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by SixFigureStart | February 17, 2009

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The new and uncharted employment landscape requires a new set of rules. (Except maybe for "Every man/woman/child for him/herself" -- that one can stay.) So maybe you're going about that search all wrong. Rather than hold out for that perfect position -- which never really existed, even in the best of times, and certainly doesn't exist now that the job pool has shrunk to a puddle -- perhaps it's time to start thinking about working part-time, or on a temporary or contract basis. Although they're not for everyone (and often come stripped of healthcare benefits), these employment options can offer both financial and psychological payback.

1)It's not nothing. As Dr. Seuss' Horton might say, a paycheck's a paycheck, no matter how small. Unless you're toiling as a retail cashier (or editorial assistant), it is bound to be more lucrative than collecting unemployment (a maximum of $405 per week in New York), given that you can snag some decent hours.

2)You'll be out of the house and interfacing with actual people (instead of your dusty computer screen), which should make you feel more productive and give your ego a boost. Plus, those people you meet could later provide unexpected links to business gatekeepers and decision-makers (in the form of a spouse, child, relative or friend).

3)According to a recent CNNMoney.com item, an increasing number of employers are thinking about part-time or telecommuting slots as a way to cut costs. And part-time work in your chosen career field may just land you in a full-time position when the weather brightens.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 25 million people working part-time in August 2008 -- well before the employment contractions began to really kick in. (Of course, many of them chose to work less than full-time due to scheduling conflicts or other concerns.) That same article mentions three companies that are currently hiring part-time staffers: food service specialist Aramark, standardized test coach Kaplan, and Fetch Pet Care (with a roster of 1,500 employees in 37 states). And certain types of temporary agencies (the ones that place creative folk in advertising or marketing) have had a great track record in turning jobs into careers.

Did you find your current job in a roundabout way? Have you recently settled into a temporary slot in the hopes of turning it into something long-term? Let us know!

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault News & Commentary

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