Part-time work means I earn less, but I live more

Guest post by Anneke Van Dien
By: Tax CreditsCC BY 2.0

I never want a full-time job again. There. I’ve said it.

I’m not a lazy person. In fact, I love working. When I work, I work hard. I get shit done. But I’ve decided that having one job to go to every weekday, all the time, is just not for me.

Since I started working at sixteen, I could never get comfortable with typical working life. You rent yourself to someone so they can make a bunch of money. You go home drained every night, eat a quick dinner, watch some TV, then get up and do it again. Two weeks of the year, or three if you’re lucky, your employer lets you free. You dread going back to the slog at the end of your sliver of time off. They expect total commitment, but can throw you out whenever they’re done with you. It was sucking my soul. It made me sad.

But I did it for a long time. I had jobs I hated and jobs I liked. I had jobs that paid crap, and later jobs that paid better. I worked with people I hated and people I loved. But the feeling never changed. The feeling of being stuck in a life where I belonged more to my employer than to my own self.

Maybe I can’t leave behind my teenage anarchist ways. Maybe I’m a beatnik stuck in the wrong time. Maybe I just can’t hack it. Or maybe there is a better way for me.

So here’s the plan. Work part-time. Always. Forever. I’ll do two part-time jobs that will add up to full-time. One that brings in the bucks and one that I love — Photography, creative woodworking, art, small entrepreneurship? It’ll give me the variety that I need to stay engaged. I’ve learned that I’m the kind of person who gets bored being in the same place, doing the same thing every day.

After having my son, it took me almost two years to find the right employer who’d let me work part-time in an industry that isn’t used to women, especially working mothers, or part-timers. I now work three-to-four days a week and get to take care of my toddler the rest of the time. I save a fortune on daycare. At this point if I went back to work full-time, I’d actually make less because of the cost of full-time daycare.

There have been times I’ve been close to giving in and just going back to work full-time. It’s been hard to find part-time work, and it’s been nearly impossible to find quality part-time daycare. The world just isn’t set up for this. But it is possible!

Yes, I’ll probably make less money this way… unless I can make a success of whatever I do on the side. If I do end up making less, I can make up some of it by using less fuel for commuting, having time to prepare cheaper meals, and combing thrift stores instead of running to the big-box store because I’m crunched for time. I find that when I’m working too much, I bleed money because I can’t keep up with life.

While my son is young, I’ll use my extra time to see more of him. Later, I’ll use the extra time to try to make money doing what I love. I’ll work my ass off. But the difference is that on those days that are mine, I’ll be working my ass off for ME.

Of course, when I need it, I’ll use my days to read a book, help with school outings, take short trips, cook, volunteer, clean the house, educate myself, or go to the doctor or dentist without having to beg for time off.

Funny thing is, I actually feel more committed to my current part-time job now than when I worked full-time. It can be hard to keep up sometimes — I feel like I have to achieve the same amount in half the time. However, I don’t feel so dragged out that I lose my motivation and start hating my job. It works out pretty well for my employer too. When it gets busy I put in a little more time, and when it’s slow they don’t have to keep me as busy as they would with a full-timer. I think they save a little on taxes and premiums as well.

Imagine the possibilities if more of us could get by working part-time, or could do some variation on the typical work week. (Four-days-a-week, ten-hour-a-day schedules are becoming popular among some companies and government agencies.) We could do important volunteer work. We could be politically active. Instead of eating pre-packaged food, we could participate in a community kitchen or tend our own gardens. Consume less, live more.

My decision, at least for now, is to sacrifice a little on the work side for a better life and a better me.

Comments on Part-time work means I earn less, but I live more

  1. YES!!! I LOVE THIS!

    I have felt exactly the same way about employment for about as long as I can remember. Most people seem to interpret that as my being lazy, but just as you wrote, I see it as a different ordering of priorities. I certainly haven’t been able to articulate myself as well as you have.

