I’ve moved to a part-time job twice, I love it and think you’re missing out if you don’t try it.
And since, I’ve gone from full-time to part-time twice that makes me a “moving to part-time” expert and I want to share the light that I have seen.
I’m sure that many of you that have a full-time job wish you could have more freedom in your life. But by working 40-60 hours/week, you are minimizing your chances for a relaxed and convenient life.
When people think about creating a better work-life balance. Part-time work doesn’t usually top the list. But it really should. Part-time jobs exist to do just that…I mean that’s obviously not the reason for their existence but they are very efficient when it comes to balance.
Related Reading in Amazing Careers that let you Live Your Life:
- What working for fun is like
- What the best temp jobs are: In case you work so little you need some extra entertainment
- The best retirement jobs: I consider myself retired with my tiny work week.
- Best jobs with summers off: Why change everything when you just want summers
- Best under the table jobs: It’s not actually nefarious and sometimes very lucrative!
- Best Online Jobs: Because working remotely is pretty awesome. Especially part time!
- When we are home much of the day we call ourselves “domestic engineers.” It’s a very fulfilling line of work.
The benefits of part-time jobs?
1 – More time for you
First of all, you have the ability to take better care of yourself. Both mentally and physically. Free time is probably the biggest benefit of them all. You can spend time with your family and friends or even commit yourself to those crazy dreams you always had but never tried out.
2 – Increased Productivity
Oh, you’ll be more productive in your job as well. In fact, many employers have stated that hiring part-time people instead of full-time brings way better results to the business.
It’s really reasonable if you think about it. When you have more time to yourself, when you value your time and don’t spend it all working, you’re genuinely happier.
3 – Good pay rates
But what about the money? It’s less than full-time work obviously but that shouldn’t worry you at all.
We’re hunting for the best part-time jobs which have higher hourly pay rates than full-time jobs.
4 – WAY more free time for just a little less income
Part-time jobs are usually considered to be between 20-35 hours per week.
While a 24 hr work week isn’t exactly relaxing on a beach, you spend more days not working than working and you don’t have to give up much to get it.
It’s like a sale on free time! 4 day work weeks are 50% more days off for 20% of the price!Mr FireEscape
It makes for a great deal, doesn’t it? I love sales!
There are only 2 days in a normal weekend, so adding 1 day to it is massive! 50% more days off!! Whoooo
And since you work 5 days a week, you’ll only accomplish and get paid, 20% less. That’s amazing!
Even better, imagine going to 3 days? Yeah, it’s a 40% reduction in pay, but then your standard weekend will be longer than your work week! Glorious!
Let’s look at an example…
A marketer from NYC that gets paid $40/hr and works 50 hours per week. Her annual income is $96,000. The truth is, though, that she doesn’t want to work that much. She wants to open a small business and devote her time to that.
Therefore, she drops to a 4-day week. Her income drops to $76,800/yr but voila she has a whole day to dedicate to her dreams EVERY WEEK.
5 – Reduced Taxes
Do you know what comes with reduced workdays? Yeah, that’s right… reduced taxes.
Everyone hates taxes and it’s your income that gets taxed, not your free time.
Here’s the beauty of it.
- When your workdays reduce, your income shrinks
- When your income shrinks, you have less income living in a high tax bracket
- Meaning you have lost even less income than you thought.
Taxes are graduated. People pay proportionally more as they make more, so it’s like the government is encouraging us to work part-time.
Where I live, and with my income, my 5th workday/week is effectively taxed at 37% while the 3rd and 4th are taxed at only 29%.
I get a 50% increase in days off and only a 17% reduction in income (because of taxes), so it’s actually a super sale! Your taxes will vary but the idea is always the same, graduated tax brackets.
Common traits of the best part-time jobs
There is a common thread to jobs that are good for being part-time and I’m a big fan of distilling things down to the driving forces.
If you have extreme leverage at a workplace they will allow you to be pretty flexible with your hours. This is the method I’ve used twice to make my life more agreeable.
If you are in a union (like a teacher) or a profession with standardized education (also like teachers) then you’re also in good shape to work part-time too even though you have zero leverage (since there are usually rules for part-time work).
People with standardized educations are replaceable. As bad as that sounds it is also quite freeing. If an electrician is sick another can take his place, because they are both electricians.
High pay rates
Then to cap it off, if the full-time version of the job pays a lot, then you don’t need to work as much to get by!
The 5 best part-time jobs and their fields
These are the 5 best part-time job fields I’ve come across. I’m always adding to my list but I’ve never found anything better than these.
1 – Keeping your job
If you want to pursue the best part-time job, there’s no need to quit your current job. You can just ask your boss for a reduced workload. There’s nothing wrong with that.
I’ve converted my job to a semi-retirement job twice (full-time to 1.5-day/wk to full-time to 3-days/wk) and I think it’s amazing. You take more free time and your boss pays you less money.
It’s a win-win situation if you are a useful employee.
The best part about this though is that you’ll be much more valued if you keep working in the same job than signing up at some new place.
I mean they already know your value, historical knowledge, your skills, and your abilities so your pay rate will probably be higher than starting over fresh.
There are other pros too. Perks, friends, purpose, and more!
By the numbers: Using myself as an example. I’m in an enviable place (that I’m trying to teach you how to attain) where when I first went part-time I made $120K/yr.
When I dropped down to a 1.5-day work week I was able to negotiate a little higher rate and still bring in $40K/yr. That’s awesome. My work-week and weekend swapped places and I still had a decent income!
