The unemployment rate edges lower as the nation slowly recovers from the economic crash of 2009. However, unemployment is still a concern for many Americans. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent in August 2013, changing litter over the past few months. This translates to 11.3 million people who find themselves without a job.
A further breakdown of the numbers shows that 7.9 million people newly filled part-time positions. To make ends meet, many people are signing up to work several part-time jobs in lieu of a fulltime position. It seems as though part-time jobs have become the new normal for U.S. workers.
Here, two education professionals offer insight into this evolving trend. “Part-time and temporary positions have been the trend for a long time,” says Jason Rinsky, National Director of Career Services at the Brown Mackie College system of schools. “At the beginning of the recession, it was a way not to lay people off. Employers reduced workers to part-time hours to keep them employed. It made sense to keep the talent and resources available to them.”
“At first glance, there are obvious drawbacks to replacing one fulltime job with several part-time positions,” says Grace Klinefelter, Business & Organizational Leadership program chair at Argosy University, Washington DC. “Perhaps the most troubling shortcoming is the unavailability of health insurance through part-time work.”
“It can become expensive to get sick with or without health insurance coverage. People without coverage don’t know what to do,” continues Klinefelter. This sobering reality prompts many Americans turn to part-time and temporary employment options. In so doing, they discover unexpected opportunities. One arises from scheduling work shifts. Those who typically worked from nine to five on weekdays have come to appreciate the flexible hours afforded by part-time work.
The youth tend to like the freedom of flexible hours; older folks often find more time available to care for their children – or an aging parent – resulting from different work hours. It’s possible, too, to reduce daycare costs by tag-teaming childcare responsibilities between spouses.
Approaching the new normal with a positive attitude can help people adjust. “Don’t eschew a part-time job even though it may not be an ideal vehicle,” says Rinsky. “In terms of advantages, it gives you a foot in the door of a potential permanent employer. It can be a good way to sharpen skills and develop new ones.” With ever-changing technology, active engagement in the workforce is a good way to stay up to date. Taking on part-time work also eliminates employment gaps on your resume, which can be uncomfortable to explain during an interview.
“Think of it as an opportunity to expand your network,” says Klinefelter. “People with several jobs get more exposure than those who are in a fulltime position with one employer. Do your best on the job; show them what you can do. When there is a fulltime opening, you want them to think of you.”
There are moneymaking alternatives to going into an office every day. Some have turned to their hobbies to bring in extra income in the midst of the restrictive job market. “Many people have a creative side and an eye for an entrepreneurial experience,” Klinefelter says. “If you have a creative idea and a fire under you, part-time work gives you more time to put it together and set it up. This is difficult to do with a 40-hour work week.”
The new normal of reduced work hours can open doors to fresh ventures that may not otherwise be considered. It helps to be prepared for change and to be flexible about directions your skills can take you.
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About Argosy University
Argosy University (www.argosy.edu), with 28 campus locations in 13 states and online, is a private, accredited academic institution dedicated to providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to students through its eight colleges: College of Clinical Psychology, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Business, Education, Health Sciences, Undergraduate Studies, The Art Institute of California and Western State College of Law. Degree levels and programs offered vary by location. Argosy University is accredited by the Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, California, 94501, http://www.wascsenior.org). Administrative office: Argosy University, 333 City Boulevard West, Suite 1810, Orange, CA 92868. Licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 2610, 2630. See auprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
About Brown Mackie College
The Brown Mackie College system of schools (www.brownmackie.edu) is dedicated to providing educational programs that prepare students for entry-level positions or to enhance their current professions in a competitive, rapidly-changing workplace. Brown Mackie College schools offer bachelor's degree, associate’s degree, certificate, and diploma programs in health sciences, business, information technology, legal studies and design technologies. Administrative Office: 625 Eden Park Drive, Ste. 1100, Cincinnati, OH 45202. OH Registration # 03-09-1685T; # 03-09-1686T; # 03-09-1687T; # 03-09-1688T; # 06-03-1781T; AC0150, AC0109, AC0078, AC0045,AC0138, AC0110; Licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No.3206. Since Brown Mackie College is comprised of several institutions, see bmcprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.