    • People who see part-time work as laziness need to unplug themselves from the matrix! They’re hypnotised by an outmoded and sad ideological hangover from the industrial era where humans were commoditised. The ideology was perpetuated in various guises one of which was the protestant ethic – that hard work is next to godliness. In reality, hard work within the system of paid employment is simply profit-making exploitation and in many cases is a corruption of the original purpose of work which is meant to meet the needs of the community, not line the pockets of businesspeople. I believe it is possible to find a balance between the social obligation to work, and the drive for individual expression.

      I’ve had to fight for it, but moving to 3 days of paid employment per week is easily the best thing I’ve ever done. I feel that the freedom to work towards one’s own goals is the greatest wealth. Put another way: Time is priceless. Once you have enough to ‘get by’, any more work than that is met with the law of diminishing returns. Bertrand Russell wrote a wry and engaging essay on the topic: “Is praise of idleness”. Worth the read.

      Might sound a bit commie/juvenile, but that’s how I feel based on my experience!

  2. I tooootally felt this way about employment. Full-time gigs with set hours always made me feel claustrophobic. I hated the fact that I would have to miss out on awesome life experiences because I needed to go to work. I still regret all the things I missed — birthdays, vacations, holidays, time with friends, time with family members that have since passed — for a job that I can barely remember, doing a task that turned out to be completely unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

  3. Thank you so much for this post! I feel the same way about wasting my life in a 9-5 cubicle just because “that’s what you do” (and never mind that everyone who says that also complains about it). I’ve been trying to build a freelance design business around a part-time design gig that I love. I love the freedom to work on so many new projects, never mind the time that I can set aside to work on my writing. And let’s face it, making dinner for me and the boy, timing it for when he walks in the door, is pretty awesome.

    Unfortunately, I’m surrounded by 9-5er friends who scoff that the boy is carrying me financially, or laughing point out that they wish they didn’t have to work like me. It makes me feel guilty: Am I contributing enough to our joint funding? Is the boy really okay with having less spending cash to throw around on weekends, or is he just saying that he is? Is it wrong of me to want to pursue a lifestyle instead of a career?

    I try to focus on the facts (instead of the opinions of others): We don’t need to spend all that extra money on grocery shopping if I just go through the circulars. Unlike those friends, we don’t have to coordinate vacation time in order to take a short trip, or a date day. We have a better relationship when we can spend time together doing things, instead of my just collapsing in front of the TV after a day of dealing with the drain of office politics and drama. And, to be frank, I’m more productive away from those sorts of office environments anyway; I get more done, in ALL of my pursuits, instead of being paid to look at tumblr and blogs all day.

    And yeah, that guilt is still a persistent issue, no matter how many upsides I can list, but knowing that I’m not the only one out there that has priorities other than climbing a career ladder helps. 🙂

    • Don’t feel guilty- we’re all just jealous (Though AEC workers work 8 to 5, so we’re also jealous of 9-5ers). Get it! Design is hard! It comes randomly, it takes a specific set of talents, and if you stress too much, you burn out and have ‘no talent left in your pinky’ by Friday. Seriously, go you!

    • I think there is a lot to be said for questioning status quo, deciding where your own values lie, and then living in a way that represents those values. All of the things you mention in the last big paragraph are the benefits (mostly not financial) to doing what you’ve chosen.
      I envy you and I hope to grow a pair and start living in line with my own values soon!

  4. H- E-double hockey sticks-YES! I’m currently working full time for a very, very small company. And luckily, the owner is a work-to-live kinda person and not a live-to-work person. I have conversations with him all the time about how one of my life goals is to support myself with part time work. .. Now I just have to scheme enough to make full time money on part time hours..

  5. I would love to have some more time off work to pursue life stuff (even just the day-to-day chores). In the past few months, I’ve been working 4 days/week (still technically full-time) so that I can finish my degree in the other 3 days (and weekday evenings), and the flexibility of being able to accomplish errands during business hours has made me positively giddy!

