ease the burden of whoever becomes my next boss.

I was thinking of going in Monday, pulling our Sr. Director of Programs (she is also interim CEO) aside and just making the pitch that I can accomplish more and help more with more hours. Is that a presumptuous suggestion? Should I just wait for them to broach the subject? With everything going on a part of me feels it’s inevitable they are going to ask me to go full time. I’d rather do it sooner than later, but they might not have reached that point where they’ve considered it.

I don’t mean to sidetrack the discussion, but before you get to that point, are you comfortable enough with the status of your health issues to make the leap? It’s not a minor point. If you’re feeling good about where your health is right now, are you able to assess whether or not you’d be able to maintain that level of health with more hours of work?

Assuming the answer is “yes,” I think the conversation with the folks at work should be more along the lines of, “Do you need more help? Is there more you’d like me to be doing? How can we best accomplish that?” I don’t think you need to wait for them to broach the subject, but I would want to couch it more in a way that you’re aware of the changes going, and that you’re willing to contribute more if needed. Mainly so that it doesn’t sound like you’re accusing them of dropping the ball and that you need to step in to save them.

That’s legit.

And yeah this is basically the first week I’ve come off that awful medication (I just realized this is only Day 2! Holy shit. Okay, that’s not much time, is it?) I could probably stand to sit back and wait a bit, adjust to the new meds.

I just know, to a certain extent, I’m back, because I did 11 hours straight of grantwriting yesterday and finished at 1am. That was physically impossible when I was on the Keppra. I could barely scratch out 5 hours in a row when I was taking it, and there would be like two naps in there, it was awful.

I should probably just bask in the glory of having my brain back and not worry about changing things up right now.

Oh yeah, Keppra. I knew a woman with an uncontrolled seizure disorder who was on Keppra for a while and hated every second of it.

I’ll second Asimovian about the way to bring it up. Even if you think you’re ready to extend yourself (and it might be early to say so), see if it’s something you could ease into, like adding one thing, or a set number of hours, to your workload every couple of weeks.

The people running the place are responsible for getting enough employees. That is not your problem (directly), so don’t make it your problem unless you have to. But offering to extend yourself would probably be leaped at right now, and that might lead you to overextend. So have a plan for what makes sense as a pace and go in with that plan even when you are making a casual (to them) offer.

The two best medication side effects for a clinically depressed person are intense fatigue and suicidal ideation, am I right? :rolleyes: Keppra is the medication from hell. I have a friend who is a neuropsychologist and she says among the seizure disordered on Keppra she sees way disproportionate levels of fatigue, depression, and even depersonalization compared to other anticonvulsants. After six months of trying to adjust, I told my neuropsych straight-up I’d rather have seizures than be on that medication.

I’m on Lamictal now (which has a bonus mood stabilizer effect) and so far loving every second. Holy shit, brains! I have brains!

And yeah, probably getting a little ahead of myself. I think I’m just excited.

Well, how about this: go in and say that you would like to discuss taking on more work and ask them if they are open to that. I’m guessing that you have been tapering for a while, so you probably aren’t suddenly going to feel like shit again - at least not because of the Keppra. By all means open the discussion now and see if they’re interested. If they are, then you could structure when and how you transition to a different schedule.

A few things:
-Given that they know about your health issues, are you comfortable telling them about why you are now more able to be full time (or three-quarters time)? I think saying that you’ve worked with your doctors and have a stable medication regimen is perfectly valid, FWIW.
-Could you pick a start date of after Labor Day, for example, to make the transition? That would give you plenty of time to see if your new well being is holding.
-Are you willing and able to set limits for yourself? You say you are happiest when you are pushing yourself, but can you hold yourself at full-time (not 60 hours or more)? They might occasionally need 1 am grant writing, but making it an everyday thing would be bad I’m thinking.

If this makes you happy, I say go for it. Just please take care of yourself too. :slight_smile:

As far as timing goes, the fiscal year is about to close out at the end of September, and, incidentally, I am going to be able to drive again on September 21st.

So I would be proposing maybe to start that transition on October 1st, the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Just a thought.

Sounds like the timing could line up nicely for everyone. :slight_smile:

I would say take the weekend and think about it. If you still feel happy thinking about it, go in Monday and seize the day. They won’t know you’re interested unless you tell them (and they may not know you can give more hours unless you’re explicit on that point too).

I actually smile thinking about all of this, because you’ve had a hard time and I’m glad things are looking up.

There’s a midpoint between 20 hours and full time, if you want to ease into it.

And I’ve never heard of an employee being criticized for wanting to work more. Being told it’s not possible, maybe. But not presumptuous.

Just checking in. Have you decided what to course to pursue?

Well, I’m easing my way in. I officially asked to take full responsibility for the foundation relations side of things, and my request was granted. I haven’t broached the subject of additional hours yet, but I figured I’d wait until I was fully adjusted on my new meds to re-evaluate whether that is the best course of action. In the meantime, I’m happy with the opportunity to take charge of this whole process.