For many of us, working part time was a rite of passage when we first entered the workforce. Students made up a significant portion of the part time work force. Those workers seemed to be most visible to the public when they shopped at retail stores, or visited service-oriented institutions like banks, hair salons or restaurants.
But those jobs and opportunities are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many part-time opportunities for workers of all ages and skill sets. Depending on your experience and expertise, you may even be able to create a part-time career track.
There are several reasons why a traditional adult worker might choose to work part time. Among those reasons:
- Family: In a family where both parents are working, one spouse may decide to scale back his or her hours or change career tracks or industries in order to have more flexibility and more time to spend with their children. Those spouses may also have aging parents to care for and may also appreciate the flexibility of part-time work.
- Education: In a challenging job market, more people are deciding to return to school to get an advanced degree or enhance their skills.
- Delaying retirement: Some older workers are enhancing their nest egg or retirement benefits by working part time.
- Career change: Workers who are dissatisfied with their full-time gig may choose to work part time while they consider what to do next. And unfortunately, some workers are forced to consider a career change and work part time when their job or their company is eliminated.
Many employers also see part-time employees as a valuable asset to their companies. With the economy in slowdown mode, employers are often open to hiring new part-time employees to fill roles. They may also be more willing to discuss allowing existing employees to switch to a part-time career track. Many employers may offer some level of benefits to part-time employees.
Even if your interest in part-time work is temporary or short term, there are ways to get creative in your job search and at work. Here are a few ideas on how to challenge yourself:
- If you are working at a large retail store, think about your education and your prior work experience. If your degree was in, say, art design or marketing, see if your manager will allow you to spend a few hours or your week to contribute to the display and merchandising of the store. In addition to keeping your skills sharp, you will have plenty of chances for networking.
- If your departure from your last full-time job was out of dissatisfaction or boredom, part-time work can be a great opportunity to “test drive” a new job or new career track. It can also be a great way to gauge what your current skills are, and what you need to learn.
- If you are juggling a return to school with part-time work, search for opportunities in a field that will reinforce what you are learning in class. There are many options and opportunities in retail far beyond the “front end” processing jobs. You can check out our website WorkInRetail.com to get a fuller picture of all of the opportunities that companies near you have available.