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THE QUESTION

After 10 years of successful and satisfying work as a project manager, six months ago, by mutual agreement with my employer, I became semi-retired – that is, I went part-time, working three days a week. It has been a fantastic gradual transition to retirement for me. And, at the time, the company was happy to not have to pay 40 per cent of my salary.

Now, because of an abundance of work – which is great for the company – I have been asked to revert to my full-time status. I really don't want to do this. What options do I have?

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THE ANSWER

This is a good problem to have – being offered more work but not needing to work that much. It sounds as if you have the employment situation that you (and many others) want, working three days a week as you bridge the period to full retirement. To arrive at an answer that works for you, there are a couple of things you should do.

Revisit why you wanted to work just three days a week to begin with. Was the workload affecting your health? Did you want to spend more time on leisure activities or working on personal projects? How has working part-time changed the way you feel about getting up and going to work in the morning? These are some important questions that you should ask yourself before you make any kind of decision.

There are also important questions to ask your employer. For example, how long would the company like you to work full-time? Perhaps it is to get over a hump, say four to six weeks. That information might help you to decide whether going full-time, perhaps temporarily, would mesh with your desires.

You might also want to inquire about the working conditions. Is working full-time going to require commuting, or could you work from home on those extra two days? Get a complete picture of what the employer is looking for.

It is important to recognize what the employer needs and why, but it's more important to honour your own self and what you need to enjoy your gradual retirement. As much as you want to help a company that has allowed you a terrific work deal, you need to take care of yourself.

Everything is negotiable, so come up with a plan that aims to strike a happy medium between what your employer wants, and what you need to continue to enjoy semi-retirement.

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Eileen Dooley is a certified coach and lead consultant for McRae Inc. in Calgary.

Have a question about careers, labour law or management? Send it to our panel of experts: careerquestion@globeandmail.com Your name and address will be kept confidential.

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