Whether your goal is to maintain professional skills, contribute to the family income, or you just need time with other adults, you may want to consider a part-time or flexible schedule. The old Mommy Track has come a long way and it’s all about balance. For many parents, that means less than the traditional forty hour work week, which has become closer to fifty or sixty for many positions.

Sell Yourself First
Securing flexible work arrangements is often secondary to actually getting the job. Lead with your strongest asset: the excellence of your abilities. If you’re interviewing for a new position, make the hiring manager want to hire you before the interview. Even if you’re negotiating new arrangements with a current employer, take the time to update your resume. Make the hiring manager’s job easier by highlighting your unique talents. The fewer people they need to interview the better.

If you can’t think of anything that makes you special, take your best friend out to lunch and bask in the glory of admiration. Take the time to get into the right state of mind because attitude is at least fifty percent of negotiation. Prepare to call attention to yourself, toot your horn, and know that you are the best person for the job.

Employees are business assets. You generate income in the employer’s business. Too often we downplay our own integral contribution to our companies. So what if you need a paycheck? Without you there is no business. This is the attitude it takes to convince them you’re the person for the job. Once you’ve done that, you can sell the idea that your talent can be had on Tuesdays and Thursdays from seven to three.

Know Your Worth
You’ve sold yourself. You’ve got them speed-dialing HR to get you an offer, but you’re just getting started. When it’s time to talk money, make sure you know what your skills are worth. Keep your negotiations separate. Don’t talk money and alternative work arrangements at the same time.

Be clear. Do your homework on the current salaries in your field, taking into consideration your experience and special skills. If you don’t require benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation time, say so. You can expect a premium over the equivalent for a full time employee because the company is saving a significant amount on your benefits. Even if you don’t expect to get it, ask. It’s a negotiating point.

Find a point in the conversation to reassure the employer that you understand the confidential nature of salaries. Give them every reason to cut you the sweet deal knowing they don’t have to worry about you mentioning what may be perceived as special treatment to co-workers.

Now what? Learn more in Negotiating Flexible Work Arrangements: Part 2 - Nailing Down the Details