Part-time Jobs Replace Full-Time Employment for Many

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The Great Recession has taken its toll on the workers trying to survive this difficult economy.  With the scarcity of well paying full-time jobs, more people are forced to work multiple part-time positions to make a living.  It is a sign of the times and flexibility appears to be the key to survival.


According to research by Northeastern University one in four college-educated adults work in jobs unrelated to their degrees, with 40 % of those ages 25 and younger!  This is a historically high number and one that shows no signs of slowing down in the near term.  Twenty-six percent of these people are working minimum wage in retail, waiters and as bartenders to make ends meet.


For those under 25-yrs old this is not a new concept, yet it appears that many are working harder in areas totally unrelated to their college degree.  I spoke with the owner of a popular Chicago restaurant who told me that his wait staff is comprised of workers with more advanced degrees than he has ever seen in his 30 year career.  Many have degrees in art history, communications, marketing and educational sectors where jobs are scarce.

Since 2006, the number of part-time jobs-holders nationally has risen from 1.7-1.8 million, according to the Bureau of Labor.  Due to the difficulty in tracking this group, it is most likely even higher, since many don’t claim their part-time work for tax reasons.


Once I worked as a cocktail waitress at a hotel by night and selling Chamber of Commerce memberships during the day.  Many days I worked 16-18 hrs.  By the end of the day, I fell into bed exhausted from selling memberships and serving cocktails in my 5-inch heels! There was no time for dating or a vacation from the Chicago winters. 


My goal was to save enough money to get my own studio apartment, instead of sleeping on my roommate’s cat hair infested sofa.  I also was networking to try to find a job where I could work full time and get health insurance benefits.  I figured I may meet someone while working at the Chamber of Commerce that might lead me to a job.


Honestly, after working in commercial real estate and as a radio time sales person and experiencing a slow-down in both sectors, I had no idea what I could do to make a living.  I held a communications degree as many of the workers, today.  So, if you don’t become a reporter, work for a magazine or a PR/Marketing firm, what do you with your degree?


Actually, anything!  What my communications degree taught me is how to market myself and look for trends in the marketplace.  So, instead of continuing to looking for a job in marketing, I used what I learned in college to find a new career.  My plan worked after a year of working 2-3 jobs when I secured a position at a contract cleaning company in sales. 


I didn’t even know there was such a job to apply for until I spoke with the company.  The industry wasn’t on my “hit” list of careers, yet it was the job I needed to get back into the “game”.  Turned out I was pretty good at selling contract cleaning services, too.  I worked in this industry for five years and never worried about having a job since I was a sought-after employee.


Know that you are not alone in your search for full-time position.  Working 16-hour days is difficult, but in the end be assured it will pay off.  Part-time work is the way to go in this economy if you are getting nowhere finding a full-time position in your given field.  Keep networking for opportunities when you are working and select a part-time job that introduces you to people that may be able to help you in your career. 


One last word of advice…buy a comfortable pair of shoes!


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