    But the ongoing concern I have is how to manage healthcare/insurance without a full-time employer footing the bill. In a country with nationalized healthcare, those worries may not keep people from pursuing part-time-only work, but where I live it’s the biggest obstacle — far above living on a smaller base salary or whether part-timing would hurt my career progression.

      • As a former long term Starbucks employee, I can vouch for this. You get full time benefits at only twenty hours for week. And not crappy benefits either- legit health insurance (I think I had to kick in $30 per paycheck for it), stocks, life insurance, the works. The only caveat is that you have to be with the company three months before your benefits kick in. Say what you will about Starbucks, but they take care of their employees, and I will always appreciate them for that.

    • I’m in a state with required health insurance, and that means there is a ton of “lower-income” state health insurance providers…but you have to dig to find them. I currently pay my insurance costs out-of-pocket, and the only thing I’m missing is dental. I don’t know your country’s policies, but you should totally look into what “low income” options are out there. I’d be surprised if there weren’t a few programs that you wouldn’t need an employer to pay for.

    • This is entirely why I am still with the job I have and hate. I’ve been here for nearly three years and it’s breaking me, but I need that health insurance. It’s a real downer.

      I don’t know how anyone lives (on their own) with part-time money, though. I work 40 hour weeks at under $11/hr and it still only just allows me comfort.

      • Exactly. If there were any minimizing that could’ve been done when I lived in the USA to go part-time, I would have. But there wasn’t. My 40-hour workweek on a salary that came out to about $10/hour, in a major metro area, just kept me above water.

        All the “I want to reorder my priorities” in the world wouldn’t have fixed that.

        • Exactly this. Unfortunately, with the bills I’m having to pay (student loan debt, agh) and the commute I have to make from my rural location to get to my (arguably also rural) job, there is no room to reorder my priorities, as much as I’d love to. I’m barely afloat with my full-time-with-benefits job – after taxes, insurance, etc., I make about $9/hour. Once bills come in, I’m left with about 16% of my total income to work with – I’d love to work part- time only, because this is really soul-sucking. But it’s also just the way it is.

      • Don’t feel bad….Health Insurance at my employer is super expensive ($2000 a month anyone?), so I haven’t been able to get married…We’ve been putting it off and putting it off but I don’t think there will be a time in the near future where we could afford that…

        • Can you consolidate into a family plan with your significant other? get a marriage certificate and then use the money you’d save to have the celebration later?

      • Fudge man…. I dunno how you guys do it over there…. you get paid fuck-all, and then you have to pay for doctors and uni and shit on top….

        Granted, Australia is one of the most highly taxed countries in the world, but we have good schools, hardly any out-of-pocket medical expenses (unless you wanna be picky about doctors), most medications are subsidised, most TAFE (tech-collage) courses are subsidised, we have the HECS (or I think it’s called HELP now?) scheme for university where the government pays your fees, and then you pay it back in the form of a tax after you graduate, once you’re earning over a certain threshold, and we have a minimum wage that actually earns you more than living on welfare: “Currently the full-time minimum wage is $16.37 per hour or $622.20 per week. Casuals covered by the national minimum wage get an extra 24% ($20.30 per hour).” -This is for anyone over 21.

        Most full-time employees get 4 weeks paid annual leave and 2 weeks paid sick leave per year (part-timers get 2 and 1) usually with around a 17% loading to make up for over-time that you might miss out on while you’re on leave…

        Sometimes I feel a bit hard-done by cuz I don’t earn as much as say my sister or my best friend…. but then I come on here and read what you guys put up with.

        having said that… I’ve worked mostly part time over the past 10 years, and have only been working full-time over the past 2, for myself, running a franchise. I’ve just been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and I’m now selling my business, I can’t wait to get back to part time work so then I can do things like tending my vegetable garden and washing the dishes instead of working, eating whatever i can assemble for hubby and i in 10 minutes, and falling into bed (wash, rinse, repeat) 5 days a week, and then spending 2 days (if i’m lucky and don’t have to run business-related errands on a monday) recovering on the couch, only to get up and do it all over again, while my house, garden and social life fall apart around me.

