I’m a little offended by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s assertion that working part time is akin to taking one’s foot off the gas. Coming from a woman, I’m surprised, because there certainly are plenty of part time women doing full-time jobs–with and without children. The term part time certainly carries a needless stigma. Working part time (meaning not working one full time 9-5 job) can come with plenty of serious benefits, not least of which is being able to dictate your own life just a little better.
For those of us with flexible part time schedules, there is a certain freedom in not being tied to one chair for a set eight hours. While the benefits of a full time gig are sometimes awesome, like benefits packages and steady salaries, the part-time lifestyle can be rewarding in other sanity-saving ways. Not to mention, benefits are becoming rarer and rarer, sadly, even in full-time gigs. It’a time to reclaim the idea of part time work, as this Guardian article suggests, and count the blessings.
You’re have time. This one’s simple. I work a part time education gig, which allows me to work a schedule that goes from early-afternoon to early-evening. It’s one iteration of a part time schedule, and I love it because I can schedule other activities into my day that weren’t previously possible with a full time schedule. I can get to a doctor’s appointment in the morning and drink late into the night. Come one, who doesn’t want that? If you’re scheduled to work early mornings, however, see the part-time work as a blessing. Getting out early means you can do other things with your life. You’ll see the sun, for once.
You can be creative. When I’m doing the full time, 8-hour gig thing, it zaps me of my creativity unless I really work to balance my work and life. I’m a poet–and I know many of you are creatives as well. Whatever it is that you need to do to keep yourself creatively fulfilled, working part-time will give you two things: more time to accomplish it and less work that kills the urge.
You can do other work. If you want two part time jobs, go for it. Yes, this may sound like a full time gig, but chances are, you have a little more control over your hours in these ways. If you are exploring flexible work, try freelancing in your off-hours. There really is nothing better than waking up to a cup of coffee, doing a little work and then going into your “real job.” While that is ideal, part-time hours don’t necessarily mean part-time pay. If you work it, you can find money to fill in the gaps.
You can network. When you’re not working with the same people every single day (I really don’t mean to make it sound as awful as I do, since plenty of offices are great), you’re able to meet new people. Networking is key. While you’re off, you can go to events, meet friends, find other jobs and spend more time being a person in the world–which means you’ll meet others who can help you make your life into the life you want.
You can negotiate for more. At a part time gig, you’re valued, sure, but you’re not tied to one week off in specifically August, for example, and you’re not expected to be as loyal as a full time worker. This means you’re probably afforded the option to ask for time off if needed. More so, in the office setting, you’re probably able to get your in hands into other pots. This gives you more training, which can sometimes get you more money. It’s all about how you work it.
So, if you’re searching for work, try this route. It may not be traditional, but who cares? Tradition is boring.