Working part-time was never a path that I chose very deliberately, it kinda just like happened. You see, graduating as a journalist, interesting jobs weren't really up for grabs, which is why I started to work in retail (because a girl's gotta live off something and if you really like shopping, that just seems like the most logical place to start), a sector where full time contracts are simply rare birds. And while getting more hours than the 18/week I started out with was certainly an objective for me in the beginning, I have to admit that now that I've stranded at 28/week I'm not really inclined to try and turn those into a full time. Can't see why? Well then, let me tell you all about the perks of working only four days a week.
1. Not having to do your groceries on a Saturday is sheer bliss.
Ever went grocerie shopping on a Saturday? Well, then you know what I'm talking about. If not: elderly people blocking the aisles by going at snake pace, screaming children ('mommy, I want those cookies. I want those cookies NOW!') and stressed-out cashiers who are just about ready to shoot themselves (or that screaming kid for that matter) should say about enough, no? On Thursday morning however the supermarket is an island of bliss and tranquility, you can even do a little dance with your shopping cart in the middle of an aisle if you feel like it, because for some reason, all the senior citizens (who are just as much at home as you on a weekday), prefer to go shopping on Saturday (don't ask me why, but it just is so).
2. More chill time is really fun.
Kind of obvious, but working four-fifths gives you more time you can spend on your hobbies, which in my case are blogging, pinning, yoga or just lazying around. Now I know that turning your hobby into your job is the summit of succes in our modern society. What is it they say? Find a job you love and you'll never have to work another day in your life? Well, that may be fine for the lucky few who manage to achieve that, but being realistic I don't really see how anyone would want to pay me for watching The Mindy Project in my pj's.
3. Letting go of work stress just becomes that much easier.
Ever heard of a part-timer having a burnout? I think not. A day extra at home where you don't have to deal with that annoying colleague, deadlines or performance pressure in general just gives you time to breathe and fill up your positive energy reservoir for the days that you do.
4. Your energy level sky rockets.
Okay, so in my case that might me a little exaggerated, but then I was born lazy. But seriously though, having worked a month full-time in June to compensate for the temporary absence of a colleague, I really noticed the difference. I felt tired and washed out every day when I came home from work and the weekend just never seemed long enough to fully recharge my batteries. To make things worse, all of the household chores I normally did on my day off in the week, had to be crammed into those two days I usually use mostly for quality time. Now that I've started to work a day less again, I simply feel more energised. I manage to scoop a half an hour yoga session in my evenings or even find the will to do some laundry, instead of just passing out on the couch.
5. More time means more creativity.
Contrary to what you may believe more time doesn't necessarily mean more couch potatoe time. Admittidely, as said above I do spend part of my extra time off with a series or my pinboards, but being lazy on a regular basis, oddly enough, also gets my creative juices flowing. Doing nothing gives me the time to get inspired, to come up with new ideas to write about, to fool around with my camera, to invent a new recipe for a cake or to give the coffee table a make-over. Like historian Rutger Bregman says in an article on demorgen.be: It's no coincidence that most tv is being watched in countries where the average of working hours a week is very high.
Now on that obvious downside of doing less hours a week (i.e. the smaller paycheck). First of all let me say that I am in the lucky position of having a boyfriend who doesn't mind that not all expenses are equally devided into two (remaining within reason of course). And secondly, yes, I do have to think twice before buying that festival ticket or them pretty shoes, and yes, I sometimes it sucks if I can't afford them, but honestly, when I'm reading a book in bed on a Thursday afternoon - cup of tea in hand - the neccesity of those little extras suddenly become a whole less clear.
What are your thoughts on working part-time? Something for women (or men for that matter) with children only, or something we all should be doing if we want a happier and less stressful life?