I have spent 6 of the last 12 years working stable, part-time jobs. I like and dislike the obvious things — more time with my kids, less money, more time for side projects, less career growth, less work stress, more layoff risk, less time in meetings, more time wondering what everyone is saying about me in meetings — but I’ve come to appreciate the broader impact that working part-time has on my life and my work.
I have a hard time doing only one thing. I know this is not true of everyone, but when I work full-time, I’m frustrated that I can’t spend time on personal projects without sacrificing other important parts of my day. However, when I take a break from working full-time to focus on a personal project, I begin to worry more about money and the future (much more so now that I have children). I start seeing reminders of the time value of money everywhere I look.
Working part-time has become a viable third alternative to going all-in on a project by raising money or self-funding. Some personal projects — like making a game — take a lot of time but aren’t good candidates for investment or bootstrapping, because they carry a lot of development risk and aren’t likely to make any money. I’m actually pretty sure the game I’m working on right now won’t make any money, because it’s free.