What's your problem?

MUST I LET MY BOSS CALL THE TUNE? I work a four-day week and manage a national chamber orchestra on my day off. My employer is pushing for me to switch to a five-day week.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I'd certainly earn more money than I do now, but managing the orchestra is not something I want to give up. I'm concerned that my employer will run out of patience or that in future the company will overlook me for promotion. I'm not sure what to do.

A: You're right to confront this problem now, because it probably won't go away and could well get totally out of control. For comfort on both sides, you and your employer must both believe you've struck a fair deal.

Your employer would much prefer you to work full-time, a view to which he's entitled. You are equally entitled to hope for a job that allows you one day a week to manage your orchestra. However, I don't think you're entitled to expect your employer to accommodate this (for him) less-than-ideal arrangement while granting you equal prospects for promotion. His concession must be balanced by some concession on your own part.

You should talk all this through with your boss. The fact that you recognise his flexibility and greatly appreciate it should make it possible for you to agree on what seems a fair deal on both sides.

I'd hate you to give up the orchestra.

Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. Or e-mail: management.today@haynet.com Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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