    • Yeah the health care thing could definitely be an issue. I just slip in the required number of hours to qualify for my plan. I don’t know about the states but in Canada you can pay for your own insurance through Blue Cross (I know a lot of self employed people use them). As for retirement plans I just set up my own and contribute a small amount regularly and add more when I work more.

    • Whole Foods too.

      Actually, TGI Friday’s also offers it to wait staff, but you have to wait six months to get it. Their food might be terrible and I hated working in one of their airport locations, but they also do provide room for growth – many of their store managers and upper management started out as servers.

  6. I so agree… but ugh! I’m a slave to my student loans. When they end though, I am sooo switching to part-time!

    However, my husband and I feel the same way about business using people, so he started his own company with our best friend. All employees make minimum wage plus a percent of the profit. We have found the sole employee works a lot more happily and diligently and gets stuff done without needing to log hours (we only offered part-time employment, but for the extra effort, he feels he pulls in more from profit percent by putting in his own time).

    Businesses don’t thrive without the little guys, but no one seems to give back to them really… it is so depressing!

    • Amid the sea of articles about what lazy, immature, failures we are, this is the most amazing article I have ever read. Thank you for sharing it!!

    • OMG! I was just going to post that! The original Medium Chill article by David Roberts (linked in the above article) is also excellent.

      Can’t wait until the Millennials take over – societal priorities are gonna shift BIG time.

  7. Amen. 🙂 This resonates with me on several levels.

    First, I’m working four days a week at a job that I like. I don’t love it, but if I need to earn the monies, I might as well do something I enjoy, right?

    Secondly, I have had a photography business since 2007 and even did it full time for a couple years. But honestly, running it full time meant I stressed about too much.

    A few weeks ago, I watched the documentary, “I’m Fine, Thanks”. I recommend it wholeheartedly. It really looks at what we need to be happy in regards to our careers and living situations.

  8. This is exactly how I’ve always felt! (And been looked at weird because of it.) But I am having my first child in the Fall and this is my plan to the T. I will work 3 days a week (if my employer allows it) and have 4 days to myself and my new family. I know it will be a struggle for me and my husband, money-wise, but the benefits of bonding with my child and taking care of our home like I always wanted to far outweigh that. Now I just have to get over my fear of bringing it up to my employer…

    • I hear you. It is worth so much more to me to spend my days with my little one and have a chance to relax with my husband at night than it is to work long hours. Yeah, things are super tight and other big life dreams will take longer to happen, but I don’t get a second chance at these days either! Good luck!

  9. I couldn’t have said it better myself. This is exactly how I feel. But for now, I am working full time, commuting 5 days a week, and spending money out the ass because I don’t have the energy/time to cook dinner, go to more than one store, or even go grocery shopping half the time.
    Such is this American life… I know it’s that complacent attitude that gets people stuck in this reality, and I am determined to change it for myself. I just keep getting sucked into my own negativity and thinking that it’s actually too hard to build a business, be self-employed, etc. I will prevail, and hopefully it’s while my son is still young and wants to spend time with me. 🙂

  10. When I graduated from undergrad last year, I only had a part-time job set up. I thought about getting another job to help pay the bills, but the way this job works (with a campus ministry) I’m never quite sure when I’ll be working or not, and the flexibility has proved to be a benefit. I’m able to survive financially because my roommates and I split the rent three ways, meaning I pay half of what I did my last year of undergrad. My roommates both also work part-time, though one is home more than me and the other less.
    Although it isn’t fun being perpetually broke, it’s a lot more fun than being perpetually tired. We have time to cook good meals, we spend a whole afternoon at the park when we want to, we sit out on our patio, drink tea, and read books for hours. In the last year, I taught myself calligraphy, started a garden on our patio, and wrote my first short story. That’s not to say that I haven’t also spent a lot of time watching Netflix, scrolling tumblr, and feeling bored, but learning the balance has been good for me.
    In August, I start grad school, and my monthly stipend from my fellowship will be three times what I make now. Of course, it comes with a price: between class and lab, I’ll be on a 40-hour work week. On one hand, I’m looking forward to worrying less about money, but a part of me is also mourning the loss of my time. I’m trying to make the best of it until then, working on a novel and seeing a lot of the sun.

