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Revealed: Things That Part-Time Workers Should Know to Protect Their Rights

Revealed: Things That Part-Time Workers Should Know to Protect Their Rights

Be it to supplement your income, or keep you occupied when you have far too much of time at hand, or be a career option that does not bind you down to office hours; part-time jobs have steadily been becoming popular over the last decade or so.

In countries like the Netherlands and the UK, the part time work force is at an all-time high – in Netherlands, part time workers constitute more than 35% of its workforce, while in the UK its 24%[1]. And as far as the US goes, in March 2017 alone there were about 28 million people employed on a part-time basis. [2]. Millions!

In case you too are a proud part and parcel of these new-age work force, stop and ask yourself one question first: how many hours is part time? Reason being, you may be being underpaid for a job that takes the better chunk of your day to do!

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How Many Hours Is Considered Part-Time Employment

So, the key question here is, how many hours is part time? Despite human resources being a much talked about and studied subject, the term part-time is bandied about amongst recruiters and basically depends on an employer’s whims and fancies. A part-time job could be anything from a little under 30 hours a week, to 40 hours a week. For a 5-day week day, this could mean six to eight hours of work in a day.[3]

Doesn’t sound like part time any more, does it? Especially if a part-time job does not entail the same benefits as a full-time job does, even though legally, an employer cannot discriminate between a part-time employee and a full-time one. [4]

The Most Popular Types of Part-Time Jobs Today

While writing and blogging is an obvious choice for a part-time job, there are other jobs that pay a lot more: think jazz music instructor, pharmacist, dentist, computer programmer, application developer and market research analyst. [5]

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The Benefits That Part-Time Workers Can Enjoy

Frankly, while working part-time or even remote may not be for all, and the confusion that surrounds how many hours is part time also does not make this everyone’s cup of tea. In case you still like the idea of working part-time, here go the benefits:[6]

  • You can give more time to the family: If you have an ailing family member, young kids, or just a family with really stressful and time-consuming jobs, your part-time job can be a Godsend to spend more time with the family, kids or even maintaining the home.
  • You can keep yourself occupied: In case you are a homemaker with some free time or in your silver years looking to stave off boredom, a part-time job can come in handy to keep you productively occupied, and earn you some quick bucks as well.
  • You can supplement your income: If you need to boost your income a little, be it as a worker or even a student, part-time jobs can really come in handy and give you the much-needed finances to support yourself a little better.
  • You can learn a new skill: Not all part-time jobs pay all that well, but they are a great way to gain some new experience and learn a new skill, while they pay you for it!
  • Gives you more free time: In case you have found a part-time job that pays almost as well as a full-time one, stick to it for it is a gold mine that lets you support your lifestyle in comfort and even affords you free time to stick to your hobbies, creative pursuits or even another part-time gig!

But You Can’t Ignore the Potential Downsides…

We’ve stated all that was good. Now here comes all that is bad and ugly about working part time! [7].

  • No Job Security: With a part-time job its literally getting hired in the morning, and getting fired in the evening – once the work is done, you are no longer useful to the employer and are mercilessly given the boot.
  • No Benefits: Part-time workers, despite the cloudiness of how many hours is part time, are not given any benefits, be it health, insurance or even the fringe benefits that full-time workers revel in.
  • No retirement protection: Forget pension, being a part-time worker will not give you any benefits in your silver years and leave you high and dry once the employer has no need of you.
  • Less money: As a part-time or remote worker, you may be working just about as hard as a full-time employee, but that will not get you the same or even comparable salary! To top that, don’t expect to be promoted either!
  • Too much of time management: If you are a part-time worker juggling various jobs, home, family and studies; it can leave you exhausted and in constant stress… Too many deadlines are likely to leave you fatigued.

