Full-time work is the default setting in our society, but that doesn’t make it your best option.
Surrounded by examples of successful businesses whose founders worked 80 hour weeks to make it happen, most people never fully explore the possibilities of being a part-timer. What’s stopping you: the money? The status? The fear of failure?
Whatever it is, take a deep breath and keep reading. Once you’ve checked out these 11 reasons, you might decide it’s in your best interest never to get a full-time job. Ever.
Nobody truly needs to work 40+ hours per week. If you could work fewer hours without reducing your income, you’d take that option, right? You don’t need a specific number of hours’ work per week; you need a specific amount of income to live on. And there are ways to hit that target without long hours:
Working a full-time job means you barely have time to enjoy the money you earn, yet somehow it still gets spent.
Remember that specific amount of income you need? Given the choice between working full-time or cutting your discretionary spending, you’ll find ways to trim down your expenses! Avoiding full-time work is an effective motivator to get you budget-hacking like a boss. You might save even more money if working part-time or becoming your own boss means you spend less on transport, food, or childcare.
If you reduce the stress of your job by choosing something with shorter work hours and greater flexibility, your body will thank you for it. You’ll notice improvements in your immune system, digestion, circulation, and other key signs of physical health compared to an exhausted full-time worker.
It’s easy to grab a ready-made sandwich or a sweet snack when you’re working, but you often don’t realise how fast all those choices add up to a big pile of junky, pre-processed crap. And if you’re a high-caffeine type who guzzles cola, coffee or tea while you work, you’ll suffer the after-effects right through until after bedtime.
For a part-time worker, the “employee diet” has less of an effect because you have more time to buy and prepare healthy, fresh food.
The better general health and diet of a part-time worker means that you’ll have a lot more energy than if you worked full-time. Instead of arriving home weary from a full day’s work, you’ll have more time to rest your body and mind, so that when the next day arrives you’re ready to meet it head-on and get stuff done.
If you’re lucky, a full-time job comes with a few training opportunities. But if you want to learn something that isn’t included in your employer’s list of training courses, then you’ll have to learn it on your own time. Ha! Time to yourself is a precious rarity if you’re a full-time employee.
Stick to part-time jobs or self-employment and you’ll always have time to learn new things that make life even more awesome. Plus your brain will be less frazzled and more receptive to fresh knowledge.
Along with better learning performance, part-timers and entrepreneurs often report that their creative thinking improved when they quit their full-time jobs.
Granted, this could simply mean that creative people are more likely to follow a part-time career path. It gives you the creative freedom you crave and lets you avoid the burnout that plagues creatives in high-pressure full-time jobs, but it’s also likely that having more time off work gives your brain greater opportunity to make the connections that spark creative insight.
There’s no rule that says you have to stick to one job at a time. Instead of working full-time at one thing, why not run two or three different part-time jobs in parallel? You’ll be less likely to get bored or stuck in inflexible ways of thinking.
Having the time to develop diverse projects also protects you from losing everything the way you could if your full-time job disappears in budget cuts and corporate re-shuffling.
Thinking about work when you’re not working means one of two things: either you really love your job, or it’s getting you down.
Full-time work doesn’t only stress your body; it stresses your mind, too. For example, worrying about work during your time off disturbs your sleep more than almost any other work-related factor. You’re much more likely to fret about work all evening if you’ve done nothing but work all day, so skip the full-time job and you can skip the worry, too.
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Less stress, better food, more sleep… of course you’ll live longer. Overwork is a killer, and the longer the hours you work, the more it cuts your life expectancy.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Spending less time working actually makes you more productive.
This is the “working on vacation” effect: when you’ve got a short amount of time to spend on work (and something fun to look forward to when it’s done) you’ll focus better, work faster and make fewer mistakes. Win!
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