You have only to look about the neighborhood to note how many women are employed, many of them part time, many of them on jobs that not long ago were the monopoly of men.
Here is a sampling from my own acquaintance. The list can be duplicated in thousands of others, and the categories of work range from catching stray dogs for the local pound to feeding information into computers.
Mrs. Gertrude Johnston is a two-day bookkeeper-secretary at the Ballet School. Mrs. Fred Glennie is a bank teller on the late Friday afternoon and Saturday morning shifts. Mrs. Henry Lichtman, who served her apprenticeship piloting youngsters to school in a car pool, is driving a taxi for several hours a day at her convenience. Mrs. Samuel Stewart, who for years acted in or coached plays put on by her PTA, her children’s Sunday School, and the neighborhood recreation center as a volunteer, is now the paid director for several amateur dramatic groups whose Thespian offerings add a tidy sum to their treasuries.
Helen Noland, once a volunteer worker at Symphony headquarters, is a paid secretary there for six hours a day—while her children are at school. Betty Day, who won an award for her costume jewelry at the state craft exhibit two years ago, has set up a room in her basement to fill orders that may, in time, cause her to expand her hobby into a full-time enterprise.
Rosamond Marks works evenings at the branch library. Virginia Argonne, who graduated from college with a degree in physics which she briefly put to practical use before marriage, is a part-time researcher for an electronics laboratory. Phyllis O’Donnell is on call as a dental hygienist.
Five of these women have growing children as moms. One is a widow living with a married daughter. Two are divorced. One, who is 55, retired a year earlier after working for 30 years for an insurance company.
Why Work Part Time?
An obvious reason for working part time is of course to bring in extra dollars. If you are a widow or a divorcee you may wish to work to augment a set income. If you’re retired from regular work, you may find your pension inadequate. If you are married, you may want to supplement your husband’s earnings, to pay off debts, to meet the expense of illness, to give your children educational or cultural advantages, to improve home conditions, to build a fund for travel, to accumulate a larger nest egg for old age, to assist married children over a hump.
What were once the luxuries of the rich are today regarded widely as necessities. They add up to the higher standard of living which is the expectancy of the average American family.
For some moms there are deeper psychological reasons for working part time. Some feel frustrated. Their children are either self-sufficient or on the way to becoming so. Home responsibilities demand less of their attention and energy.
Some are lonely or bored. Social and club activity has lost its appeal for them. Some have taken a long look at themselves and have decided that this is the time to revive a youthful goal that was abandoned.
The therapeutic value of work cannot be underestimated. The sense of accomplishment can, and usually does, bring with it a buoyant self-confidence that can do wonders for the personality and character. More than one mother has discovered that her parental authority carries greater conviction because her contribution has taken on a material dimension, that her husband, too, regards her individuality with greater respect.
Younger married women and moms, especially those who were well schooled, who always planned to return to work, don’t wait until their children grow up. Once the youngest child is settled in school, they may dust off their knowledge and skills for part-time job which will keep them active and prepare them for the day when they can work full time.
Planning Your Program For Action
Hours Can Be Flexible
Moms work part time at all hours of the day and evening. Naturally the woman who still has family responsibilities, no matter in what degree, prefers outside employment only when she can, without compunction, be away from home. Recognizing this, many employers try to arrange their schedules so that their part-time help can work between the hours of 9 and 3.
Then, there are many who work only on certain days of the week. The weekend peak demands of retail stores offer opportunities, as do libraries and service and recreation industries. Other employers who have peak periods on certain days or nights include banks, computer service organizations, and the post office, as examples. Self-employed professionals and businessmen often need assistance for part of a week or month. Self-employed women can fix their own hours, consistent with the availability of their clients. Some who operate out of their own homes can have the greatest latitude for regulating their working hours.
Thus, if you have the desire to work, you can find things to do to fit your own lime availabilities.
Many moms, who work during the late afternoon or evening, must depend on the cooperation of children to take over the household chores and a husband who will share responsibilities. Often mother’s part-time job gives the children greater opportunity to know their father.
Particularly when there is no urgent need to work, there must be family cooperation, lest there be inconveniences for which the job does riot compensate.
Consider These Part Time Jobs for Moms and Women
The last census revealed that moms, throughout the land, were working part time in every major industry and occupation group. Naturally, most of them found employment in the categories with which women are customarily associated. But there were jobs, too, that only fairly recently have been opened to them—such as bank tellers, taxi drivers, postal clerks, police women, computer operators, economists, and architects.
