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Dear Electra,

What is the best way to look for profesional part-time or job share positions on the Internet? I am looking for something to do with either project management or operations.

Work Less, Like it More

There are two kinds of part-time jobs:

1.Those the employer KNOWS are part-time (and may offer as such.)

2.Those that COULD BE part-time but are advertised or offered as full time.

In case 1, if you are looking for job advertisements, use the phrase "part-time" as you search through sites with jobs in your field. Note that very few sites have so MANY jobs in project management that you'd need to do this.

You can also use "part-time" (in its various spellings "part time," "parttime," "part-time") as a search word (along with "project management") as you search JobStar's newspaper classifieds online: S.F. Bay Area, Los Angeles Area, San Diego Area, or Sacramento Area. And try "job shar*", too. (That will get both "job share" and "job sharing.")

If you are using other job search methods, such as networking or the Hidden Job Market, you can incorporate your desire for part-time work into your marketing statement about what you are looking for.

For case 2, an employer offering a full time job may be willing to re-work your position as part-time if:

1. They really really want to hire you.

2. You can make a case that you can do the job as well or better part-time & save them money. (Smaller employers are especially eager to save money & perhaps the health care benefits you may no longer qualify for.) It's a tougher sell to convince an employer who has budgeted for a full time position to make you part time & STILL give you full benefits. (Not least because all the other employees will be jealous...)

You might, however, convince an employer to provide prorated benefits. That is, if you work 50 per cent time the employer agrees to pay 50 per cent of your premium and you pay the remainder -- which would give you access to the group benefits without an unfair additional cost to the employer.

Generally job shares, when available, are offered to current employees first. Once you have a job interview, you can express your interest in a job share position. You may find that, while you will take yourself out of the running for the full time position, there may, in rare instances, be an employer who says: "Yes, we have an open job share with X or Y's position." The odds are long but it may happen (especially if the company really, really wants you.)

There is an organization in San Francisco called:
New Ways to Work
Their focus is on flexible work arrangements (including part time and job sharing). They work primarily with employers, unions and policymakers (rather than with individuals) but some of their publications (click on the Publications button) are geared toward individuals.

Check out the excellent Job Sharing Handbook, by NWW's co-directors, Barney Olmsted and Suzanne Smith, and Put Work in its Place: How to Redesign Your Job to Fit Your Life, by Bruce O'Hara. Check your library for a copy if you are not able to purchase.

I asked Linda Marks, FlexGroup Director of New Ways to Work, if there is anything else you should know. Linda writes:

"Most good part time and job sharing positions are not listed anywhere, so you have to create them from what IS available. One way is to apply as part of a job sharing team, using a joint cover letter and joint or individual resumes. Job sharing has some wonderful advantages to the employer: it fits into the "40-hour time slot" mentality most companies have; you get a wider range of skills in one position; you have trained coverage for crunch times; "2 heads are better than one" and so on.

Another way to get part time is to apply for a full-time job and negotiate it into the part-time one you desire by making the business case for the organization to do so. For example, one woman, when offered a full-time job as a magazine editor, suggested that she work full time for up to two months so that she could know what the job entails. During that time she could see if there was a way to restructure the job so that things that didn't need to be done by someone of her skill level could be done by someone who cost less. Within a month she was able to cut back to four days a week.

My seven rules for finding professional part-time jobs are: 1. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
2. Apply for jobs that are listed as part time.
3. Apply for jobs that are listed as full-time and negotiate to part time.
4. Apply as part of a job-sharing team.
5. Use a temporary service.
6. Create your own part-time job (through volunteering or knowing what an organization needs.)
7. Freelance or start your own business."

Thanks Linda!

By the way, Linda told me she has a refrigerator magnet that says "Life is too short for a full-time job."


Page last updated: 9:27 PM on 5/22/09