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Full Time Isn’t Right All the Time

Full-Time Isn’t Right All the Time

For the month of July, Jackrabbit is partnering with Austin Digital Jobs – one of the largest networks of Austin professionals with 30K members – to share our insights on landing a job in the Austin startup community. This 4-part series is called Why Austin Tech Startups Aren’t Hiring You: Counter-Intuitive Insights to Land Your Next Job and can be found on our blog or by subscribing to ADJ’s TGIF newsletter – a thoughtfully curated list of links relevant to job seekers, career refiners, and hiring folks alike.

Full-Time Isn’t Right All the Time is the 2nd blog post in this series.

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At Jackrabbit, we’ve noticed that job seekers tend to default their job search to only “full-time” positions and often ignore postings with the words “part-time” or “contractor.” We believe this default state is a missed opportunity to piecemeal and customize your career and to get your foot in the door for a more permanent full-time gig.

Freelance as Freedom

So, you don’t have a full-time job. I’d like to tell you about an exciting opportunity. Completely gimmick free and available for an unlimited time. Whenever you want it… really! Most people don’t realize that by leveraging project-based work and piecemealing your “day job,” you have the ability to create the lifestyle that you want for yourself. In today’s professional environment, especially due to new technology and changing attitudes, work is becoming increasingly fragmented and decentralized which makes freelancing a viable “full-time” option.    

Of course, freelancing and contracting can be scary AF. You have to find your own clients, work isn’t always consistent, there are no benefits or paid vacations, and no one is stocking the fridge with watermelon-orange-pomegranate La Croix. It can be hard, but, at the same time, you get to be your own boss and call the shots. Like Snoop says, “Pay tha Cost to be da Boss.” (Rap quotes are prolific here at the Jackrabbit office.)

The upside to piecemealing your career can be pretty dern great. As an example, take Jackrabbit contractor and sometimes digital nomad, Caroline. While she recognizes the challenges of being her own boss, her lifestyle is also more flexible and fluid. She has the freedom to choose what companies and products she wants to work with and on, is constantly expanding her network by collaborating with different organizations, and gets paid for every hour that she works. In terms of lifestyle, Caroline doesn’t have to be at work by 9 AM (but let’s be real… it’s more like 10 AM in the startup world) and can take her mornings slow at home drinking coffee and jamming to my girl Norah Jones. On the other hand, she can wake up early and knock out work on that inspiring contractor project and have the rest of her day free to herself. Lastly, she can go on vacation with her bae whenever she wants.

The Magic of “Trial Periods”

What if, instead of piecemealing your day-to-day, you want the stability and consistency of a full-time job? So that’s what you look for on job postings and, if you see the label “contract” or “part-time,” you swipe past it, no time to waste. You might not be wasting your time, though. Hear me out. A lot of full-time jobs at startups actually start out as part-time or contract positions that roll into something more significant.

There are some awesome benefits to taking on a part-time gig while continuing to look for something full-time. First, you still have the flexibility to job hunt while also getting paid in the interim. This can help reduce stress regarding financial sustainability and make it easier for you to choose the right job – not just accepting the next one that comes along for the sake of keeping food on the table (mmm ramen). Secondly, since you’re not on bench time, you’re continuing to practice, learn, and apply skills that will increase your chance of impressing your current part-time employer or a future one. Most importantly, part-time gigs give companies a chance to “try before they buy” to see if your skillset and personality is a good fit for what they’re looking for. (It’s also equally important that you get a good idea of the environment you’re walking into and if it’ll make you happy to be there full-time.) As a bonus, having already done work for a company can give you extra negotiation leverage if they decide to extend a full-time offer.

Let me tell you about how this worked out with Jackrabbit’s very own, Nina Ho. When Nina returned from a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, she was looking for contract work to experiment with the idea of being a digital nomad. Through a personal connection on the team, she was brought on as a part-time contractor to fill an abstract role: building relationships in the community and also promoting our Labs department.

Her initial trial period was one week long with clear deliverables, and she met them all. Her subsequent trial period was 2-4 weeks, and she continued killing it. So, we transitioned Nina into a contract-to-hire position over the next three months in which she excelled at and started to bring value to Jackrabbit in ways that we didn’t even know we needed. After her 3-month trial, Nina was able to sculpt her own role and responsibilities within Jackrabbit. She now heads marketing and business development, is a superstar brand ambassador, and continues to facilitate Labs.

(Nina established our partnership with Austin Digital Jobs and is the reason I’m even writing this article. We’re getting meta here, people.)

Key Takeaways

Long story short, don’t disregard part-time or contractor positions during your job hunt. There are countless benefits to contracting and doing part-time work, including the ability to customize your career and lifestyle. Even if you’re looking for the security and consistency of a full-time position, you may find that all you need is a foot in the door to prove your value.

If you haven’t already, check out our first blog post in the Why Austin Tech Startups Aren’t Hiring You: Counter-Intuitive Insights to Land Your Next Job series called… 

The Entrepreneur Paradox: Why Startups Actually Care About Your Side Hustle

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Author: Alex Mitchell is an Agile Project Manager at Jackrabbit. He spends his nights and weekends running Music Meets Video, listening to feminist indie-punk, and cuddling with his pug-child Sallie-Anne.

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