My first job, and the first jobs of countless people, was a part-time position. I think this is partly because full-time jobs are more difficult to obtain, and they require less responsibility in general. Employers also like to hire people for part-time gigs, as they often do not require them to hand out benefits. But anyway, my initial job was freelance work in people’s yards: mowing their lawn, weeding, digging out stumps, and other lawn maintenance occupations. However, my first official (on paper) job was working at my community college as a writing and English tutor. I believe it was not only a great step forward towards full-time office work, but it also taught me that I love teaching and interacting with people of various backgrounds. In addition, I learned the joy of working around my own schedule.
What was perhaps the most intriguing about my obtaining this position is that I got poor grades in English and writing in high school. It was only in college that I began to flourish with pen and paper. By my second year of college, I was often getting “A” grades or hearing praise from my professors. I think this transformation happened due to my passion for the written word, and this excitement assisted me in overcoming my obstacles. Anyways, when I got the job as a tutor for my college, I was excited to help people with their assignments. It was also relieving to know that I could work, and do many other important things during the day.
What astonished me the most was that the ESL (English as a second language) students were often better writers than the native people I tutored. I think this was due to the fact they seriously studied English grammar, punctuation, and composition, whereas the native speakers took English for granted. What also surprised me was how people-friendly I could be. In high school, I was mostly a loner and found comfort in books, my chessboard, and my computer. But in college, my personality began to open up through classes and my job.
What I enjoyed besides interacting with many different people and learning styles was the fact that I could schedule my day around my students, or the students could schedule their appointments around my plans. This made me believe in the power of part-time jobs. With a full-time job, I would have to dedicate a huge block of time every day to a single task. With a part-time job, I could focus on my studies and my creative output on the side with concentration. Working at a full-time job now, I can see how much freedom I had while working at part-time jobs. I tried to imagine those who had full-time work while studying, and I could not. I considered myself lucky.
For instance, when I began working at a writing centre at a university after I graduated college, I had a lot of time after work to dive into my creative writing at the university’s library and to go home and enjoy my day before it got dark. Most times when we work at a full-time job, we cannot enjoy the day outside. We only see the morning and the evening, and the beauty of the day is lost to us. I think this is a sad fate. In this perspective, I think an ideal working day is at most six hours a day. I believe it is not healthy for people to not see the day in all its glory. It also makes sure we are vitamin D deficient from a lack of sun, and feel unhealthy due to a lack of fresh air. Most offices are heavily air conditioned and most full-time workers do not get a chance to take a walk outside during their working hours.
It seems, in the case of my life, to have a proper work-play balance, we should not be working eight hours daily, five times a week. A 30-hour workweek seems much more healthy and will allow workers to feel more motivated to get projects completed. In fact, it has been shown by various studies that working a five- or six-hour workday is more effective. Workers get less work done while working eight hours a day due to feeling tired and restless. With fewer hours, staff members feel more focused on the tasks at hand.
In my life, through having multiple part-time jobs, I can say that this type of work allows one to be happier, healthier, and have a better outlook on one’s assignments. Ultimately, it seems that the 40-hour workweek is unnatural for a person—in the least, for me.