Last year I quit my job. It was the final piece in my strategy to ‘escape the rat race’.
But before quitting, I worked part-time hours for about a year.
In this post I’ll share what I learned. The pros and the cons of changing your working hours from full-time, to part-time.
No matter your reasons for considering part-time hours, you’ll find this useful.
Disclosure: Based on personal opinion, not to be taken as advice. Seek a professional if required.
From Full-Time to Part-Time
Can anyone go part-time?
It depends on where you live. You have to do your research. To start with, you need to find out who decides. Also, is it a Right or a privilege?
I did my research and discovered that the law had recently changed in the UK. In the past, only certain people had the right to request part-time hours, like parents or carers.
Traditionally, it was for new mothers wanting to spend more time at home. Nowadays, at least in the UK, anyone can request part-time hours.
In the UK it’s actually called ‘FLEXIBLE WORKING‘. If you’re in the UK and want to read more, check out the .gov website, here.
If you’re outside the UK, I would suggest you check your own government websites.
Your employer, or union, may also be able to help.
Going Part-Time At Work: The Cons
ONE: PLAYING CATCH UP
If you’re currently caught up in a busy career, you’ll be used to constant changes and new procedures. When you go part-time, you still have to keep up with any changes. It can mean you’re playing catch up.
This normally means working extra unpaid time, and cramming information on your own. In contrast, your colleagues may have had a day to digest it slowly, and been able to discuss it at a meeting.
TWO: A BIT OF AN OUTSIDER
It makes sense that people who work together everyday are going to build friendships.
That’s relevant when going part-time at work. Once you go part-time, you seem to drift apart.
People get used to not seeing you around. You have become the Part-timer.
Like it or not, there can be negative connotations that come along with being part-time, especially in the professional world.
Going part-time could be detrimental to your relationships at work.
As a result, in a cliquey office/workplace where work is shared out unevenly, expect more to come your way -when you are in, that is.
THREE: FEWER HOURS = LESS PAY
It’s a con! Going part-time at work means getting paid less money.
If you’re used to living comfortably on your full-time wage, you may need to tighten the belt in response to your new budget.
Check out my ‘Frugal Living‘ section for tips & tricks.
Make sure you work out what your new pay-packet will look like. You don’t want any surprises, as you may not be able to go back to full-time hours.
FOUR: WORK STILL SUCKS
If your motivation for going part-time is to spend more time with your family, or another factor not related to work, then you can skip this.
My motivation was that I hated work. All aspects of it.
Interestingly, once I went part-time, I dreaded going into work more.
It’s the extended time away from work that makes going back so much harder. You begin to create a new, better, life for yourself. When you do go back in, it’s like picking at a scab. Never really allowing you to move on with your new reality.
The fact remains, you are still employed. You just don’t have to be there as much.
FIVE: COLLEAGUES & MANAGEMENT EXPECT MORE
I’ve touched on this already, but it deserves its own section: People expect you to work harder.
Colleagues and management act as if you owe them something, because they have to work full-time hours. Like your working life is somehow connected to theirs -and you’re not pulling your weight.
It’s all very odd, but true.
They act as if you’re still on the same wage. They conclude that you have to work harder.
If there’s a job that needs doing, and you’re in, expect the extra work to come your way.
Thankfully, my overtime was always taken as ‘Time-In-Lieu’. Meaning, I was off even more!
SIX: WASTING YOUR TIME
So, you decided to go part-time at work. Great. The company let you do it, the family can afford the loss in income, and you’re a happier person because of it. Great.
Tomorrow, that’s when you’ll start that new project…. right?
No? OK, maybe next week? That’s when you’ll get going, right?
Well, jokes aside, I offer fair warning: When you go part-time you may spend a lot of time ‘decompressing’ from the hustle of full-time work.
I know some people may have responsibilities which limit the likelihood of this, but you might not be as productive as you hope.
My opinion? Allow yourself to go through the process. Take your time. After you’re done decompressing you’ll be back to your old self – full of energy and ready to go.
Going Part-Time At Work: The Pros
ONE: MORE TIME TO DO WHAT YOU WANNA DO
Going part-time at work means more time to do what you want to do. It’s true. You will feel the difference.
Whether you look after the kids, work on DIY projects or go bowling, you’ll notice the extra time you have on your hands.
See the last ‘con’ because how you spend that extra time is important to feeling like it’s all been worthwhile.
Unless of course, the plan was to go part-time to catch up on your sleep!
TWO: ENLIGHTENING – FREEDOM MINDSET
If you’ve been a worker bee for most of your adult life, then you go part-time, something fundamentally changes about your perception of reality.
Sounds a little dramatic, but it isn’t really. Your world has changed – it makes sense that you grow into that change.
You’ll have more freedom, and more time on your hands.
You actually have energy to think beyond the rat race drudgery that would have normally occupied your mind.
THREE: MAKES WORK NEARLY BEARABLE
I found that for a short period after going part-time, work was nearly bearable
You are there less often. It’s that simple.
Also, the work-life balance is much better.
If you’re happier at home as a result of your new part-time hours, it takes more to wind you up when you are at work.
FOUR: IF A CORPORATE JOB – GREAT PART-TIME PAY
If you’re going from a full-time corporate job, to part-time hours, you’ll likely keep the great hourly rate.
Generally speaking, part-time work is low paying.
When I went part-time, I was fortunate in that I could still cover the bills.
Part-time for me, meant saving less money.
You need a decent salary to begin with. There’s no way I could’ve found a part-time job that paid me a similar wage.
FIVE: SAVE MORE MONEY
There are lots of different ways to go part-time. You could work a few hours everyday, or work a 2 or 3 day week.
I’m sure you’ll do what’s best for your personal circumstances.
I compressed my hours and worked 2 days a week. It meant I could make easy savings: I would drive to work 2 days a week instead of 5 and use my extra time to prepare my meals for lunch in advance.
Going Part-Time At Work: Priorities
Work, Career, Money, Home Life and Happiness. It’s all a matter of priorities. We can’t have it all, all of the time.
Money is a prominent issue for most people, so you should take the time to run the numbers. Make sure you can afford to take the pay cut.
In my case, I exchanged money for happiness. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!
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