  11. Thank you so much for posting this. As a fellow part timer I feel I have to always follow “I work part time” with “but if I got a full time opportunity, I would take it.” Nope, I wouldn’t. Working part time allows me to concentrate on other things that make me happy: writing, scrap booking, reading books, spending time with my family – I could go on and on. I do miss the financial benefits of working full time but they do not outweigh the joys of having freedom to indulge my passions.

  12. I think it takes a lot of guts to really pursue what makes you happy. I was really lucky that I went straight to university when I left high school, studied something I loved (psychology) and have had great jobs that I love that pay me well, so I don’t mind working full time. In saying that, if I could work 4 days a week for the same pay, I’d probably be less tired trying to cram everything else into my life. My partner recently gave up his job to go back to university and retrain in something he’s passionate about, and when he’s finished, we’ll both have a lot more flexibility about working from home or working less hours (and I’ll be making babies then, so that’s good timing!).

  13. I made the switch to part time corporate work in 2006 when I cut down to 4 days a week. I took it even farther when I cut down to 3 days a week at the job I started in 2007.

    Then of course I screwed it all up by starting a small business. Now I work 7 days a week. *shakes a loving fist at the Empire*

  14. Boy! This article just threw me into a spin. This is EXACTLY what I have been thinking about my life. After getting married I kept having this thought that even though the people I work with are very nice and I have had great experiences, and paying off student debt is awesome – I have always wanted some time for me before we start a family.

    Not a lot of time – but maybe switch to a part time job and enjoy the things that sit on my mental wish list (i.e. finish my knitting projects, learn to play the piano, ride my bike). I am crossing my fingers that one day I will be able to do that. Thank you so much for this article!

  15. YES YES YES!!! I’ve also made these changes in my life and have never felt happier!! I work 20hrs a week and run a small massage/reflexology practice on the side. I will never be rich, I will have to save up for things but I have enough. My life finally feels like it’s in balance, like I am finally being true to me!

  16. This is so funny, I just started a blog called “odd job sally” to address the people who work many part time or odd gigs to make ends meet instead of the 9 to 5 but have been having a hard time finding people willing to let me profile them – and here you all are saying “Hells yes, this is me!”. My husband and I are currently reworking our schedules so we can BOTH work part time and BOTH take care of our ten month old. And we are both feeling way happier about it then the current he works all the time and I am at home all the time. We are broke as fuck but whatever- food is still on the table!

  17. “Maybe I can’t leave behind my teenage anarchist ways. Maybe I’m a beatnik stuck in the wrong time. Maybe I just can’t hack it.”

    Or maybe we, as human beings, were meant to live a better, more meaningful way than slaving 40+hours a week to make money for someone else while our own hopes and homes and loves suffer for it? It’s a hard, scary decision to make but it’s also liberating. And once you start to really understand what it can be like to live a different way, you find it easy to give up non essential things in order to keep living that way. I run two small businesses, so technically I work more hours than I ever did as a corporate management slave, but it’s on MY terms. And I will try my damnedest to NEVER go back to the way things were before. Kudos to you for doing what you need to do.

  18. It is such a relief to find that I am not the only person who feels this way! Working 40 hours a week has always felt so excessive and crushing…I was afraid that I’m just lazy. But really, I can’t muster the motivation to devote so much of my time to slaving away for someone else and missing out on more fulfilling activities and quality time with family and friends in the meantime. I feel super validated just reading this. Thank you!

  19. Honestly, while I understand where all the pro-part time folks are coming from, I can’t help but wonder if part of the issue is the feeling you’re all expressing of being “owned” by your job or being part of the 9-5 “cubical slog.”

