Since graduating from University and most recently College, I must say I am thankful that I have found work in my field that I find meaningful and challenging. I am grateful that I have steady work and that I am making connections in the social work field that I feel will benefit me in my future career. I have had part time jobs since high school and have always managed to find work even if it isn't the best position, so this past year has been refreshing in that I actually have training for the work I am doing!
With all that said though, I have discovered the uncertainty of part-time work. Most people I know who are out of school and working hold part-time positions (or have employers who keep them just under 37.5 hours/week). This can be difficult for many reasons, and I am sure I am not the only person who longs for a full time position someday, so I would like to share some of my observations from having up to 3 part time jobs at one time.
1. Being a part-time worker distances employees from their organization.
When I am not able to participate fully in what an agency is working on because I have less hours then my co-workers, I am not able to fully engage and use my skills. So many work-related decisions happen when people are talking over lunch, or just hanging out in the office. Part-time workers miss out on important discussions and then are not fully utilized on their teams.
2. Working two or three jobs at the same time means an employee isn't giving their best.
At one point this year I held three part time jobs, and the main reason I quit (other than realizing the insanity of that decision) was because I couldn't focus at each different job. So even though the 3 jobs added up to full time hours, I was never in the right headspace when starting a shift which led to feeling like I was working all the time. Also, some days it meant working a full day plus more into the evening to accommodate scheduling, so being tired was inevitable.
3. Contract work and part-time hours can be a barrier to major life decisions.
Personally this has come up for me in terms of buying our first home. Even thought I work full time hours, I only get a certain amount of guaranteed hours per week which doesn't look the best when applying for a mortgage. (Thanks to Evan for his full-time job). Additionally, when we choose to have kids it may be difficult to re-enter the workforce after taking time off.
4. Part-time work does not allow for sufficient rest and down time.
This is where I see myself and my friends struggle the most. When you are working multiple jobs you can never guarantee that you will have a day off, which results in bring overtired at work. I have friends who take sick days from one job so that they don't have to miss a shift at their other job. Working seven days a week, even if some days are minimal hours is not healthy although when you have to decide between being financially secure and having time off, it can be hard!
These are some of my thought on part-time/contract work. Would love to hear any thoughts, or advice you might have on the topic?