I had one of those moments the other day where I doubted my decision to work part time. Why? I met another woman who was in a great senior position and then I found out she has a four-year-old daughter.
For some reason, her success and apparent happiness made me doubt my own decisions. Does anyone else do that? I started thinking, maybe I should be working full time, maybe I’m sacrificing some great career options by choosing to work 3 days a week.
For me, part time work is completely a choice and I’m so lucky that I’m in a position to make that decision. My husband and I worked out our finances and realised we can pay our bills and the mortgage with me only working 3 days a week, particularly if I can pick up some freelance writing work on the side.
However part time work isn’t all lollypops and rainbows. There are some definite pitfalls that go with the highlights.
Pro – you have time to do other things
This is the obviously the main reason why you choose to work part time. For me, it’s about being able to spend time with my daughter on the other two days which means I can still take her to playgroup, music and see friends. As my husband works some weekends, it also means we can have family time every week. In my pre-kids days, I spent 2 years working in 2 part time jobs at once which was amazing for diversifying my career and exploring other options.
Con – sometimes the best jobs are full time
I’ve struggled with this one as I’ve been approached about some great jobs in the last year, however have had to turn them down as they’ve mostly been full time. Most companies just don’t want to consider part time as an option and you can understand why. Not all, but most roles with responsibility are full time, sad but true.
Pro – you’re still developing your career while spending time with your child
This one was big for me. Working part time wasn’t just about the money, I wanted to make sure my role was going to further my career so I held out for a role that would challenge me. When you’re looking for part time work, don’t devalue your skills and experience. Nicole Cubbin writes about this on the 100 Mums blog page.
Con – less money
Even if your hourly rate is the same as it was in a full time role, it’s pretty sad when you look at your monthly salary and realise you’re earning the same amount as you did a decade ago.
Pro – less responsibility
Usually when you’re working part time, particularly if you’ve applied for an existing part time role, you’ll have less responsibility because people know you’re only available for a certain number of hours.
Con – less responsibility
Of course, this can also be a con as it might mean you don’t advance as quickly or you’re not as challenged as you might be if you were full time. It all depends on the role you find and the career progression within the company.
Despite wondering whether the grass is greener in the full time world, I overall feel very lucky and extremely happy working part time. I find it to be a perfect blend of both professional and mummy sides of me. One day I intend to go back to working full time but in the mean time, it’s good to remind myself why I chose this working life and how happy it makes me.