    If that’s what your job makes you feel, don’t effing do it. If that means switching to a different full time job, great. If that means switching to a different part time job, great. If that means going back to school and learning how to make it as a car mechanic, DO IT. Life’s too short to compartmentalize your life into “fun” and “work.” Not all work sucks, and there are ways to get paid for nearly everything.

    • For me, it’s that I really do not like giving 40 hours of my life/week to someone else. I have always loved my career, but giving that much time to goals I don’t have control over? Not cool with it.

      So I don’t think it’s as easy as “I don’t want to work 40hrs/wk doing TASK.” (I love my career’s TASKs.) For me it’s more “I don’t want to work 40hrs/wk doing TASK for someone else.” Can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s a control issue.

    • I dunno, I’m a big believer in “There’s ways to get paid to do almost anything” but that doesn’t mean it’s a reasonable amount. And some of those jobs are practically fulltime jobs just to get.

      Personally, I wish their was an exactly on this post. I’m pretty sure within the next year and a half I’m going to try to move down to a part-time and/or more fun job. My cubicle mates keep throwing me lines like “No other job is going to be this easy” but I’d argue the office culture (and the stronger office culture we’re moving towards) makes the job not as easy as some part time work I could be doing.

      Though… I highly doubt any further jobs will be paid as well. It makes quitting hard. That, and feeling like I’d be throwing my 3-man department under the bus.

      • “feeling like I’d be throwing my 3-man department under the bus.”
        This is what made it hard for me to leave my last 2 full time jobs. It is hard. Its also hard to walk away and see everything you spent 3 years working on and building fall apart. But this gave me the motivation to start my own company so I don’t have to watch that happen again. I also have taken a part time/ contractor job setup to spend more time with family and find a better balance in life. I am loving not ‘throwing away my good years’ to someone else. I was tired of missing everything because of a job i hated too!

        • Yeah, I’m planning on waiting out until at least after my wedding, and seeing how much money I can squirrel away in the next 6-8 months before I try my hand at something less corporate. We might even have hired someone new by then.

          Watching what I built crumble though… Well, if they crumble because they lost me, I’d be very surprised. If I left now, with the most experienced member planning on a month long vacation in a few more weeks though… That would make me a jerk.

    • Not everyone who wants to switch jobs can immediately do so. For me, I couldn’t afford to go part-time, and couldn’t find another job to replace the one I hated. “Don’t effing do it” would have been useless advice to me at that time in my life, because I HAD to do it. I HAD to pay the bills and my new job search was going nowhere.

      The only way to get out was to work more hours, not less, and save money to move to Taiwan. I did that, clawed my way out of the “teaching kids’ English for pennies” hole within a year, and finally built some semblance of career satisfaction…

      …but it still took a year of working that horrible job, and then another part-time job on top of it, to do that.

      Please consider those of us who are or have been in that situation when you say “then don’t effing do it”.

      • YES! Thanks you. “Don’t effing do it” takes a lot of soul-searching, time, sacrifice, hard work, figuring out what TO do, etc. And if you’re making good money, it can be easier to go part time for your sanity than to go back to near- minimum wage to start over in a new career. I call it “the golden shackles”.

    • That control is definitely a big part of it for me – the less control i have over my schedule the more stressed I get. But it’s also about having variety in the tasks I do and the environments I’m in. And that’s hard to find in one job. I didn’t mention it in the article but I am working on a career change, but changing careers is not easy, so part time is a good solution while I prepare to change careers and during the transition. But I think even with a dream job I would still want to work fewer than forty hours a week at least some of the time so I have time for life stuff and parenting stuff.

  20. I had spent my adult life working at crap jobs I hated just to get the bills paid, and spending more time having anxiety and fatigue from those jobs than actually living my life. After a divorce and moving back in with my parents and going back to college in my early 30’s, I came to the startling conclusion that there had to be more to life than working my tuskas off to pay for the privilege of living. This was compounded by the fact that I met the man I wanted to share my life’s adventure with, and I wanted to spend my time building a life with him, not working all the time and seeing him only two hours a day (while married).

