Monday, February 23, 2015

0.7 + 0.1 = 1.0

I've been looking carefully at my weekly schedule to make sure I'm not committing to projects that I don't have time for. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day to get things done, and while I know that's a common sentiment, as a part-time worker I'm not sure anyone will empathize with me.

I currently have two employed positions; I work 0.7 FTE with a residency program and 0.1 FTE with a medical journal. I intentionally left 1 day a week open for my writing and volunteer projects; it also definitely de-stresses my marriage for one of us to have a little wiggle room in the week to take care of all of those sniggly domestic tasks that always crop up.

While examining how I've been spending my time, though, I discovered the phenomenon of "schedule creep." 0.7 FTE should leave 1.5 days a week free; 0.1 FTE should only take up 0.5 of one of those days. But I've been working 32-40 hours a week at my 0.7 FTE position; the 0.1 FTE is pretty close to 4-5 hours a week. That adds up to 36-44 hours per week of work, or 0.9-1.1 FTE. Add to that the sniggly domestic tasks that fall to me, and no wonder I'm not writing or volunteering nearly as much as I would like.

Of course, few full-time physicians work 40-hour weeks, and 32-36 hours is close to 70% of the average physician workweek. My husband is a 1.0 FTE physician, and he is regularly clocking 50-60 hour workweeks (which is why I don't begrudge doing my fair share of those sniggly domestic tasks). But seeing just how much time I am spending makes me feel a little better about the non-work activities that haven't been getting done as much as I would like.

That said, I have no regrets about being part-time. Although our dream to have a family hasn't panned out, it still works well for us as a two-physician household to have a release valve in our weekly schedule. I am certainly not getting 8 hours a week (my supposedly leftover 0.2 FTE) to spend on writing and volunteering, but at least I don't feel guilty about the time I do spend on non-work activities.

For right now, it works, and that's good enough for me.