People choose to work part-time for a number of reasons, such as balancing family and life with work, supplementing a freelancing career or business, experimenting with different careers, and starting part-time in the hopes of becoming a full-time employee. But whatever your particular reason, there are some basic things to consider when choosing part-time work. With the following points in mind, you can thrive in your part-time role, and use it as the perfect stepping stone in your career path.
Figure Out Your Finances
If you’re working part-time, then you may need to pay extra attention to your finances. It is, of course, true that some professions can afford you a living wage even if you work part-time, depending on the number of hours you work. Some of these lucrative career paths would include law, programming, and engineering. (Yes, you could very well be able to live in London and work part-time as a software developer; if, you have the right kind of clients or contract).
But say you have to work two part-time roles in order to live comfortably. You should work out what your salaries from both roles will be after tax. Then you need to create a realistic outline of your monthly expenses – and then add an extra certain amount to that as a buffer.
You may currently be doing a job that you love but which doesn’t pay too well. So, while you may still lean towards another part-time role that seems interesting or exciting, it may be necessary to prioritise pay over passion; at least until you can focus on what you’re passionate about full-time. On the other hand, if you already have a well-paid job, but which you don’t really enjoy, consider what kind of role you’d honestly be thrilled to do. In this way, your part-time job could end up being a launching pad for a more fulfilling career path.
Many people work part-time in order to fund their master’s degree. After all, postgraduate scholarships are in short supply. If this is what you need to do, consider all of the costs involved in doing your degree; not just the tuition but also accommodation, food, books and stationery, going out, and so on. Again, make sure to have a buffer so you’re not adding financial stress into your life, on top of everything else you need to think about.
Be Realistic About Your Schedule
If you decide that you’re not going to work more than, say, 40 hours a week, then you may assume that two part-time jobs where you work 20 hours a week is ideal. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. For example, how far is it to get from one job to the other? Would you have time for a break or lunch? This kind of situation may be manageable if one job includes a certain amount of flexibility and isn’t hugely taxing – but if both roles are very full on, then you may find yourself getting exhausted.
In terms of doing a master’s degree at the same time, you should have an idea of what your schedule will be like in terms of lectures, seminars, studying, and revising for exams. You will want to be able to have enough paid work so that you can easily fund your studies. Yet you don’t want to work so much that you have little time to focus on your education. Be realistic about the fact that you need time to unwind, go out, and socialise. Constantly being in either work mode or study mode can be draining and ruin the value of both endeavours.
Find a Job That is Complementary
Whether you’re already working or studying, finding part-time work that is complementary to either can really boost your career prospects. Your part-time work can complement your existing job or degree in a number of ways, including subject matter, skills or broader goals (e.g. making a positive impact, broadening one’s horizons, meeting people, and the general pursuit of knowledge). If you’re studying for a master’s degree in law, then gaining part-time work experience in a legal setting will put you at a massive advantage by the time you graduate.
Finding part-time work that is complementary in some sense will add more purpose and direction to your life, and ultimately help you to excel in your career development.
Sam Woolfe writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and graduate jobs in London. You can find more of his work at www.samwoolfe.com.