How to Be A Wise And Fully-Informed Part-Time Worker

Now that we have stated the pros and cons, it is for you to decide, depending on your circumstances, whether or not you find part time jobs lucrative and suitable. Here are five tips to steer you in the right direction to finding the ideal part-time gig for you [8]

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  • Go Small When It Comes to Companies: Don’t aim your sights too high when it comes to companies who hire part-time employees – bigger companies have all the resources they need to hire full-time workers. It’s the smaller companies, the kinds with 10-99 employees that need to save their resources and depend heavily on the part-time workforce.
  • Network, Left, Right & Center: Word of mouth is the best way to go to land a part-time job – let all your erstwhile bosses, colleagues and friends know that you are on the lookout for a part-time gig and you may never know which opportunity comes knocking at your door.
  • Expand your Horizons: You may have been one thing when you were a full-time worker, but as a part-time worker, be open to working in an environment that uses a long-forgotten skill set that you had. Similarly while you may be studying for a different subject, if a job comes along that uses skills you are not studying for, don’t turn it down…
  • Go Temp and Then Part-Time: You may be looking for a long-term, part-time gig, but all a job has to offer you is a temp position of a few weeks or months. Don’t turn it down – take it up and shine at it, for all you know your hard work may just turn it into a long-term part-time position, tailor made for you!
  • Scour Job Boards: Websites like Flexjobs.com, craigslist.com, indeed.com are chockablock full of part-time gigs, usually asking for 15-20 hours of weekly time from you for rates that are not luxurious, but likely to make you upwards of a $10 per hour for things like writing or editing, and much more for other gigs like programming, dentistry and more…

Be Careful of Your Rights as a Part-Time Worker

As a last word to you, as a part-time worker in the US, you are liable to be paid overtime: Loosely based, any employee who works for less than 30 hours a week is a part-time employee. That said; this ceiling can sometimes also be raised to 40 hours a week.

While the upper limit is still a tad under defined, if you are a non-salaried part-time worker and have put in more than 40 hours of work in a week, your employer is obligated by federal law to pay you 1.5 times the pay for all hours worked over 40 in a given week.[9].

Remember to check your countries part time worker rights. For instance in Ireland, any part-time worker who puts in more than 20% of what a full-time worker clocks, is liable to receive part pension benefits too! For US, while “how many hours is part time” is still unclear, it is anything from one hour to 34 hours a week. [10].

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So while the subject of how many hours is part time is still cloudy and needs a lot more research and some defined labor laws, the part-time job scene is basically thriving and bursting with opportunities. Take up a gig if you like, but keep your eyes and ears open to ensure that you are not being scammed by the employer in any way…

Reference

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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

19 Ways to Improve Creative Thinking Skills in the Workplace

19 Ways to Improve Creative Thinking Skills in the Workplace

Our world is changing at faster pace than ever. In order to keep up, we are continually adapting to new technology and the changing industries.

Employers are looking for employees who can solve problems, think creatively and be a leader in every situation.

These 19 tips will help you find ways to improve creative thinking skills. You can also use these skills to gain credibility as a leader in the workplace:

1. Set limitations

In order to increase your own creative thinking, it helps to set limits for yourself, so you have to think outside the box to come up with solutions.

Set deadlines, budgets or any other type of limitation to increase your creative problem solving. This will build your credibility as a creative problem solver as you come up with innovative solutions.

2. Change things up

If you find yourself falling into a rut and doing the same thing every single day, then you will likely struggle to come up with new ideas. This is why it is important to change things up in your routine and break out of your rut.

Get your creative juices flowing by exercising at a different time, or trying something new for lunch. Move your desk to a different position or change your personal workspace.

Any of these changes will help spark your mind and get the new ideas pumping again.

3. Listen and care about others

When you show that you care about others and listen to their ideas and thoughts, they will trust you more.

“Leaders who listen are able to create trustworthy relationships that are transparent and breed loyalty. You know the leaders who have their employees’ best interests at heart because they truly listen to them.” — Glenn Llopis

Listening to your coworkers allows them to be more open with you and feel that they can take risks and be creative.

Discussing ideas with your coworkers will not only help you improve creative thinking techniques, but also set the environment for a more creative office.