A far from complete list of part-time jobs requiring a degree of skill ranging from moderate to proficient, and which presupposes some special training or education, includes:
- Beauty operators
- Continuity writers
- Copy readers
- Dental hygienists
- Editors and assistants
- Laboratory technicians
- Office workers
- Office equipment operators
- Market researchers
- Practical nurses
- Real estate and insurance agents
Note that this does not include any of the skilled operators employed in manufacturing plants such as bindery and garment workers, machine technicians and operators, for whom part-time jobs are also available.
On the professional and semi professional level, moms and women are working part time as:
- Advertising copywriters
- Hospital instructors of students and practical nurses
- Part-time society reporters or “stringers” for the wire services
- Psychiatric and child-care consultants
- Publicity directors
- Registered nurses
- Social service workers
- Window dressers
Part-time personnel are especially in demand for this partial list of unskilled jobs because of the nature of the work and the frequent peak periods:
- Check room attendants
- File clerks
- Attendants for laundries and dry cleaning plants
- Elevator operators
- Food service workers, such as cashiers, waitresses, hostesses, counter women, checkers
- Inexperienced saleswomen
- Companions for the elderly or infirm
- Wedding counselors
- Personal shoppers
- Dancing teachers
- Part-time mothers
- Receiving clerks
- School lunchroom assistants
These represent a sampling only of the common jobs. The unique ones come about through special circumstances, most likely a woman’s ingenuity in discovering it, or developing it out of her experience.
The Older Woman
If you are in the over-forty bracket, you may be fearful that your age will be held against you. To be sure, many employers still harbor a prejudice against hiring older women, but that prejudice is losing its sting, you’ll be glad to know.
A report issued by the National Association of Manufacturers points out that the technological revolution has reduced the physical demands that formerly favored younger workers. 90% of the employers surveyed reported that older workers are “equal to or better than” younger ones in work performance, attendance, accident avoidance, and attitude to ward their jobs.
A survey released by the Woman Bureau of the U. S. Department of Labor revealed there were more part-time teachers and part-time service workers in hotels and restaurants in the 45—55 age group than in the 25—35 age group, and almost as many saleswomen. 15% of the moms employed part time in all categories were more than years old, and the number of this older age group working in hotels and restaurants was comparable to those between 25 and 35. In fact, women 45 and over account for more than one-half the growth in female part-time employment during the last decade.
Studies of training programs made by the Women’s Bureau of the U. S. Department of Labor show that older women, who had to be especially trained, performed proficiently in a variety of jobs attached to office work, institutional housekeeping, industrial and commercial sewing, food service, electronics and other industries, to say nothing of saleswomen, beauty operators, and the nursing and hospital occupations.
The mind’s capacity to absorb new learning has no time limit.
Analyzing Your Capabilities
Before you begin your job search, you must ask yourself a number of questions the answers to which will help you develop a plan of action.
- What can you do?
- What would you like to do?
- Are you ready to perform? If not, can you prepare yourself by yourself, or do you need a refresher course, or some special training?
- Does your community offer opportunities for the work you could do, or will you have to channel your efforts to other work? Does it offer opportunity for further education and training?
- Be prompt on the job?
- See a job through?
- Take orders, probably from people younger than yourself?
- Work with other people?
- Work irregular hours?
- Work without supervision?
Promptness is a must. So is the responsibility to finish whatever work you undertake, In all probability you would be employed to help clean up a backlog of work, to help during peak periods, to supplement the work of a regular staff which is too busy to answer a myriad of questions and to watch your progress step by step, or to take over some special task.
Few moms, who have been away from work for some years, have been able to keep up the skills of their previous employment. If you can’t retrain yourself, take a refresher course, usually available at the Y or evening schools. You may feel yourself prepared with old techniques, but often it is necessary to take instruction to meet new requirements, to operate new equipment, or learn new methods and information that have developed over the years.
- Do you really want to return to your old work?
- Would you prefer to try your hand at something else?
- Is there some latent ambition you have always wanted to fulfill?
- Have you furthered a talent, a hobby, an interest, a study, that you would like to put to paying use?
- Do you feel that the new dimensions that have been added to American life while you have been raising your family might offer some intriguing possibilities that were unlikely when you were younger?
- Or, have you had no experience or training and are afraid you can’t qualify for anything that is worth while?
Your answers to these questions will help you determine how to approach your search for work.
