Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pros and Cons of Part-time Work

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I worked full-time at four different places for almost 1.5 years. (Full-time in each of them - 1 month in a bank, 9 months in an INGO, 3 months for an individual and 5 months for an NGO.) Currently, I'm working part-time in four different places - all at the same time. Recently a colleague had asked me, "Isn't full-time better than part-time?" Well, the truth is - it isn't a matter of one being better than the other. It's a matter of preference. Thus, in this post, I'll be highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of working part-time based on my personal experience.

Benefits of working part-time

  1. Flexibility: The best part of working part-time is the flexibility. You don't have to work the traditional 9-5. You have the discretion to choose when you want to work and when you don't. There is no fixed routine anymore. Every day you'll be doing something different.
  2. Optimum utilization of time: When you're working full-time you need to stay inside the office even in those days when you have no work. But, when you're working part-time, you can use that time in doing something else instead. Your time is used well.
  3. Chance to pursue your hobbies: Since you have added flexibility and more time, you have a chance to pursue your hobbies. In my case, I spend a lot of time reading, writing and watching movies. The time saved can be used to change your hobbies into your skills and strengths.
  4. Benefit of variety. If you're following the same kind of routine every day and doing the same kind of work day in-day out, you're more likely to get dull and bored. When you work part-time, you'll be enjoying the advantage of variety as you'll be more keen, active and dynamic.
  5. Higher earning: Full-time job might give you additional benefits in the form of medical benefits and bonuses. However, if you compare the earning in terms of time you spend in a job then you're most likely earning more by working part-time.
  6. More contacts: Since you'll be working in more place than one, you're likely to have more contacts. You never know when these contacts will be a form of help for you.
  7. Development of multiple skills: If the jobs you're engaged in are of diverse nature then you get a chance to develop a variety of skills. On the other hand, working only in one position might limit your use of skills.
  8. Potential for full-time employment: Sometimes an organization can have a vacancy only for a part-time position. However, being associated in some ways to a big organization might increase your chances for working full-time in the same organization at some later date. The chances may be because the vacancy is advertised only internally or because your part-time experience has made you more knowledgeable of the work you'll be doing.
  9. Determining the best option: We don't always know what kind of job we wish to do or what kind of organization we'd prefer to work in. Working part-time gives you a chance to explore your option and later choose the one that you love the most and suits you the best.
  10. Minding your own business. The best advantage of working part-time I've found is that you get a chance to mind your own business. When you work full-time then you're most likely to be affected by the behavior of your team members and colleagues. But, when you work part-time, you go to the workplace, do your work and stay indifferent to other's behaviors. 

Drawbacks of working part-time
  1. No additional benefits: In terms of payment, part-time staffs don't get all the benefits that full-time employees get. Furthermore, they may also miss out on training and development opportunities.
  2. Unstable earnings: When you're working part-time there might be a season when there's no work while some seasons you may be working to the max. Thus, earnings end up being unstable.
  3. A sense of non-belonging: When you're working part-time, you don't fully belong to an organization. You won't be a part of internal meetings and you may not even be invited for office dinners and programs. This might make you feel a little left-out. 
  4. Jack of all, master of none: If you're engaged in jobs that differ widely in nature then you might end up being a jack of all but master of none. Instead if you're devoting full-time to a particular kind of job then you're more likely to be an expert in that area.
  5. Stagnant growth. When you work full-time then you progress along the organizational hierarchy as your performance improves and higher level position opens up. But, working part-time might mean stagnancy in terms of career growth.
Whether you choose to work part-time or full-time depends a lot on your personality, preference and life situations. For the time being, I prefer working part-time because I'm in the phase of exploring options and developing skills rather than settling down, I'm also earning more this way and this gives me freedom in terms of time. I get a chance to work on my personal projects. This priority might change some day and your priority might be different than mine. All you need to know is there is no barometer that indicates one kind of job to be better than the other. Generally part-timers are not considered as highly as full-timers. For ages the society has been valuing 'getting a job that pays you fixed paychecks each month'. But, it's totally a matter of choice in terms of what you wish to pursue and you have the freedom to choose what suits you the best.

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