When searching for a job, one important factor people consider is the number of hours offered. Students might prefer the flexibility of a part-time schedule, while people with more financial obligations usually prefer working more hours to bring in more money. Others combine full- and part-time jobs to make ends meet. Examining your lifestyle during the application process helps to focus your search so you can make the best choices.
Forty hours is the typical number of hours people have to work to be considered a full-time employee, although working slightly fewer hours happens. Salaried workers generally work more hours, especially when trying to meet a deadline. Full-time permanent employees are often eligible for benefits such as health care, paid holidays off and paid vacations. Depending on the organization, part-time hours can be any number of hours under 40. A common range would be 20 to 30 hours. Some part-time employees are regular part time, while others might be contingent, such as adjunct instructors. Part-time workers usually are not eligible for any employee benefits.
Full-time employees are more valued by their organizations. They participate fully in organization meetings, are involved in the decision-making process and are allowed greater access to equipment and materials needed to do their job. Part-time workers are often excluded from meetings, are told about decisions and must seek the assistance and permission of a full-time worker to enter buildings, access mail rooms or computers, or obtain paper and supplies.
People who prefer stability are better served by obtaining a full-time job because this usually means having a consistent work schedule, pay and benefits. In addition, it is common for benefits to increase with years of service, which often means better pay, vacation and promotion opportunities. Part-time employment allows people to test the waters of their particular profession, allowing them to gain valuable work experience before committing. Many people like the flexibility of part-time work because they can better manage their schedules when they get mornings or evenings off.
While landing a full-time permanent job is ideal, many people find that securing a full-time job when it is needed is not always possible. This is when it becomes necessary to seriously consider working several part-time jobs. You might work one job in the mornings and the other in the afternoon or evenings. Other times, people might temporarily accept part-time work to catch up on bills or to make major purchases.
Because many organizations are in flux and have people moving on or up, part-time jobs are not always a dead end. Occasionally, people who prove themselves at their part-time job are promoted to full time when an opening becomes available. In addition, part-time workers make valuable contacts and receive on-the-job training that provides them with skills they can later put on their resumes when they apply for full-time positions.