2 – Consultants
Becoming a consultant is like keeping your job but you go hourly and your employer can lay you off whenever they feel like it. Anyone can do it if you can find the work.
I never wanted to do this because I don’t want to drum up clients but some people are good at it.
By the numbers: I hired one of my full-time employees as a consultant. He made $100K/yr and now he works 8 hours a week with no perks for $55/hr. It’s pretty awesome and he lives like a king in South America now. Yes, I am kind of jealous.
3 – Side hustles suck, Mini-Entrepreneurship is…interesting
There are thousands of people promoting the idea that side hustles are the best part-time jobs. But is that actually true?
When talking about side hustles, there are some things you should keep in mind.
Side hustles usually require a lot of time to develop and become profitable, or they start quickly and don’t ramp up.
So should you get into the side hustle life? Personally, I wouldn’t. Here’s why…
By the numbers: Let’s take Uber for example.
I would wildly prefer to work I dislike than work triple the hours at (almost) anything.
Some other “wicked side hustles” that people might dupe you into.
Selling things on Amazon
This is another classic side hustle. You’ll find hundreds of “gurus” saying that you can make piles with this method in the first month.
But you won’t be able to do it. Unless you buy their course… of course!
It’s a lot of work and risk too. You need ads, inventory, time to invest into it, regulatory paperwork.
Yeah, you spend money on ads with the vision of making it back from selling things but… is it worth your time when it can take years to break even?
I have a friend who did this. Not as easy as it sounds. That’s for sure.
By the numbers: I have a friend who did this. Not as easy as it sounds. That’s for sure.
He worked maybe 30 hours a week building up his amazon empire. Now he makes $10,00/yr and works 20 hours a week at it. But that’s still <$10/hr which is under minimum wage in most places. Blech Pass.
This can be done online or outside in the “real” world. You basically buy something at a low price and sell it for a profit.
Its easy to understand and kind of addictive (yeah I browse facebook marketplace too much) but it’s hard to scale up and the hourly rate is horrible once you factor everything in.
Of course, if you start doing this and you get good at it, but what’s the hourly rate? Pretty bad.
By the numbers: If you buy some $50 object off Craigslist and flip it for $100 it’s cool but you’ll likely spend 2 hours doing it, which only nets you $25/hr.
Are side hustles the best part-time jobs? They generally suck. If you want to take my word for it, skip them. But I have to point out one exception.
So why is this here if I think side hustles and entrepreneurship suck? I’ll get into this another day but side hustles are only good in my books if they are a warm-up to going full speed into starting a company. Entrepreneurship is hard and a world of 0.1%-ers. If you make it it’s worth it but you can usually only make it if go work at it 24/7.
By the numbers: My friend spent ~15 hrs/wk testing out a market for a startup. He made $0 for 2 years which is horrible. But he was confident enough to direct his lifesavings (~$200K) into it and now he makes about a half-a-million dollars a year and works 60 hr/wk. I guess that’s success.
After 3 years: Profit of $300K, 4680 hours input = $64/hr. Which is less than I make per hour…but who’s counting 😛
4 – Teachers
Looking for a part-time friendly job? Well, teaching might be what you’re looking for. We all know a teacher’s schedule. Summers-off, all other vacations off, the workday ends early. I mean, what else could you ask for?
How about no screaming children? Teaching isn’t easy but most teachers’ unions have a magic power that makes me jealous.
Via their unions, teachers have methods for reducing hours in their contracts. No negotiations! The best of all is the frequent teachers union ability to skip a year and spread out your income.
Educators near me can spread out their pay over any random (full year) combination they want (1 year of pay over 2 years, 4 years of pay over 5 years), which makes part-time a-la-carte and amazing.
Full-time salaries aren’t amazing but they are pretty good when you factor in the flexibility:
Median American Educational Salaries
|Full Time Salary
|2/3rd Part Time Salary
5 – Real Estate Agents
Many people work full-time as real estate agents, but it’s a notorious part-time gig. You show and compare properties to customers, you network, and you get paid. It can be hard but in an upmarket like today’s, I don’t think it takes much effort to sell a house.
All you need in order to practice this job, you need a current and valid real estate license.
You could imagine shedding a full-time job if you have some strong investments backing up a part-time job as a realtor (full-time average pay is $60K/yr).
6 – Medicine
Some doctors I know scoff at this. Medicine is hard for sure. The hours are weird and you need to get super in debt to become a highly paid doctor. Once you are there though it’s part time heaven.
Standardized education, bonkers payrates, easy part time options.
My family clinic has 4 doctors on a rotation who co-own the practice. 1 is always on vacation and the other 3 cover 7 days/wk of clinic hours. Heaven!
Can all doctors arrange that? Maybe not, but with massive incomes I’m sure they can figure something out.
Median salaries of medical jobs:
|Full Time Salary
|2/3rds Part Time Salary
TL;DR – Best Part Time Jobs
- Choose something you like and enjoy doing, stick to it, and scale it up to the maximum level to max out your payrate.
- Your original job is likely a perfect fit for your new part time job.
- No matter what, stick to it so you can increase your hourly pay then scale back the hours as much as possible.
How many hours is part time work?
Most people would consider someone part time if they work less than 40 hours weekly. Some professions require huge hour commitments so part time work there could be a larger number.
Legally, the affordable care act considers someone part time under 30 hr/wk per week and as far as the IRS is concerned you are part time if you work under 25 hr/wk, or under 35 hr/wk if other employees work substantially more (Income Tax Regulations 1.105-11(c)(2)(iii)(C).