Thoughts on working part time and the secret to success

Earlier this year, I had been working part time for a few months. This came after I was feeling really burnt out from my string of unhappy jobs, and I needed some time to regroup and plan before launching into another full-time job. My part time job was enough to pay the bills, so all was well.

It was kind of an unusual decision for people in my age group- working full time obviously allows you to have more money, which allows you to pay for more things. I felt guilty not maximizing my earning potential- but I was also trying to frame things differently in my mind, and accepting that while I wasn’t making a lot of money, I was investing in myself, and hopefully it would pay off in the long run.

So, I just wanted to share some thoughts on my part-time experiment, in case any of you daydream about working part time instead of full time 🙂

The good:

  1. I felt like I could breathe. While working full time, I felt like I could never stop. Between commuting, cooking, grocery shopping, and preparing for the next day, all my time was taken up. At the end of each night I was exhausted, and the only thing I had energy for was Netflix.
  2. I drank chai and did yoga every morning. I felt pretty healthy at the end of winter 🙂
  3. I didn’t get sick at all. I had minimal stress, so my immune system was kicking butt.
  4. I focused more on my passions, and actually watched less TV. Since I wasn’t stressed, I wasn’t exhausted, and I didn’t resort to TV to relax.
  5. I had a lot of energy every day- I slept better because I was less stressed, so I felt better, and was more productive.
  6. I took classes for fun. When you’re working full time, the focus is your career and professional development. I splurged and took an art class because I wanted to, not to increase my income.
  7. I had more flexibility, so I could be more spontaneous. This included last minute plans and road trips.
  8. Errands were a breeze- I could go to the DMV during the middle of the day, and I didn’t have to use PTO.

Wow! Do you want to work part time now? Well, here are the not so glamorous parts to think about:

  1. I missed being on the same schedule as everyone else. All my friends and family were on the 40 hour a week schedule, so while I could be spontaneous, my friends could not.
  2. I actually wasn’t as productive as I thought I would be. I thought I would spend all my free time working on my art and my Etsy store, but if you do that too much, it almost starts to feel like a full time job again.
  3. Since I was part time, I didn’t get benefits, and my job felt less secure.
  4. And of course the obvious downfall: less money.

I really enjoyed my 6 month mini-cation while it lasted- and I would definitely consider working part time again in the future after having more savings. My life had a good balance, and I could do what I enjoyed while also sustaining my lifestyle.

The most valuable thing I gained from working part time was an answer to something I had often wondered. While at my previous job, I daydreamed about what would happen if I just quit and focused on my art and my business. I thought that all I needed was time off to become wildly successful- then I would have time to draw without feeling exhausted.

The answer I learned was this: You can’t speed up success. Many of the big businesses that are around today have been around for DECADES. Coke didn’t just launch last year and have wild success. Great things are built over time. They are built through practice, and through taking one step each day to improve. More time can certainly help, but more important than that is consistency. Working part time certainly helped give me the energy and time needed to work on my art, but it also didn’t make me an instant success. All snowballs start small, you just need to keep rolling it 🙂