For decades, landing a full-time job has been considered the ultimate goal. After all, such a feat comes with numerous advantages, including financial stability and a steady career trajectory.
That said, many are now taking stock of alternative modes of work that can support their desired lifestyles by offering more flexibility. What is more, many companies are finally opting to make such alternatives available to their workforce, hence providing them with more control over their work routines.
Regardless of what stage you may be in your career, it’s only fair to consider what you want to gain out of it, as well as the expectations and desires for your working life. To help you consider what these may be, below we have highlighted the pros and cons of full-time employment.
The pros of full-time employment
1. You earn a steady income
Full-time employment contracts include an obligation to pay you an agreed, protected and legally binding amount every month (or, in some cases, weekly or bimonthly). Your employer is also obligated to pay legally mandated tax and pension contributions and honor any bonuses or commission payments earned within agreed fiscal pay dates.
This financial security is one of the most attractive elements of working full time — it provides professional and financial peace of mind and the ability to accurately budget in the long term.
2. You’re entitled to paid leave
A full-time contract also requires employers to provide paid leave.
Although this varies from country to country and employer to employer, there are minimum mandated leave periods that employers must offer. Some will offer more paid leave, dependent on a multitude of factors such as time served with the company, seniority or more bespoke contract deals with employees.
The knowledge that you have secured, paid time away from work is a vital component of how employers are trying to manage a healthy work–life balance. Workers both deserve and need time off to recoup, recover, rest and relax. It’s regenerative, and the knowledge that your job is secure only adds to the effectiveness of a rest period.
3. You receive more social security benefits
Employers are again obligated to support employees with their welfare, and much of this will be through social security benefits.
Although these can vary, at the very least employers will offer sick pay and set return-to-work policies for those who have extended periods of time away from work. Employers can also offer a range of other benefits such as childcare vouchers, increased sick leave pay and other welfare perks.
Most importantly, full-time employers know that almost every eventuality is looked after, including unexpected periods of time away from the office due to illness or injury. Again, this sort of support is an unheralded positive to full-time workers.
4. You work a fixed schedule
Full-time employment generally provides set working structures, such as set hours worked per week or shift patterns. This differs to freelance or contractor working schedules which are typically project-based, short term or at the behest of a client. Full-time work in this regard provides set working schedules and rigorous commitment expectations.
5. You grow your career
For any employee with one eye on the future, most full-time work offers a pathway to career advancement. This is achieved both through proximity to senior members of the team who can foster development, and internal training courses, L&D programs and mentor relationships.
6. You enjoy more perks
Perks are the cherry on top of the employment cake, and they come in all shapes and sizes. They could be anything from discount commuting costs to gym memberships, cultural days out to a company car, a company phone to high street discounts, and social events to partnerships with brands.
Perks are uniquely powerful in attracting people to full-time work and are a sign of how much an employer values your time and labor. It’s a clear reward for your hard work.
7. You have a steady routine
Having a fixed schedule also means having a steady routine. For some, this might not sound as appealing, but for those who enjoy following a weekly program, it is an ideal scenario, as it allows you to build a regimen, create habits and take on extracurriculars such as sports and hobbies that require commitment and consistency.
By having a full-time job, it’s easier to plan around your working hours, establish daily practices and formulate a lifestyle that is compatible with a fixed schedule. All in all, this provides a solid foundation and can help you maintain a healthy work–life balance.
8. You’ll have greater career satisfaction
Having a full-time job may require you to commit not only to your current role but also to a career trajectory. As you gather more experience and spend more time within a job, you might start feeling a sense of accomplishment and progression, especially if it is a job that allows for advancement and development.
What is more, working full-time within a role and company that you truly enjoy can keep you motivated, passionate and committed to what you do, thus keeping you satisfied with the career you have chosen for yourself.
9. You are part of a team
One of the biggest benefits of working full time is the opportunity to be part of a team. This might not sound as appealing if you have a preference for independent work, but even if that is the case, you may still benefit from having colleagues who can offer you support, guidance as well as a funny anecdote by the watercooler.
For all the flexibility and autonomy freelancing can give you, it can also be somewhat isolating at times. Meanwhile, a full-time gig can give you a sense of belonging and shared camaraderie with your colleagues, whilst also opening up doors for mutual projects, collaborations and innovation — which are far easier to occur with more hands on deck.
10. You have a wider professional network
By working within a certain industry full time, you will inevitably develop a strong network of professional contacts. From coworkers to external partners, your job can bring you in contact with numerous individuals, organizations and companies.
