At Work

Work Like a Full-Time Employee…Whether You Are One or Not

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This title may sound odd to you regardless of whether you work full- or part-time hours. If you’re working part time, this message is partly for you. Perhaps you are already working full time. You may be thinking, “How does this apply to me? I’m already doing that.” This is for you as well.

Reflecting on my own work over the past months, I have realized some of my work tendencies as an employee as well as some changes in those tendencies.

For a bit of context, I’ve been working part time for a local nonprofit for over two years. I started out working 20 hours a week, but just recently began working 24 hours a week. Additionally, due to my spring class schedule, those 24 hours were scheduled in three eight-hour increments.

Although I am not working full-time hours, these three days notably influence the way I feel about my work. As I began to reflect on how this impacted my approach toward work, it elicited some curious reflections.

Attitude Tendencies of Part-Time Work(ers)

Caveat: This is not meant to presume that you work this way if you’re a part-time employee. On the other side of the coin, this does not presume that you are immune to these things if you work full time. While these are largely drawn from self-reflection, I believe they have far-reaching application to part- and full-time workers alike. 

1. Not “All In” (i.e., Not Fully Dedicated)

Personally, before my attitude in relation to my job began to change, I did not feel very invested at work. While I did value the work our organization accomplished and I aligned with its mission and vision, I did not feel as personally invested in my work as I could tell coworkers of mine were.

But here’s an interesting catch: most of my coworkers are also employed part time. 

Meaning, I cannot attribute their positive attitudes to full-time status or salaried pay. Somewhere along the line they had to choose to invest themselves wholeheartedly in their work (and to continue to do so week after week).

Our dedication cannot be tied to how our work makes us feel. If this is the barometer, we will have a difficult time working with any consistency. Dedication to one’s work is a conscious, intentional choice.

2. Lower Level of Ownership in Tasks

This tendency can lead to shoddy work. When we have a diminished sense of ownership in a particular task, we perform it with less energy, drive, grit, and professionalism.

Think back to a college course that you just loved, or perhaps a different job that you had where you worked on a project you were simply jazzed about. My guess is that if you had a greater connection to what you was required of you, the outcome was better than it would’ve been without that deep sense of ownership.

Such is the case in the workplace. When we don’t feel invested in our work, we are prone to do little more than the bare minimum (and that at a less-than-excellent level, more than likely).

Working with the proper mindset (i.e., one that is bought-in and fully invested) ought to drive us to work with excellence in all things—producing work that honors our companies and brings glory to God.

3. Less Willing to Make Sacrifices

This is something that I have recognized in myself on multiple occasions.

Working on the weekend? 

Running and extra errand?

Staying late today?

…No thanks, these things are expected of the full-time employees (of which I am not).

False.

(Well, false in that it’s not only expected of the full-time employees.)

Sacrificing personal preferences is simply a part of living in the real world. We all have ideals, and sometimes work rubs up against those ideals.

A faithful employee will certainly have healthy boundaries—and should be compensated fairly—but the occasional meeting that runs late or weekend event you need to help run is something that (whether explicit or not) is essentially inherent in one’s job description.

4. Role Believed to Be Less Valuable

Lastly, the number of hours we work is not directly correlated to our worth in the workplace. (Full-time workers need to hear this too, lest we cave to the temptation to inappropriately elevate our statuses in the workplace.)

None of us should inappropriately elevate or denigrate our statuses in the workplace. Each team member has value, and each role is important to the adequate functioning and holistic flourishing of the company.

The key thing to remember when such thoughts arise is Paul’s teaching on the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12. Just as the Body of Christ is made up of many members with distinctive roles (and distinctive times and amounts where their uses are required), so does each company or organization have many roles filled by various members.

Your role is unique within your company or organization. You have been chosen specifically for the tasks you have been given. Even if your current job title does not align with what you hope to advance into down the road, where you are right now is valuable and important.

Regardless of the hours we work—even if we don’t “work” what would be considered a “typical” job—let us work well to the glory of God, fully dedicated to the tasks at hand, taking ownership of the work of our hands, being ever willing to make sacrifices, and believing all along the way that our unique roles hold great value.

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