Become a Savvy Part-Time Professional

By Lynn Berger '84TC, '90TC of the Columbia Career Coaches Network

As we progress in our careers and lives, we begin to truly understand what motivates us and how we can make the best choices. For many of you, this includes the option of part-time work. Why not try to have it all—work and a life?

Questions to consider: Is part-time work right for you? Do you currently have a job that is adaptable to part-time work or do you need to find it or create one? Do you want to reduce your hours at work dramatically or are you simply looking for more flexibility?As you'll discover, there are options and ways to work less and live more.

They include:

  • Telecommuting or telework
  • Compressed work week
  • Permanent part-time work arrangement
  • Flex time
  • Independent contractor or freelance worker
  • Remote worker

According to Gallup, 43 percent of the workforce works remotely part of the time. Today there are 28.5 million part-time professionals in the United States. In order to become a part-time professional you need to explore:

  • What are you going to do?
  • What type of part-time arrangement is best suited for you?
  • Where are you going to work part-time?

Also, practically speaking, can you afford to go part-time? This might be the optimal time to reassess your financial situation and determine basic needs and expectations regarding your financial needs. Whether it is part or full-time work you need to take into consideration your interests, motivated skills, values, and personality style to determine a good career fit.

I have seen people create part-time work situations in unlikely fields such as medicine, law, and senior-level marketing. However, there are certain industries and roles that are more suitable for part-time flexible work, including retail stores, higher education, hospital works, fitness, libraries, and health care. Other roles are suitable for part-time work, like being a virtual assistant, an eldercare service provider, a dog walker, a graphic designer, or an SEO consultant.

I hope this post allows you to start thinking about and exploring whether working in a part-time or flexible way is appropriate and suitable for you.


Lynn Berger '84, '90TC is a career counselor and coach, specializing in helping people make the most of their lives and feel fulfilled. Berger received her Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology and her Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Columbia. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Master Career Counselor, and Professional Certified Coach. Berger has appeared as a guest expert on radio and TV shows nationwide and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsday, The Huffington Post,, and She authored The Savvy Part-Time Professional - How To Land, Create Or Negotiate The Part-Time Job Of Your Dreams.

View the complete list of Columbia Career Coaches Network members.

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