This network could propel your career forward, allowing you to pursue new opportunities and projects as you move forward in your professional journey.
The cons of full-time employment
1. You may find it difficult balancing your personal life
Full-time employment is all-encompassing. Considering we spend two-thirds of our waking life at work, finding the balance between a productive and effective working life and time away from the grind can be difficult. This can lead to overwork or, at worst, burnout.
2. You may become too comfortable in your routine
It’s no exaggeration to say that routine is the enemy of full-time work. The inherent security of full-time work can lead to employees taking their foot off the gas — which can lead to a dispassionate workforce, a lack of drive or desire to progress, and an uninspired career.
3. Your résumé may lack versatility
Although commitment to a company isn’t a bad thing, résumés are designed to show your versatility, adaptability and passion for whatever industry you work in. Your résumé needs to show your vision, and, as such, having a long tenure at one employer can be a sign of a lack of energy to progress or advance your career.
4. You may experience more work-related stress
Committing to working for one employer full time can in some regards lead to an increase in work-related stress. It’s unavoidable that full-time staff become emotionally invested in their work — it’s a natural state when so much time and energy is spent providing for that employer.
As such, stress levels will rise in tandem with increased workloads, responsibility or pressure. It can, and should, be managed by both teams and management, but it can be overwhelming if left to fester.
5. You may find it harder to find new jobs
There’s a school of thought that says it’s easier to find a job when you have a job. However, job searching takes a lot of time, effort, strategizing and patience: all things that become harder and more difficult to commit to when you’re in a full-time job and every professional moment is committed to an employer.
Plus, you may find it difficult to leave your job due to loyalty. This is objectively no bad thing, but when the time comes to pulling the trigger and exiting that company, you may find it very difficult to part ways.
6. You can’t choose your projects
Although there’s no formula for full-time working schedules or workloads, the employers that offer full-time contracts generally speaking have set hierarchies, structures and workloads that are meticulously managed.
This means that, compared to freelancers or contracted workers, you will not get to choose where you apply your skills. This can be, for some, frustrating and limiting.
7. You could get bored
Boredom is one of the most impactful hidden negatives of full-time working.
It is bred from routine and a lack of engagement in your work, and can, left unchecked, hamstring your career. Most critically, it makes you a less productive worker, which will reflect in your ongoing performance management, analysis and employee return on investment. It effectively makes you a poor worker.
8. You don’t have as much flexibility
Perhaps one of the most considerable drawbacks of a full-time job is the lack of control you will have over your schedule. Some might enjoy knowing where they will be from nine to five, Monday to Friday, but if you relish having flexibility and freedom to shape your days as you want, then a full-time gig might not be as pleasant for you.
Meanwhile, as a freelancer, contractor or part-time professional, you can be your own boss and have more authority over your day-to-day, deciding when to work, and where, as well as when to take time off.
9. You could find yourself in a toxic work environment
Being part of a supportive, fun and collaborative team is an ideal scenario for anyone who works full-time. However, there is also the possibility of finding yourself in a toxic work environment.
An absent leadership, competitive colleagues, a heavy workload and a lack of work–life balance could be just some of the reasons that could make working in such a place a highly stressful and unpleasant experience.
As a result, this could have a major impact on your job performance, morale and mental health. In this instance, alternative modes of work that do not encompass such elements might seem far more ideal.
10. You’ll be less willing to take risks
As you settle into your full-time job and the lifestyle that comes along with it, it is normal to get comfortable in your routine. With financial security and stability becoming a priority, however, this could also mean that you are less likely to pursue opportunities and goals that may require you to step outside your comfort zone.
Whether that is an advanced degree or a new career prospect, having a full-time job can make deciding to take such steps more difficult, even if they could signify professional growth and prosperity.
Take a long hard look at what you do, analyze this alongside what sort of work–life balance you want, then craft a strategic job search that takes stock of what you want from your work.
Research how colleagues within the industry work and what structures and contracts work for them.
If you have any doubts about full-time work, the best thing to do is communicate with those who can help you: your employer, prospective employer or recruiter.
You’d be surprised at how supportive and forgiving business owners and hiring managers can be when confronted with incontrovertible proof a full-time contract — with all the attributable working expectations — works, or doesn’t work, for you.
At the end of the day, employers want happy, engaged and productive staff. Having a candid conversation about whether full-time work is right for you is necessary.
Can you think of any pros and cons of full-time employment? Do you prefer holding a full-time or part-time job? Let us know in the comments section below!
Originally published on March 17, 2017.