I have been thinking about this a lot recently probably because of my current obsession, Lean In.
Earlier this year I went to an event that Anna Rafferty (Penguin Digital MD) put on for Seth Godin's new book. One of the things that he said there really hit home, (and I paraphrase) "In this globalized economy there will always be somebody who is willing to do your job and work longer hours for less money. " The point being that if you make it all about the hours that you work, you will always lose. In fact it is impossible to win. You have to make it about the impact that you have. not the hours that you work.
Today I had lunch with another brilliant woman, Kathryn Parsons of Decoded fame (and Veuve Cliquot Young Businesswoman of the Year 2013) where we talked about a million different things but one of them was what happens when women have kids and potentially want to decrease the number of hours that they work a week. As I was talking to her it suddenly hit me how much I hate the term "part-time" to describe what I do. I do a four day week but like every other professional working mum that I know the focus and dedication that I have during those 4 days (and evenings) means that I achieve more in those 4 days than I ever used to in 5.
The descriptor "part-time" is just wrong.
Take Nicola Mendelsohn for example. Nicola has worked a 4 day week for the past 15 years and is now taking up an EMEA role at Facebook on a 4 day week and I bet there's absolutely nothing "part-time" about her approach, ambition and determination.
Maybe it's time for a new descriptor of those of us who work shorter weeks? "Compressed-Time"? " Condensed-Time"? Not sure what the right words are, but "part-time" is just plain wrong.
I think that a 4 day week should be considered: "Smart-Time" working, not "Part-Time" working