Checklist of career options
A classic, full-time, 9-to-5 job might sometimes be difficult to get or might simply not suit your needs. So what are the career alternatives?
Career options other than full-time employment can get particularly interesting in some life situations. For example, when you are changing your career for something very different and you wonder how to gain your first experience in the new field. Or when you are starting your own business, but you know it will take time till you start earning anything with it. Another situation might be relocation, or a temporary stay, when you either do not have time or a work-permit to perform a standard job. Any time of unemployment when you are worried about building a gap into your work history and remaining without income. A period of focusing on caring for your family. Or simply just having diverse professional interests.
Those all are situations calling for creative solutions. You’ve come to the right website!
Fortunately, the current world of work allows a wide range of options. It might even be difficult to remember them all when you are deciding about your career. For example, what about a portfolio career, a compressed work week, job-sharing or teaming up with other independent associates?
Often it is creative solutions and combinations that can, together, cover your different needs, interests and priorities. Instead of trying to find everything in one job and then compromising, you can fulfil your different needs through different jobs and combine them unconventionally into a fulfilling career. No “job monogamy” required!
Here is a small guide, a checklist for you to go through and see what alternatives people have already created. All the time people are coming up with new ideas, so this is definitely not a final list and you are encouraged to be creative.
Two questions to ask yourself
1. What career setting would you like to achieve?
2. Which options are you open to, on the way there?
The following list can help you design your answers. Choose one or more options per criterion. Your choice can be different for each of the two questions.
Number of jobs at a time:
- 1 job at a time
- 2 parallel jobs
- a portfolio career (multiple part-time jobs based on a set of your skills and interests; includes managing your career yourself)
The temporary or permanent nature of the job:
- one-off job
- occasional / seasonal work
- temporary job
- medium- to long-term job
- permanent job
- paid, billable work
- paid just symbolically or via covering some costs
- unpaid (non-billable, voluntary, charity)
Number of work hours a week:
- classic full-time (usually 35-42 hrs a week)
- part-time: X % (pro rata contract)
- part-time, does not have to be the same amount of work hours every week
Distribution of work hours:
- regular work hours (the same number of hours on each working day)
- compressed work week (number of hours as in full-time but compressed to fewer days)
- shifts (e.g. morning, afternoon, night shifts)
- work days of different lengths (regular)
- flexible hours (depending on you)
- irregular (depending on demand)
- employed with an exclusive contract (banning work for somebody else)
- employed without exclusivity (allowed to work also for somebody else)
- self-employed / on freelance / as an independent professional
- running a business and employing other people
Diversity of work tasks:
- mostly the same type of tasks
- a range of similar tasks
- can be different, unrelated tasks
- mainly solo work
- in job-sharing (one job position filled by 2 or more alternating workers)
- with one collaborator
- in a team of associates, partners, collaborators
- in a team of colleagues
- home office, virtual, portable (not bound to place)
- home office (bound to place)
- telecommuting (alternating between work from home and work in the office)
- in an institution / company workplace
- office sharing
Opening up to several career alternatives will significantly broaden your job-market opportunities.
When an employer likes you and believes in your competence, but they do not have the resources to offer you a full-time position, you might be able to convince them to offer you an alternative contract. In the end, it can help you gain experience, build contacts and fill in a potential gap in your CV, which can be far more efficient than sending dozens of CVs to employers who do not know you. Once you are working in the field, you are more likely to hear of unpublished job opportunities, which is a big majority of the jobs out there.
Some career options are easier to set up as self-employed or as a freelancer (e.g. a portfolio career), others can be done also on an employee basis. If you know what would be convenient for you and you are able to describe it clearly, it is easier to negotiate for it with an employer. The fact that they did not offer you a compressed work week, for example, does not necessarily mean they would mind it. Go ahead and ask!
I would like to hear whether you have found the above list useful. Also, if you can think of some other options missing from the list, do not hesitate to drop me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to update the list with your suggestions.