Should You Work Full-Time or Part-Time? Here’s How to Decide

So, you want to start earning your own money, but you aren’t sure about whether you should work full-time or part-time. Interestingly, much of the western world since the Industrial Revolution worked a minimum of 40-hours per week, with many others working 60-hours per week. Luckily, nowadays, many people feel that freelance or part-time work may be a better way to approach making money. However, you’ll need to weigh out the pros and cons of each before you decide.

So, should you work full-time or part-time? To decide whether you should work full-time or part-time, you’ll need to consider how much cash you’ll need weekly for your bills, the type of lifestyle you will be happy with, whether you are studying or have children, and what your goals are when looking for a job. Once you know those things, you should be able to make your decision.

Since there isn’t much information available on the Internet designed to guide you on this type of decision, we decided to create this article to assist you. Below we’ll cover a few things you’ll need to consider before you make your decision about working full-time or part-time.

Should You Work Full-Time or Part-Time?

Around the world, more and more people are working part-time and freelancing type of jobs than previously. However, that doesn’t mean working part-time will always be the right choice for you. Figuring out whether you should work full-time or part-time will be something that will not only affect you but also your family and your career situation. Since there is no right or wrong answer to this question, you’ll need to think about what will work for you and your family.

Below we’ve created a list of questions to help you consider whether you should work full-time or part-time:

#1 Will your budget work with a part-time job?

When you’re trying to figure out if part-time work will meet your needs, you’ll need to consider your budget first. You’ll want to ensure that your income won’t disappear with all the other costs associated with a job. So, you’ll want to create a budget and list everything you’ll need. You’ll need to make sure you can still balance your weekly or monthly budget if you are working less.

When you work on your budget, create a budget that shows three months of your real living expenses. Don’t merely guess them, keep track of them. You’ll also need to consider how working part-time might affect your pension or your savings, too.

#2 Are there part-time jobs that fit your usual type of work?

Depending on your usual type of work, you will need to check to see if there is availability of part-time jobs in your sector. If you’re simply switching from full-time to part-time at a job you already have, that’s simple. However, finding a new part-time job can wind-up being more challenging.

For example, if you are a full-time principal at a school, and you decide that to become part-time, there is a good chance that you can’t switch to a part-time gig in that role. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do something else, you just have to be aware of your options.

#3 What’s more critical, part-time work, or progressing in your career?

Research by Timewise tells us that families decide to trade down careers when they have young children. That means they often trade their salaries for more flexibility and less anxiety. For some people, they are happy to make this choice. However, others find it difficult to trade down if they can’t find part-time work that fits their necessities.

When you have other significant things in your life that require your time, like children and family, there’s certainly no shame in wanting to shift down your work stress. You’ll need to figure out what you feel is best for you and your family. However, deciding to downshift is something you should consider before leaping. Once you downshift, it may take several years to work back up.

Career Goals

Some people who are very ambitious are afraid of working part-time. Before you make the switch, make sure you look up your company’s track record when it comes to worker progression. Timewise research says 73% of part-time workers say they haven’t received any promotions since they cut back their hours. So, you’ll need to make sure you are prepared for the outcome.

Still, if you are a committed, talented employee, you can always make waves while working part-time. Much of this is about your focus and achievements and making sure you are a team player. However, if research like this scares you, and you are worried you won’t be able to climb back up once you downgrade, then you may want to stick with the full-time job you already have.

#4 Do you have support at home?

When making life-impacting decisions, it is always a good idea to be on the same page as your spouse. If you have children and you decide not to work part-time, you’ll need to figure out how to handle family responsibilities. For example, who can drop the kids off to school, who can pick them up from daycare, who can make the meals, etc. You have to make sure as a family everyone contributes appropriately to keep the household moving.

If you are a single parent, consider your support network. You more than likely have relatives and friends that can help you out when you are sick or when your childcare arrangements don’t work out.

Consider Your Job Options

When you’re trying to figure out whether you should work part-time or full-time, you’ll need to consider the kinds of jobs that are out there. Some countries are experiencing a boom with digital opportunities and even extending those jobs overseas to Americans. For example, in 2016, 90% of the new positions offered in Australia were either part-time or casual according to ABC News, and many were digital work-from-home jobs. That helped create an influx of opportunities in the digital world.

Casual Employees

However, some people feel the increase in part-time casual jobs may be a problem. That’s because there are employers that like having employees work full-time when they are only a casual employee. That way, the employer doesn’t need to offer anything extra to the worker, like personal days. Also, a casual employee may wind up being terminated at any point. Most casual employees do earn higher rates when they are paid by the hour. However, they most likely will not get holidays or sick days.

So, if you are the type of person that is seeking financial security, you should consider a more permanent type of employment. Still, people that work as casual employees do find ways to bolster their positions so that they are never left without work, like seeing more than one company work with simultaneously, etc. So, you’ll need to consider what you need with your finances, and how you would be willing to approach those needs when you look for a job.