4. Find good mentors/critics

If you want your creative work to improve, then you need to find a good mentor or critic who can give you positive feedback and help you to keep moving forward.

As your work improves over time because of your dedication and your mentor, people will hold you in greater respect.

Every type of creative work takes several drafts before it is ready to go. With your mentors, you can find ways to continually improve your work. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar said:[1]

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“Early on, all of our movies suck. That’s a blunt assessment, I know, but I… choose that phrasing because saying it in a softer way fails to convey how bad the first versions of our films really are. I’m not trying to be modest or self-effacing by saying this. Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them go… from suck to non-suck. We are true believers in the iterative process – reworking, reworking and reworking again, until a flawed story finds its throughline or a hollow character finds its soul.”

Use your mentor’s knowledge to bring your first drafts to life.

5. Try and fail, a lot

The best way to get better at things is to keep trying and failing until you improve. This enhances your creative thinking and shows your coworkers that you don’t give up easily and are willing to improve.

The ability to take failure and turn it around is one of the best qualities of any leader.

The Harvard Business Review reported:[2]

“Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy has shown through her research about how expert entrepreneurs make decisions, they must make lots of mistakes to discover new approaches, opportunities, or business models. She frequently references Howard Schultz who, when he started Il Giornale in Seattle, the company that Schultz used to later buy the original Starbucks brand and assets, the store had nonstop opera music playing, menus written in Italian, and no chairs. As Schultz has often said, “We had to make a lot of mistakes” before discovering a model that worked.”

6. Be consistent (no tortured artists here)

When you think of creativity, an image of a broken-hearted artist or alcoholic writer may come to mind. Many people today associate creativity with isolation, despair, alcohol and inconsistency.

Just picture Jay Gatsby.

While that is good for drama, that’s not really how creativity works. Creativity is fostered through consistent effort. Put in the work everyday and you will find your creative muscles and credibility will grow.

As a leader in your workplace, you need to show consistency in everything you do, not just your own work, but throughout the company to build your business’s credibility.

7. Be honest to yourself and others

Acting dishonestly is one of the fastest ways for you to lose your credibility. Always be honest to the people around you and to yourself.

If your coworkers feel that they can trust you, then they rely on you more and work with you better. Honesty is what builds a solid foundation for a successful workplace.[3]

During the creative process, it is important to be honest to yourself. It’s easy to get carried away with fantastic ideas but you will need to learn to be honest with yourself about what is and is not possible.

8. Collaborate

The best work usually comes from teamwork. Katherine W. Phillips said,[4]

“The fact is that if you want to build teams or organizations capable of innovating, you need diversity. Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving.”

Show your coworkers that you value their efforts and perspective. By working together, you can create new ideas and make something better than you ever have before.

Collaborating will not only improve your own creative thinking but will create a bond between you and your team.

9. Use humor

As a leader, you want your coworkers to feel comfortable to be creative and open-minded.

Humor has been proven to help people to relax and feel more willing to try something new and helps foster creativity.[5]

To improve your own credibility and help others gain confidence in their own creative thinking, use an appropriate sense of humor to lighten the mood when needed and to get those creative juices flowing.

10. Be vulnerable

This goes along with being honest with yourself and others. To be a creative thinker, then you have to be willing to fail, admit your failures and be open to receiving critique.

This can be difficult especially in a workplace where you want to show your strengths instead of weaknesses, but by admitting yo ur weaknesses and being open to others, your credibility will grow as your coworkers know that you listen and are adaptable.

Take a look at this article to find out Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength.

11. Have meaningful conversations

Creative people love to have meaningful conversations. This is the best way to gain a new perspective.

You have had a certain amount of experiences that have shaped the way that you see the world. But everyone around you may have different perspectives. By engaging with these people, you can learn more about their views. Try to walk in their shoes and understand their perspectives, especially if you disagree.

Steer clear of shallow small talk and discuss bigger and more meaningful topics with those around you. Ask about their experiences, their hopes, their opinions and you will gain new perspectives that will assist your creative thinking.

