Greg de la Cruz works at NCR Corp's R&D center in the Philippines. He is interested in economic history and current world financial affairs.
The Benefits of Having a Part-Time Job
Let’s get one thing straight—part-time work exists because full-time work does. The distinction exists because in the world of work, there are two types of people classified according to how much of their lives they have freely given to being under someone’s control and engagement.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) in fact defines the term part-time worker as “an employed person whose normal hours of work are fewer than those of comparable full-time workers.” In other words, there are part-time workers because there are those who work full-time. And what the threshold exactly is to be classified under either is still up for debate. Especially because of today’s disrupted labor industry, where the 9-5, five-days-a-week workstyle seems to be dying off in favor of the hybrid work model, however this latter term may be defined among organizations.
For the purpose of this article, let’s not make any strict distinctions. What you consider as part-time work in your country or locality will be what we assume under this article. Whether it’s considered as part-time work because it’s less than the usual 40 hours, or because you have certain weeks off and weeks on in a particular month—we will not get into that. Let’s assume a uniform idea of part-time work.
With all that said, let’s get into the main purpose of this article—to discuss the advantages of opting for part-time work rather than having a full-time job; the latter being normally the answer to the question, “What do you do?” Let’s also not discount the fact that in some places, there isn’t enough available full-time work for everyone, and so part-time work becomes more common. But whether part-time work becomes the default or if it’s just a mere option, you should still be able to appreciate these nine perks of part-time work.
1. You'll Suffer From Less Burnout
Is burnout really tied to the amount of time you spend at work? According to a survey conducted by Nien-Chih Hu, et. al., long working hours are indeed correlated with burnout when working 40 hours a week, and especially when working over 60 hours. The World Health Organization, which considers burnout as an occupational phenomenon, defines it as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
From this, we can see a direct link between burnout and longer working hours, as well as a failure to manage chronic workplace stress. Working part-time, if that option is available to you, looks like a straightforward solution to burnout. Some manage burnout by taking significant time off—only for the burnout to recur later on.
Hence, the WHO’s proper placement of the words “chronic workplace stress.” It seems like burnout cannot be permanently cured by any number of vacations and PTO. Maybe having permanently reduced working hours is the vaccine?
2. You'll Have More Time to Work Out and Prep Healthy Meals
It’s not just because of the fact that you have reduced working hours that you’ll be able to devote more time and attention to taking care of your body. It’s also because the shorter hours allow you to create or expand more chunks of devoted time to physical activity and/or preparing healthy meals.
The full-time worker is normally able to devote as much as an hour every day for rigorous activity—most can only even do half that much. With more time available at your disposal, you can create more fruitful and focused time to maintain a healthier body.
3. You Won't Feel the Urge to Snack as Much
Does boredom induce hunger? We’ll not get into behavioral science for the purpose of this article, but we will point out that the structure of full-time work does contribute to eating (and spending) more.
The typical eating cycle of a workday is breakfast, mid-day snacks, lunch, afternoon snacks, and then dinner—and sometimes snacks at night (especially after a stressful day at work. I’m not here to generalize everyone’s eating habits as falling into one common pattern, but you must admit that it can get pretty snacky in the middle of the workday.
What I found out when I worked part-time was that I was able to save on food. The reason for that was, yes, like most people, I had breakfast, then headed for work—did all my hours—and then ate lunch. There was no room for snacks in between. Part-time work seems to leave not much room except for work to be done, so it can be a way to save on food.
Read More From Toughnickel
4. Your Job Won’t Define You
When someone asks you, “What do you do?” it’s usually easy to answer that when you have a day-to-day full-time position at some establishment. But when you work part-time, not so much. And the crazy (but not so radical) thing is, you don’t have to be defined by what you do for a living. With a full-time job occupying most of the working-class people’s lives, it has become trendy to equate someone’s worth with someone’s job.
Part-time work can be a way to get out of this illusion because it’s easy to attach so much value to something that pays for everything we want or need. Part-time work, with the fewer hours involved and hence more time to do much else, will help you see the bigger picture.
5. You'll Have More Time to Look for a Job That's Worth Going Full-Time on
For some, being a part-time worker is simply a phase—something transitory—until a real opportunity arrives. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe what you are doing for a part-time job isn’t your calling, and you are simply waiting on an opportunity that’s worthy of your time, attention, and energy. Being employed part-time also means you get to meet people, which also means that you get to build a network.
6. You Can Start or Manage Your Business (for Real)
I can’t imagine anyone running a business successfully while being employed full-time elsewhere in an unrelated business affair. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve known people who worked full-time while having a business, sometimes even multiple side businesses. But that’s just the thing—if you want to turn your side business into something big, and if you want to manage it well, you have to devote the necessary time, attention, and energy to it.
An underlying principle being messaged in this article is that our time, attention, and energy are all finite. Therefore, if your bigger priority is your business, then it’s logical to devote more of these three limited resources into that.
7. You Can Gain Years of Experience in a Shorter Amount of Time
One funny loophole in working a part-time job for years is that you’ll gain years of experience in a shorter time compared to working a full-time job. To make that statement sound more accurate—you’ll spend less time at work while gaining the same ‘years of experience’ that a full-time worker would.
Unless the recruiter for a job you’re applying to does some weird calculation and pro-rates the amount of experience you have to be on par with full-time workers (which to me sounds unfair), then there’s no shame in putting those years down on your resume. Just be sure you don’t mislead anyone, though. If asked if the work was full-time or part-time, it’s better, to be honest.
8. You Can Establish Your Reputation as a Freelancer
Some freelancing careers originate from side hustles. What used to be done part-time eventually becomes a passion worth pursuing and cultivating—and your name becomes known in circles as the guy for ‘something.’ There are also those who eventually quit their full-time job because their side hustle has paid off in a way that’s able to sustain them, whether in terms of personal finance or personal meaning.
Working part-time can set you up for bigger opportunities in the same field. It’s exactly what they say—having a foot in the door.
9. You'll Have More Opportunities to Learn and Cultivate Skills
Lastly, working part-time instead of full-time can be a chance to learn as much as you can. It might seem counterintuitive since learning more is tied to spending more time on the thing you are trying to learn. Instead, think of working part-time as a chance to have more time to learn other things apart from the things you do at work.
In my case, I once worked part-time for an outsourcing company. The day-to-day work involved operating a food delivery service, and I talked to as many as 60 different customers daily. This was completely different from the other skills I was cultivating, as I was enrolled in a law program. I did find that I could pick up some unexpected learnings while on the job that turned out to be useful.
Work Doesn’t Have to Be Your Whole Life
There’s more to life than just work. If you had the choice to spend less time working and still be able to support most of the things in your life that need supporting, there’s a good chance you’ll leave the concept of full-time work behind.
I hope this article was helpful, and good luck to you if you happen to be undecided on taking a part-time job over the full-time jobs that are available.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.