Part-Time Employees

If you think a more traditional part-time job might be the answer, then you may have found your comfort level. Many part-time employees can still find permanent employment. With part-time work, you may get several benefits like sick leave and holiday leave. However, your income will be less, so you’ll have to do some calculations if you want to figure out whether part-time work will give you the financial security you want.

Start by adding up all of your monthly expenses — factor in everything like rent, groceries, utilities, clothes, etc. Then, look at that number and see what your monthly salary will be when you are working part-time. You’ll also need to factor other components such as emergency expenses, entertainment budget, etc.

If you find out the part-time job does not provide you with enough money, then do some further research. Keep in mind that you’ll have some free time if you are settling for part-time work so that you can diversify your income in other ways. Or, you can even take some classes to make yourself more marketable when you apply for other jobs.

Full-Time Employees

If you want to switch from a part-time to a full-time position, then you may want to have a conversation with your manager and figure out your next move. Start by talking to your boss and ask him or her if any full-time positions might be available anytime soon, or ask if you should invest your energy in another job.

Typically, once you’ve started with a company and you demonstrate that you are a productive, reliable part-time employee that has a long-term interest in the company, then the company will most likely want to retain you. However, you need to make sure you’ve demonstrated to your company that you are worth their time.

Depending on what’s available in your company, you may or may not receive good news. Unfortunately, even if a company really likes you, they might not have a full-time job opening up in your current job. However, you can try to get around this problem by telling them you’d like to upskill and earn qualification for a job they may consider in the future.

If the upskilling concept doesn’t fly with your company, then you may need to be honest and tell your boss you are considering seeking full-time employment elsewhere. Sometimes, if you need full-time work and it isn’t available at your current company, this is the only choice you’ll have to achieve your goals.

Freelance Employees

Depending on who you talk to, freelance work is either the greatest or the worst kind of job you can have. Freelancing takes quite a bit of planning and knowing when and where you’ll get your income can be burdensome when you work for different people who pay on different schedules. However, freelancing does give you a lot of freedom, and you’ll undoubtedly be able to make your hours.

Some people take slow steps towards becoming a full-time freelancer by keeping a casual job or working a regular, part-time position. Others work a gig job like Uber or Lyft to fill their time. Nowadays, it’s relatively simple to work as a freelancer, but you’ll need to be prepared for scheduling and juggling your life.

Benefits to Part-Time Work

Below you will find some of the benefits to working a Part-Time job:

#1 You Are Not Spending Your Entire Day Working

If you’re able to work fewer hours while maintaining an acceptable lifestyle you are comfortable with, this may be the road you might want to take.  This means you can use your time to spend with your family or improve your skills to become better at what you enjoy doing.

There are different ways to make ends meet without working a full-time job. Below are a few examples:

  • You can figure out a way to work fewer hours at a higher rate of pay.
  • You can become your boss by freelancing and set your rates.
  • You can form semi-passive income streams.

#2 You Can Save Some Money

When you are working a full-time job, it can be a challenge to maximize the spending of your money.   For example, if you are really tired at the end of a long shift, you might go out and eat at a nice restaurant, which would cost you significantly more than making food at home.  Depending on the number of people in your family, this adds up fast.

Not having to work as many hours during the day can help you focus on ways to cut back on what you are spending. Honestly, not working full-time usually motivates people to get into budget-hacking. You may find you’re saving more money working part-time or by freelancing because you aren’t spending money on transportation, food, or childcare.

#3 Your Health May Improve

If you are working fewer hours and decreasing your job stress, you might be able to apply those towards maintaining a healthier lifestyle. This means exercising, taking care of your body, having time to prepare healthy meals, maybe result in improving your overall health. You might notice your immune system improving, digestion getting better, and better circulation.

These are all great signs of physical health, which most tired full-time workers do not always get to experience.

#4 Eating Better Food

When you are working all day on the job, you don’t always have time to think about what you eat. It’s very easy to grab fast food so that you can make a meeting or eat random sugary snacks all day. These poor choices in food can quickly impact us and wind up piling up in our bodies.

For some people, they might start loading up on caffeine to help them make it through the day.

#5 You May Feel More Energetic

If your part-time job allows you to get home early from work, you might be able to spend some of that time to go to bed at an earlier time. Getting the additional rest might help you build up more energy throughout the day. This means you are fresh and can get more things done faster, which in turn again gives you more motivation and time back in your day.

#6 You May Increase Your Knowledge

Most full-time jobs take up the primary hours of your day that you might be able to spend learning a new skill or hobby.  With the extra time you have, you might be able to get a new degree in something that you will enjoy or pay more. There are also many other things you might do, such as becoming an expert in something that you really love to turn it into a side business.

#7 You Can Explore Your Creativity

There are many jobs that you can explore which brings out part-timers and freelancers creativity. Some of these skills include writing, photography, art, mathematics, etc. In many ways, having the time to work on exactly the types of things you enjoy, might increase your creative thinking. Of course, this could mean that people that are more creative may simply be more likely to work as freelancers or part-timers.

