Leave fulltime job to take part-time job--of course, less money
October 24, 2014 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Would you leave a full-time job that is stifling, depressing and not a good fit for you to take the part-time job of your dreams? Full-time job pays $55K and part-time job pays $40K. Am I crazy to even think about doing this?
posted by sandra194 to Work & Money (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That depends a lot on your personal circumstances which you haven't shared. How much of a hit will that be to your family's budget? Will you lose your benefits? What about your retirement?

$40K for a part timer sounds like a dream come true to me, but I would have to weigh the loss of benefits and my personal goals before I pulled the trigger.
posted by Think_Long at 7:05 AM on October 24, 2014 [12 favorites]

If it frees you up to do other wonderful things with your time, and if it's not a huge stress on the rest of your life & finances, then it sounds pretty great.

Also you could ask yourself if $15,000/year (plus time time it frees up) is worth your happiness and not being stifled and depressed for 40 hours a week (plus bleeding over into everything else in your life).

I know what I'd choose.
posted by entropone at 7:08 AM on October 24, 2014 [10 favorites]

I would leave in a heartbeat. Happiness is much more important than money, to me.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:14 AM on October 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'd do it.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 7:17 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

If i could reduce my workweek with that percentage hit to income and not lose benefits, in a heartbeat.

(I took a pay cut to leave fancy work that made me want to set my hair on fire. Lost cash. Better job security. Better mental health. )
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:18 AM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would do it too. Life is worth more than money.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 7:18 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Easterlin Paradox describes the tendency in humans to not necessarily have their overall level of happiness correlate with their earnings.

Only you can determine what that extra $15,000 a year means to you - but $40k part time sounds pro-rata more than $55k full time, and if you can find some other way to fill the time and earn money in the time you save then it could end up leaving you ahead of the game. If you can do it without cutting into your ability to pay rent and eat then it could well be worth a go.
posted by aosher at 7:19 AM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would crunch the numbers and if I could cover my bills is be gone in a heartbeat.
posted by wwax at 7:19 AM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I did this a year and a half ago. Can't believe I waited so long.
posted by harrietthespy at 7:20 AM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I did it, the part time job ended up being full-time before very long, and my life is awesome now, whereas before I was thinking of creative ways to kill myself. If you can afford the hit, do it.
posted by like_a_friend at 7:28 AM on October 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

Definitely! The difference isn't even $15k, according to this http://us.thetaxcalculator.net/ the difference in your pocket is around $10,800.

If you rephrase the question as would you pay $900 a month to be loads happier, most people who could afford to would!
posted by chrispy108 at 7:30 AM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you can afford it, go for it.

If you can't afford it, figure out a way to afford it. Downgrade to less expensive housing and transportation and cut frivolous expenses.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:36 AM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Do it and don't look back.
posted by davidmsc at 7:36 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you can afford the pay cut I'd say yes, do it. I left a 'stifling, depressing and not a good fit for you' job early this year for a short term gig with a big pay cut at a dream organisation. It felt like madness at the time but I was in a similar position to like_a_friend and life felt very bleak. Eight months later I've been hired into into a fantastic permanent post at a higher level within Dream Org and I'm happy as a clam.

I may never again be at a salary level equivalent to dullsville job but I honestly could not care less. I'm so much happier in just about every aspect of my life and I wish I hadn't left it so long to make the jump.
Edit with caveat: I had solid experience, a decent chunk of savings and a clear plan if things didn't work out, so I would not advise doing this without careful reflection but to answer your question - no, you are not crazy to be considering this.
posted by freya_lamb at 7:44 AM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think it depends on how well you plan on dealing w/the difference in income and if there is a backup plan if everything doesn't work out.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 7:46 AM on October 24, 2014

Hell, I did that for a year even though the part-time position was HALF what I'd make full-time and I was thus forced to take out cash advances on my credit card to make up the difference. It was unsustainable and we had to part ways a year later, but I do not regret it for one single second - I learned stuff and I was worlds happier.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:51 AM on October 24, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers guys! My benefits are covered through my husband's job. We do have a kid in college. I was told that the PT job could possibly become FT in a year but cautioned that there are no guarantees. Yeah, I could give up my lattes and order less from Amazon.
posted by sandra194 at 7:56 AM on October 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

DO IT!!!!!!
posted by katypickle at 8:16 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am the opposite of a risk taker, but especially after seeing your follow-up where your health insurance is covered, I would go for it!
As long as you aren't tanking your finances, and it doesn't sound like you will be, it is very worth it to try things that could make you a lot happier day to day.
posted by rmless at 8:26 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I did this over a decade ago. And I took a larger hit in terms of pay than you describe (although the unionized part-time position I now work does have pretty decent benefits and that was an important consideration.) Some bullet points and pros/cons that I weighed then (and sometimes still do.)

--Then: Stressful VP Ops at an ISP. Worked 50-70 hours a week. Company was sold and I was offered a lateral move to VP Biz Development. Stress would have been the same or more; ditto hours. Prospects for increased pay were moderately positive over time.
--In my life, there has always been tension between a desire to be successful at biz and to be a creative writer/musician. In my case, it's hard to do both because I'm an "all-in" kind of person and the attention/work required to be successful at one limited my efforts towards the other tendency.
--During the transition of ownership I did a lot of soul-searching. I concluded that I had been genuinely successful on the biz side of things. I also thought, being in my early 40s at the time, that if I did not take a shot at the creative pulls on my soul, then I would probably never get around to it. That was the clincher.

--Now: I work 24-30 hours a week and take home a lot less money. However, the job is physical (good for health) and I'm covered for health (crucial.) Most importantly (which I discovered over time as I made the transition) is that I don't have to care in my now "I'm selling you my labor but not my soul" universe. I believe in doing good work and I do do good work, but all the extra crap is not on my dime anymore. It's a huge relief, tbh.

