I think part-time work can be an absolutely great way to achieve a better balance in life. Part-time work allows for a more evenly divided expenditure of time. It allows for more time on other important things in life: friends, family, meaning, reflection, health, household chores, etc. It can be hard to achieve this balance with full-time work.
I have found that my life quality dramatically improved when transitioning from a full-time 9-to-5 job to a 3 days-a-week job. I can use the extra two days to do my household chores, time for myself, hobbies, and reflection — while still having the weekend for seeing friends and family. It has also made me enjoy my work a lot more when it no longer takes up the majority of my awake time.
How to afford part-time work
There is no way to get around it, part-time work might be financially challenging. I think the two best approaches to be able to afford part-time work are:
1. Minimizing your lifestyle
Drastically reducing your cost of living can really be a ticket to more freedom in life. The first places to look are the three big ones: housing, food, and car.
Can you find a way to reduce your housing costs? Some ways to do this could be to downsize your house or apartment, renting out a spare room, or house-sitting dogs/cats.
Finding ways to cheaply make a lot of food can really cut down food costs. I have found that cooking similar meals using an Instant Pot has dramatically reduced my food expenses.
And finally regarding cars: can you live without one? This may be possible or not depending on your life circumstances but definitely worth considering.
Reducing certain lifestyle expenses can certainly be inconvenient, but there is a massive reward in doing this: the freedom it provides to have a less expensive lifestyle.
2. Working in a high-paying field
It can be extremely hard to get by on minimum wage part-time work (or full-time for that matter!). So of course, it is important if possible to try to get into a professional field that pays decently. Some examples of fields that more easily allow for affording part-time work, are software engineers, nurses, lawyers, accountants, designers, and some home improvement professions such as carpenters, plumbers, or painters.
How to find full-time work
When it comes to actually finding a part-time job there are a few different routes:
Being a part-time career employee
I think this is the best option but can be a bit difficult. It will require you to have the skills and some experience in a field that is fairly high-paying. If you do, you can apply for regular full-time jobs and ask if they would be interested in hiring someone part-time instead. Many employees will decline this because it is unconventional and more cost-effective for them to hire full-time employees. However, some will still be interested if you have skills that are in demand.
Being a contractor
Another option for part-time work is to take jobs as a contractor. In some professional fields, there are 3- or 6-month contracts. For example, software engineers and nurses can often find these opportunities. If you do choose this route you can work a contract job for a few months and then wait a few months until you look for the next one. The downside with this is that you will need to go through a job application process for each new contract job. This means that you will need to keep your skills somewhat fresh during your months off to be able to prove that during the job application. It also means that you will have to self-promote and maintain your own business.
Some professions have a seasonal nature to them. These jobs often involve tourism or physical professions that are dependent on the actual shifts in nature. For example ski instructors, tourist guides, Alaskan fishing, working on an oil rig, or working in a National park. Often these jobs are more physical and might be attractive for those who like to use their body and be outdoors.
Having a story
Regardless of what path you choose to find part-time work you will need to have a story. Since part-time work is somewhat unconventional, some people will have judgments on you for choosing to work part-time. Common concerns might be that the applicant cannot keep a full-time job, maybe has mental health issues, is lazy, etc. So it is very important to quickly resolve those question marks by presenting a clear story.
One option is to be completely honest. You can say that you prioritize family or hobbies outside of work. You can say that you don’t need the money from full-time work. You can say that you don’t want to do the rat race. Whatever your situation may be, be kind and honest about your story of why you choose part-time work. Your employer is gonna want to mentally understand to feel more comfortable with the set-up.
Another option is to stretch the truth a bit. Some people will make up a story when looking for part-time work. Maybe they need to take care of a relative? Maybe they have volunteer work they want to attend to? I am not a big fan of lying but, as long as it does not harm anyone, it may be helpful to avoid the awkward questions that may come up when choosing an alternative lifestyle.
Regardless of how you choose to do it — make sure you can present a clear story of the why of part-time work.
The benefits of part-time work are pretty obvious. It gives you more freedom to spend time on the other things that truly matter. It also gives you the time for the mental space and clarity required to live life more consciously. It can be hard to find good part-time work but the reward for the effort is priceless.