You also won’t have to experience burnout, which usually happens to most creative people when they work high-pressure jobs as full-time employees. However, it’s probably also true that having more time off work allows your brain to work more creatively on its own.

#8 Diversify

There is no reason why you only need to stick with one job. Some people work two or three part-time jobs at the same time, which is true of many freelancers. That way, you won’t get so bored or become inflexible because you won’t have to do the same tasks every day. You’ll get to experience more variety, which is suitable for creative people.

Also, diversifying yourself allows you a safety net so that you won’t lose anything if your full-time job disappears.

#9 You Might Experience Less Anxiety

If you think about work often while you don’t work, then you either love your job, or something about work is bothering you. Full-time employment is not only stressful on one’s body, but it also places substantial stress on a person’s mind. If you often worry about work when you are off, then it might be disturbing your sleep. If you can avoid a full-time job, you’ll feel much less anxious.

#10 You Might Live Longer

Overwork is a killer, according to Business Insider, and the more time you spend working, the shorter your life expectancy will be. If you experience less stress and anxiety because of the lack of a full-time job, and you’re also eating and sleeping better, then you are much more likely to live a long life.

#11 You Might Increase Your Productivity

While it might sound odd, if you are working less, you will become a more productive person. Much of this has to do with the “working on vacation” feeling when you have a bit of work to do, but then something fun planned that day. Typically, when that happens, you’ll have more focus, work faster, and avoid making mistakes.

#12 Potential New Opportunities

When companies don’t have full-time positions available, some people are willing to take part-time jobs to put themselves in place for future full-time work. So, having a part-time job can help you get some experience in areas with which you aren’t familiar. Most employers won’t want to hire inexperienced individuals as full-time workers. However, they will consider inexperienced people that seem enthusiastic about the job to a part-time position.

#13 New Income Opportunities

While it may sound counterproductive, part-time work can sometimes put people in place to earn more money. This scenario is certainly real for someone who can work more than one job. For instance, if a worker has one 30-hour per week job and combines that with another 20-hour per week post, he or she might make a better overall income compared to having one full-time position.

Also, since many full-time, salaried positions require people to pull fifty to sixty-hour workweeks, our example part-time worker above might still wind up working less while making more money.

#14 More Time with Family

If you are a family-oriented person, then working part-time or freelancing might be the opportunity you need. Some people value being able to drop their kids off and pick them up from school daily. Also, many part-time and freelance workers save a good deal of cash on daycare costs, which can quickly add up when you are working a full-time job.

Everybody needs a particular level of income to provide for one’s family. So, if you earn just enough to pay for the essentials while sacrificing the little luxuries, you’ll be okay with part-time work. However, if you feel that you cannot sacrifice those luxuries, you’d probably be better off working a full-time job.

#15 You Might Be Able to Drive Less

When it comes to part-time work, many people will require far less driving time to make it worthwhile. That means you should try to find a part-time job near your home. This way, you’ll save on not only gas and transportation but also the cost of maintaining your car, if you own one. You can also decrease the price of your insurance premiums since they depend on the miles you drive, too. If you don’t have a car and you need to use public transportation for work, then you’ll also wind up saving money.

Benefits to Full-Time Work

There are also several benefits to full-time employees that you’ll have to consider before making your decision. We cover those benefits below.

#1 Better Job Security

Full-time workers typically enjoy better job security. Since many of them are salaried and have some sort of contract, this may require employers to go through appropriate policies before they can terminate. In many situations, employees can hold critical knowledge or skill sets that an employer will need that would make them more valuable. If you want better job security, then you may want to consider full-time employment.

#2 Vacation Time

Most full-time workers get a certain amount of paid vacation time per year. While part-time workers sometimes get this, it depends on their job. Plus, part-time workers will never receive as much vacation time as a full-time worker for the same job. Many full-time workers get up to two full paid weeks per year off, as well as paid time on holidays, etc. Most part-time workers do not receive this extra benefit.

#3 Additional Paid Time Off

Another advantage of full-time employment is that you’ll typically qualify for additional paid time off. For instance, if you wind up injuring yourself or you become ill, you can typically get assistance to cover your bills and paid leave if you are a full-time worker. However, this isn’t usually the case if you work part-time or you freelance.

#4 Health Insurance

Many full-time employees qualify for extra perks like health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and disability coverage. Many of these benefits are the reasons why people work full-time. So, if you want all of the benefits, you should consider working full-time.

#5 Employer Retirement Plans

If you wish to have an employer retirement plan, then you will have to work full-time. Most part-time types of employment don’t offer retirement benefits, either. Some companies offer benefits such as employer matching to fund your 401k plan and things like Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPP).

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this post has been informative regarding some of the benefits and drawbacks when looking at full-time vs part-time work.    The decision to work full-time or part-time is something you’ll want to spend plenty of time considering and clearly assess the state of your current situation before you make any determinations. Make sure you consider your weekly and monthly budgets before you make your final decision.