So, you may want to consider these factors:
--Can you live frugally without having a sense of being deprived? Making the change from dropping a couple hundred bucks anytime I wanted to counting pennies took a bit of time for me. But I did it and aside from an occasional wistful moment in which I wish I had more money, I'm happy with the trade-off.
--I buy everything with cash now and have even managed to pay extra on the mortgage for the past 7 years--I'm down to approx 13,000 left and have trimmed about a dozen years off a 30 year mortgage. Big plus because I have no plans to move so in the near future I'll have freed up a significant amount and my cash flow will improve correspondingly.
--I drive a 1998 hoopty. It's well maintained and I'll get a few more years out of it. It's been paid off for a long, long time. Next car will be moderately priced and paid for in cash. I have a car fund set up and drop some money in on a fairly regular basis. You might be surprised at how quickly 20 bucks here and 50 bucks there will add up.

Bottom line: Do you have specific ideas about how this change will affect your lifestyle in both a "spiritual"/social sense as well as on the more practical money side of things? Do you have a specific goal or two that making this change will help you achieve? You'll certainly have to make some adjustments so perhaps writing out a list of pros and cons might help you make this decision from a more detailed p.o.v.

More power to you if you decide to do this; I'm certainly poorer but I am most definitely happier. It's not an easy decision and I wish you the best of luck whichever way you choose!
posted by CincyBlues at 8:28 AM on October 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

I'd do it in a heartbeat.

One nice win-win: so many pleasant frugalities become hella easier on a part-time job. Things like biking to work, or cooking from scratch, or thrift-shopping, or auto maintenance, etc. etc. Bonus: such practices are highly correlated with overall happiness, health (no out-of-pocket medical expenses!), life expectancy, social engagement, etc..

(OK, there might not be any studies on thrifting or auto maintenance. But the old folks queuing outside my local Mennonite thrift store before it opens seem awfully chipper. And a friend told me that on the Sims or whatever that game is, the best technique for making out financially is in a triad, with two people earning a salary and one doing housework. So with you on a part-time job, and your spouse presumably also chipping in on chores, your household might be able to approximate this model.)
posted by feral_goldfish at 8:53 AM on October 24, 2014

I think that would be ideal, if you could afford it.

Not just now, but can you afford to lose $15,000 of income annually, especially as you're nearing retirement?

Sometimes, it's totally worth it, and the money doesn't matter. Sometimes, the money matters.

So do real math on this, but I think I'd want to do it too, if I could afford it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:10 AM on October 24, 2014

Could you find a way to make some money in the extra time that is available with the part time job?
posted by canoehead at 9:16 AM on October 24, 2014

Do it. You have a kid in college, so I would assume you aren't expecting to make any new additions to your family, and you are relatively secure with your husband's job. The only caveat would be, if your husband hates his job, because of course there might be some resentment then. He might feel a greater burden to keep his awful job since all of the benefits would disappear if he left, etc.

But that is a worst case scenario, and unless it applies to you, all signs point to yes. I think you should do this!
posted by misha at 9:16 AM on October 24, 2014

Response by poster: The age factor is another thing I think about too. I'm not some young whipper snapper, I am in my early 50s. I mean, changing jobs (for a part-time job no less) at 50+, sheesh!! However, I don't think about retiring any time soon--or ever! I want to keep working as long as I can.
posted by sandra194 at 9:24 AM on October 24, 2014

You've got the opportunity to take a part-time job that you want and that pays more than a pittance? Unless there's some awful monkey's-paw twist that you haven't mentioned, hell yes take that job.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:25 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I bet there are expenses that will automatically go down in the extra time you have, fwiw. Do it and don't look back!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:07 AM on October 24, 2014

I'm typing this as I wrap up my workday, which as of a few weeks ago is only half time because my job is terrible and doing it full time was causing way too much stress. My only regret is not doing this sooner - people are just not meant to spend the bulk of their walking hours doing work that makes them feel less human. Do it and don't look back!
posted by DingoMutt at 10:17 AM on October 24, 2014

The best job I ever had paid $25000 and was half time. And when I say "best job" I don't mean the job itself was a dream, though I liked what I was doing and the people I worked with. It was enough to get by on (I was single, you aren't but you have another earner), it had benefits (which you again have covered if not by the same means) ans I had SO. MUCH. TIME. to do things I was passionate about.

You have finances covered, you get extra free time for personal projects, AND it's the job of your dreams? I think you'd be crazy to walk away!
posted by solotoro at 11:08 AM on October 24, 2014

I did do this and am happier. A 40 hour job you hate is a miserable life. You will get used to having less income and never think about it after a certain point, probably about 6 months or less.
posted by beckster at 1:29 PM on October 24, 2014

Why not? If you can get a second part time job that pays $15 per hour, you've essentially lost nothing.
posted by cnc at 4:25 PM on October 24, 2014

one more vote for do it!
posted by the twistinside at 4:44 PM on October 24, 2014

You asked if you are crazy to think about doing this. I say you are crazy NOT to think about doing this! When you described your current job as "depressing" and "stifling", I immediately knew that it is not worth it. Basically, you are paying yourself 15 K per year in exchange for being depressed and stifled. If you do that for many years, all the extra money you save by putting the extra 15K per year in a savings account can be very easily transferred into your hospital and rehab and nursing facility as you will likely have illnesses related to this chronic state (heart disease and heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke, on and on).

Take the new job. And revel in the excitement of doing something that makes you feel alive.
posted by bananaskin at 9:35 PM on October 24, 2014

« Older Has anybody seen this photograph? Complication:...   |   Macintosh Power Users -- how do you afford to keep... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.