Exchanging Sleep for Personal Time

I am a part-time HR professional struggling with the decision to move to full-time. How much sleep does a girl need anyway?

When I started with Acquiso 1 – 1/2 years ago, I was the first HR professional hired. I worked 2-3 days a week because the need wasn’t there yet for full-time work. As the need increased, I jumped to 4 days a week in the fall but was still able to stay part-time. I have been very happy with this situation because my children are still very young (3 and 5 years of age) and to have the flexibility of not working 5 days a week is great. This extra time was priceless when flu season, fevers and doctors appointments came and I needed to follow through with the kids. I also had time for networking events and projects with my HR association and to treat myself by taking a jog or going for lunch with girlfriends.

Now, I have a big dilemma.

As much as I enjoy this flexibility, my company is growing, I don’t have enough time to keep up with the work and I’m starting to be late in many projects. So, I hear you saying, “It’s a no-brainer. It’s time to make the jump to working 5 days a week – like everybody else on this planet.”

But the consequences are important. Working 2 – 3 days a week and increasing to 3  – 4 days a week isn’t that difficult because you still have flexibility. In jumping to 5 days a week, you’re totally losing the privilege of flexibility. And you know what? Beyond the fact that life has been good to me in by having time for myself, my kids and family, I truly believe that I’m a better HR professional since I have the flexibility working  4 days a week provides.

And that’s my biggest problem. When you work 5 days a week you are in a spiral and life never stops. You work all week, take care of your family on the weekends and you rarely get a moment for yourself. You never have an opportunity to step back and think of what you accomplished in the past week and your objectives for the week to come. You lose time to read great HR articles and blogs; I truly believe we need to reflect, plan and read on a regular basis to be good at what we do.

If we never have the time to stop to think and challenge our ideas, how do we become better or improve our skills? In my case, my solution was working only 4 days a week and having that extra day. When I consider working 5 days a week, I worry because I can’t figure out when I will have time.

To add to my dilemma, there are benefits to working 5 days a week. I will have to time needed to keep up with me work load and my role will also become more strategic and important within the company.

So what’s the solution to work week dilemma? Have you  struggled with this decision before? How did you decide? Did you consider the company and what was the best deal for them? Is a 4 day work week  the way to go or do I need to start exchanging sleep time for pause and reading time?

I’m listening and I can’t wait to get your feedback.

Photo credit iStockphoto

About the Author

Sophie Lemieux

Sophie holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from HEC and specialized in HR. As an HR professional, Sophie has more than 15 years of experience working in the field of technology and places great importance in investing time in the advancement of her profession. She has been a member of the ORHRI (Quebec’s HR professional association) since 1996. You can connect with Sophie on Twitter as @HRSophie and on LinkedIn.



Tamkara, Krista, Laura: Thank you so much for your feedback! It’s great to get your opinion before taking a big decision like this. I will let you know how things turn out.

Laura Schroeder

Once you up your schedule to 5 days you’ll have a hard time scaling back. Most full-time people are behind on their projects, too, because they still have to fit in all the stuff you do on your day off. So, you’ll find yourself with more time for work initially but projects expand to fill a vacuum. If you have a choice I’d stay part-time.


Drooling over the 2-3 days/week idea, I’m with Tamkara–hire someone to help you and keep your less-than-fulltime status.

Tamkara Adun

Hello Sophie,

First of all, it is great that your company is growing.

I was wondering, have you considered getting an assistant? Or perhaps hiring an intern on a part time basis?
This way, you can cope with the increased work load and still maintain your 4 day week.

Best – Tamkara


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