Should You Switch to Part-Time?
Are you a full-time employee who has been starting to feel like living the part-time work life? The change is not something to do on a whim or take lightly, but if you are considering this career move, here are four questions to ask yourself to be sure this switch is smart and the right one for you.
Are You Stressed Out?
Stress can be a messunsplash.com
Most people have some degree of stress, and some are more stressed-out than others, even to the point that they know something's gotta give. According to Investopedia, "Study after study has revealed how perennially tired and 'worn out' many full-time workers feel."
Your mental and physical health are a major priority, so perhaps a shift in the way you work can alleviate the anxiety and pressure. Fewer work hours can give you much-needed time to decompress and take time to care for yourself properly.
As Lifehack notes, "You'll have more time to rest your body and mind and notice improvements in your immune system, digestion, circulation, and other key signs of physical health compared to an exhausted full-time worker."
With your newfound energy and happiness, you can put your full self into your part-time gig.
Do You Want More Time for Other Things?
Make time for hobbies and other interests unsplash.com
For some, it's all work and no play… and they like it that way. But for the rest, there is little, if any time for pursuing hobbies, fitness, family time, travel, or even a second job. A part-time job will free up a good deal of your time to devote to these other areas of interest you have put on the backburner.
According to Wise Ones, "With the ability to control your own time comes the freedom to decide what to do with it." Flex Jobsadds, "A part-time position will allow you to have better work-life balance."
Do You Want to Advance Your Education?
It is never to late to go back to school unsplash.com
You may enjoy your job, but perhaps you want to advance to the next level, which requires more training or schooling. A full-time job may not afford you the time to get in those hours or earn that degree.
Wise Ones notes, "Having more time allows you to develop personal skills or even pursue some further education." And as per Flex Jobs, "When you work part-time, you'll have extra time in your day to take classes to add onto your education and apply for the position you really want or earn a potential promotion."
After learning more and advancing yourself, you may wish to get back to full-time work with more knowledge and skills under your belt. If part-time is still for you, consider your education beneficial for your status and soul.
Are You Planning to Phase Out of the Workforce Soon?
Retirement is on the horizon unsplash.com
If retirement is on the horizon, switching to part-time work before making the drastic change from working all the time to not at all can make the transition smooth and steady. You can take this time to get settled into your new lifestyle, get back into family life at home, meet other retirees in the area, or plan for what you will do during this new phase of your life.
On the flip side, you may want to go back to work after you have been retired for a while. Perhaps life out of the workforce does not fulfill you like you thought it would. As per Wise Ones, "For people over the age of 55 years, being part of an organization is also about using experience and knowledge, being with other people, interacting and socialization. It's about mental and social health, as well as financial well-being."
If money is not a primary issue and you can afford to work part-time, and you have answered these questions to your satisfaction and with confidence, now is the time for part-time!
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!