    I had just quit a job after a month because I was spending more time at it than doing anything else in my life, and I really didn’t fit in with what they wanted. Sure, it was heady finally getting a paycheck after three years of being unemployed, but I discovered that the pay was not worth the loss of my soul. I gained a lot for my well-being during those three years of being in school and not being owned by a business, and I intend to find something that will respect that. I want to focus on Quality of Life as opposed to losing my life to a job.

    As a result of this epiphany, I have scrawled on my huge message board in my room: “There is more to Life than paying taxes for the privilege of living. Make something out of Life so that when your life flashes before your eyes at death, you won’t see yourself only at work.”

    (And, really, do we want our final moments to be focused on what good little worker drones we were? I’d rather mine be about my own life’s adventures.)

  21. I appreciate this essay because it shows me a perspective that I have not normally encountered. I’m in graduate school pursuing my PhD, and at first read my reaction was like, “how do you not get bored??” Because while I do occasionally despair being overworked and underpaid, the work I do is inherently interesting to me and I like being able to do it and it’s at least part of what I want to do with my life. This is especially salient because I just finished up my tasks for the semester a few hours ago, and I’m already feeling restless with no sense of what to do with myself.

    And then I remember learning in an undergrad anthropology class that in a lot of subsistence cultures, people don’t work more than maybe 4-6 hours a day tending crops, repairing their huts, etc, in order to meet their basic needs. So obviously they have more time for play and social relationships, and that’s so enviable compared to the standards of Western society.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is that while I don’t necessarily agree with this perspective on a personal level (I would not adopt this approach myself), I do appreciate that there are people challenging the conventional way of doing things! 🙂

    • I don’t get bored because I’m fucking BUSY. Working part-time does not mean i’m sitting on my ass part of the time. It’s about priorities, and changing my perspective on what work means. Just because it doesn’t pay doesn’t mean it’s not work. Specifically for me I’m talking about childcare, but for others it could mean the housework, tending the garden, volunteer work, writing, art, etc.

  22. This is really interesting to me, because I work part-time at a big box store. So many of you are saying “oh, it gives me so much more time for my life,” and that hasn’t been my experience at all. I’ve recently been promoted and with that comes more regular hours; before that, I had strange mixes of opening and closing shifts that made a regular sleep schedule impossible, plus the constant chance of having few hours and thus no money (or surprise 40 hour weeks). Those regular hours come with their own price, though. I get one weekday and every other weekend off, so every other week I work six days in a row (and yup, sometimes it’s six full eight and a half hour shifts). There’s also how draining mass retail is in general, leaving me watching TV and eating whatever’s convenient (hello,. I’m only just starting to figure out how to find time for me with my part-time job.

    • I agree with that wholeheartedly; when you don’t have a regular schedule you can’t plan anything in advance or get into a regular rhythm with sleep, count on a certain amount in your paycheck each month, etc. HOWEVER, I was able to swap my slightly-more-pay-per-hour job for one within the same company that is still part time but has consistent hours, and it is the BEST. THING. EVAR.

      Whenever anyone asks me what I like best about my job, I tell them, “Regular hours!” 🙂 But I have gotten so used to being part time that 40 hours a week would be a big adjustment at this point. My husband currently works two part-time jobs (also with regular hours) which puts his total working hours closer to 40, but he gets a break between them in the middle of the day so we can hang out and have lunch together, which is really nice.

  23. oMG this!!!!!! From a fellow bc mama who is trying to do the same. You nailed exactly how I have been feeling particularly the last year. I wish there were more options for people who want to work less (and not end up in a crappy $8 hr job). My field doesn’t really support less hours but I am making it work for at least the next 3 months using vacation time so I am 4 days per week.

    • I thought that my field would not accommodate fewer hours, but once I tried I found a company willing to make it work. I think I’m lucky to be in BC where there is s
      a huge shortage of labour for what I do.

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