I don't want a part-time job.
I'm fine with freelancing, which I do now; I'm a self-employed writer and editor. What I mean is that I'm not actively seeking a 20- or 25-hour-a-week job working regularly for someone else.
In "normal" economic times, this wouldn't be a controversial statement. After all, a part-time job usually doesn't come with an employee benefits package (health insurance, savings plan, paid time off). It's also unlikely to pay enough, after taxes, to cover a person's or family's living expenses.
Yet lately, some readers of this blog have hinted that I think part-time work is beneath me, that I'm too selectively holding out for a full-time job.
Others have implied that I'm lazy, that I would get out there and dig ditches if I really needed to work; and if I don't need to, then I can't really appreciate how bad people have it out there.
Still others suggest that part-time jobs are the "new normal" (I hate that phrase!) and a person who really wants to work today has to take two or three part-time jobs. Businesses remain uncertain about our economic future and prefer to hire part-time workers. When the unemployment rate is as high as it is for as long as it's been (another "new normal" I reject), you have to take what you can get.
So get with the program, Fran! Full-time work is so 20th century!
But why do I have to accept that premise? There are still full-time jobs out there. I apply for them nearly every day. It may be true that my odds of securing a part-time job are better than my chances of landing a full-time job. But that doesn't mean my choice to pursue only full-time positions makes me some kind of out-of-touch snob. I don't look down on part-time jobs; I just don't see them as pathways to my dreams.
Are we no longer supposed to have dreams, aspirations, goals? Should we just forget about them and be grateful if we can get by from day to day? To me, that's absurd. That's not my idea of America. People still come to America from everywhere to realize their dreams. I should give mine up? No.
Just because the economy is stuck in neutral now doesn't mean that it always will be. I'm hoping (praying, too) that we'll elect new leadership in this country in four weeks and things will begin to turn around then. This country will pursue policies again that will enable the economy to grow again. That's what I'm holding out for.
I have a feeling that's what many businesses -- the ones that offer only part-time jobs now -- are holding out for these days. Of course there are good arguments to be made for taking a part-time job.
It may be part-time now, but sometimes a part-time job grows into a full-time job. This is true; but on the other hand, I left my last part-time job five years ago because I'd been told when they hired me that it would "eventually" become full-time. It never did and it wasn't going to.
Yes, I am financially able to take a pass on a part-time job, at least right now. It doesn't mean that I feel superior to my long-term unemployed peers for whom this isn't an option. I feel fortunate, not proud.
The mini-boom in part-time jobs is just another symptom of the economic misery in which we're mired today. It's another reason why, as long as I'm able to, I'll keep on doing freelance writing. On pursuing a part-time job, I choose not to -- for now.
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