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JLeslie's avatar

Would you prefer to work part-time or job share or even take a year or two off from work if you believed it would not hurt your resume?

Asked by JLeslie (46149 points ) March 10th, 2013

I’m just curious because since so many people are unemployed, it could really benefit a lot of people if those who prefer part-time could do it and still make a good hourly wage.

I also wonder if a cultural shift towards people not being penalized for wanting to take a break from work would help. Those who can afford to live without working, it might be someone who saved a lot or it might be a spouse. If it is a spouse with the excuse of children I think might be getting better that employers are less negative about taking some years off, but what if you don’t have children? Does the workplace judge taking a few years off? I think it does a lot of the time, depending on the position.

Do you think these things coud help the unemployment problem?

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13 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Working part-time would be ideal for many people, so long as they could make enough money doing it. Employers do look down on that, though, just as they do for long employment gaps. I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

cookieman's avatar

In the past, I would have said yes. I have lots of projects I could work on. But, given today’s job market – I’d suggest everyone hold tight to whatever job they have.

JLeslie's avatar

@cookieman That attitude gives companies incredible power to underpay and overwork employees. Fear keeps employees in line and abused. As long as the media and our neighbors are telling others to be grateful they have a job at all, the employee weakens his position.

Meanwhile, the question is what would you prefer, not what you think is best in the current job market or by how employers perceive the time off or fewer hours. It is a personal question if you had a choice without significant risk of unemployment. I pretty much acknowledged in the main question the problem in the American culture today in how we look at these things.

zenvelo's avatar

I would love to be able to work three days per week, or maybe just 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. two days per week. And i would get just as much done as now. My problem is too often a “crisis” erupts when we least expect it and the emails fly and there is an immediate call. Half an hour later, decision made, crisis resolved, it’s all over.

cookieman's avatar

@JLeslie: Spoken like someone with no current fear of being laid off.

Having lived through 3+ years of unemployment, depletion of savings, and almost losing my house – I’ll stick with my original assessment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t constantly be trying to improve your work situation (both internally and by looking for new, better job opportunities) – of course you should. Nor should you let your job take advantage of you if you can help it. But the truth, for many people, is that a company’s power of them is very real and exists with or without their assistance.

Now, to answer the question in an ideal way (“without significant risk if unemployment”): Yes, I would love a year off.

submariner's avatar

In a society with advanced technology, it should not take 80 hours of skilled adult labor to support a middle-class lifestyle. The workweek should be shorter.

The sociologist Judith Schor has written about this in her books, of which Plenitude is the most recent, and provides useful data. She also talks about shorter work hours in her blog.

A list of links to organizations and individuals who are working on this issue can be found on the blog of People for a Shorter Workweek and Sustainable Life.

Here is a related Fluther thread.

JLeslie's avatar

@cookieman Well, if your savings are depleted and you haven’t worked in 3 years, I would think you want a fulltime job at this point. Whether employment is plentiful or not. Sorry, you have been through such a tough time. I know how incredibly stressful itis ro worry about fnances and where the next jobis coming from. My goal with the Q was to get a feel for how many people can do it. Can live just on part time or skip a year here and there in the ideal market of not worrying about getting a job later. I would love a part-time job that I could keep my skill set sharp. But, most part time jobs are “beneath” my skill set. Not that I am above anything, but it doesn’t utilize my skills in the best way, it is less interesting for me while at work, and the money is less.

cookieman's avatar

@JLeslie: Well, we survived it (this happened between 2007 & 2011) and are now working FT, doing well, and trying to rebuild our savings – but that threat of unemployment always looms.

For example, I landed my current FT job last July. Great job, good pay and benefits. I was adjunct here for five years leading up to it. Good place. I could finally relax, right? Nope. Three months into the job, corporate decides to restructure their entire management system. They lay me off, I’m unemployed for two weeks, and they post a new job that looks very much like my old job with a slightly different title. I had to apply for it and re-interview – for pretty much the same job they JUST hired me for!! No one else applied for it and they re-hired me – but, not all the other managers were as lucky. Corporate used it as an opportunity to clean house.

JLeslie's avatar


KNOWITALL's avatar

I would love to go part-time at my current job and use the additional time to find something more pleasurable. After ten years, I’m ready to move on, but it’s hard to leave the 401k and paid vaca’s, sick days.

snapdragon24's avatar

I think it depends on your age and citcumstances… and always make sure to come up with a good excuse during the interview! I know people who do gap years to take care of their children, or traveling for philanthropic reasons, could be you are having health issues, midlife crises etc.

Cupcake's avatar

I have always wanted to work part-time. I am not at all concerned about my resume. I am concerned about my bank account. For now, full-time is necessary. I hope in the near future I can be home more (and have another baby or two).

I would be nervous about leaving the workplace altogether, but part-time does not concern me.

downtide's avatar

I work four days a week by choice, and I love it. It means I always have at least one week-day off, which is extremely useful. I would have to be in really dire financial straits to give up my extra day.

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