12. Be constantly learning new things

Some of the greatest minds in the world (Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerburg) have said they dedicate at least five hours every week to learning new things.

They are passionate about growing their minds and learn about everything from nuclear physics to politics. As they learn about different topics, they look for ways to apply what they have learned to their own industry.

Start your own educational journey today by finding some books you would like to read or finding high-quality articles online about each topic.

Keep in mind your own industry and how you can apply what you learn to your job. You never know all the different ways astronomy can help your marketing efforts.

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13. Experience it all

Steve Jobs once said that creativity comes from experience.[6] The more experiences you have, the better connections you will be able to make to find solutions.

Try to experience as many things as possible. You don’t have to go on some huge trip around the world to have more experience; simply meeting new people and trying new things will give you more experience that will build your creative skills.

14. Give yourself some love

When I was younger, I was given the advice to take the time everyday before I went out for the day to ensure I felt good about myself and fully confident. Sometimes this took the shape of wearing a new pair of shoes or writing in my journal that morning.

I was told if I could take the time to prepare myself for the day, then I could focus all of my energy on the people around me. This is something that great leaders do today.

Take the time to rest and prepare for the next day, so you can throw yourself into your creative work and help those around you.

Self-care can be whatever it is that you need: a hot bath, going to the gym, walking your dog, reading, the list goes on and on. Figure out what energizes you, and do it as often as needed.

15. Take ownership

Accountability fosters your creative thinking because you know that others will see your work and know whether you did it well or not.

Creativity works best under some pressure, so take your projects seriously by taking responsibility for them.

Your coworkers will have greater respect for you as you take ownership for your work projects, even if you are disappointed in the results.

16. Be reflective

Hindsight is 20-20, so by looking back at past successes and failures, you can get new ideas for your work.

Reflecting is a part of the creative process and will help you as you continue to create and work. Learning from the past sets an example for your coworkers and will improve your credibility among your colleagues.[7]

“Creativity requires us to be confident in our areas of practice, whatever they may be. And reflection is an indispensable part of observing, developing, digesting and being in dialogue with our creative ’self’.”

17. Communicate

Communication is key to any good relationship and this includes the relationships between you and your coworkers.

Notice how your coworkers handle critique and find the best way to give them constructive criticism. Notice how your coworkers handle conflict, and find a positive way to help each of them through it.[8]

“Effective communication is one of the key prerequisites for a thriving workplace. It drives fast, clear and precise flow of information between individuals and groups. A lack of proper communication can greatly decrease productivity.”

Communication is a skill that is vastly underestimated and incredibly useful in the workplace. As you develop this skill, you can become an impressive creative leader.

18. Meet deadlines

We have all experienced those coworkers who can’t meet a deadline with their projects. It can be frustrating and throw off everyone else’s work.

To be a credible leader, don’t be that person.

I’ve already mentioned that creativity works best with a little bit of pressure. When you try to meet deadlines, you force yourself to come up with creative ideas.

Use your creative thinking to finish your projects on time, so you can meet your deadlines.

Your coworkers will know that they can count on you to get the job done on time, which will likely lead to you getting more projects.

19. Respect others

No matter how brilliant you are, if you don’t show respect for the people around you, your credibility in your workplace will suffer.

The opposite is true as well, if you show respect to each of your coworkers, your credibility as a leader will grow.

Michigan Ross Professor Jane Dutton who has conducted research on the impact that mutual respect has on creativity said:[9]

“Across our studies, we demonstrate that respectful engagement is more than simply a nice way to interact, but is a catalyst and cultivator of creativity.”

By creating a friendly workplace, not only your creative thinking will improve but also everyone around you. With a work environment of mutual respect, ideas can develop into something incredible.

The bottom line

Creative thinking and leadership abilities are some of the top skills that employers are looking for. Start applying these 19 tips to your work, and you will see great results in your own work and with your coworkers’ work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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