Your Hidden Assets
Don’t underrate your assets. Every wife and mother has worked long hours, seven days a week, for years without pay. She has been a cook, a nurse, a bookkeeper, a chauffeur, a seamstress, an interior decorator. She has been secretary to her husband and family, composing her own letters. She has been a manager and an adjudicator of complaints.
She has operated a nursery, has tutored her children through grammar and high school and enlarged her own horizons as she encouraged her children’s interest in their studies.
Culture has been given a new emphasis in recent years. So has science and engineering. The crafts have attained new status. Cooking has taken on new fashion.
Don’t underrate your assets. Consider them all as you study the openings you know about and as you try to ferret out the ones that lie beneath the surface.
What Will It Cost You to Work?
What you earn will not be clear cash. You’ll pay taxes. Moreover, your salary, added to your husband’s, may raise the income tax bracket. If you have very small children you might need to hire extra household help.
There are other expenses to bear in mind—clothes, travel costs, lunches, and even the cost of the coffee break. Using your own car will be an added expense. Waiting for buses can be irritating. Don’t overlook the traveling
lime to and from work. The job may pay for six hours, but there will be portal to portal time. So, you must balance the anticipated income against the anticipated additional costs.
Vocational Counseling Can Be Helpful
There is one final point of preparation, especially for the woman who still is uncertain that there is a place for her.
You may need outside assistance to help your search, particularly if the opportunities in your community are limited, or you have had no previous experience, or can’t decide the kind of work you can do. By all means seek guidance, as do many people.
Vocational counseling for adults is a fairly new calling. The nearest office of the state employment service usually offers this service, or can advise you where you can receive it. Some employment agencies have counselors, as do many colleges and alumni associations.
Be prepared with a comprehensive analysis of your experience, abilities, interests, and attainable goals. The counselor is trained to help you scrutinize your background and skills in relation to what might be available, knows the employment possibilities and requirements, and furthermore has the advantage of being familiar with the problems of many others in circumstances similar to yours.
No matter what the level of your education or training you may find that jobs such as clerks, cashiers, and waitresses offer the only immediate opportunities. If you are not content with such work, you probably will have to acquire some special skill.
Here the counselor can help direct you to the kind of training that is readily available for likely future openings. Aptitude or vocational tests may be suggested in an effort to discover capabilities that will lead to openings you would not have thought of yourself.
If you are toying with an idea to develop an occupation within your home, a guidance counselor may help you decide whether there will be enough demand for the product you make or the service you want to give to justify the attempt, and, if so, suggest where you may obtain further training, sources of supply, information on licensing or regulations, advice on marketing and promotion—even pitfalls to avoid.
Weeks may elapse between the time you decide to look for part-time job and the day you set out on your first job. Much of the period will be spent in getting ready—analyzing your capabilities, improving your skills, developing new ones, making certain that home responsibilities will be met, that your appearance will help you qualify.
The rest of the time will be used in a systematic search for the job you most want to do. For that you will need the full measure of your intelligence, your ingenuity, and your personal salesmanship.
These, in the main, are the items that enter into your self-inventory as you prepare to discover what the part-time working world holds for you.
Finding a job could be as easy as pushing a button—provided you are able to put your finger immediately on a working button. It is more likely that you will have to do some careful planning and some patient seeking if you are to find just the job you want. The purpose of a job-finding plan is to help you concentrate your efforts where they are most likely to pay off. Thereafter, the secret of success is in continued exposure—the more the better. Lucky finds are usually made by people prepared to recognize them.
Where to Look for a Job
Job seeking falls into five main categories:
- Newspaper ads
- Temporary help services
- Direct applications
- Passing the word—informing your friends and neighbours that you are looking for work.
Temporary help services are explained here. The rest are covered all in this article. The temporary help services, which render a contribution of their own, will be covered in the succeeding section.
Many employers look to newspaper ads to bring forth enough applicants for them personally to pick the individuals for the work at hand.
The ad may give the firm name and address, or may request a letter ad dressed to a box number. It may or may not cite age requirements, salary, hours of work, and qualifications. It may offer inducements such as employee benefits.
Here is a sampling of classified part-time openings listed in a recent single issue of a newspaper that reaches about a half million readers.
“Dance Teacher—attractive young ladies. No experience necessary. Training free.”
“Women 18 to 50 for counter work.”
“Cashiers—part time only. $50—60 week and meals.”
“File Clerks—two qualified young ladies for credit department. Must like detailed work 9 A.M. to 3 P.M.”
“Key Punch Operators”
“Poodle Groomer for Dog Beauty Salon.”
“Musicians, all ladies preferred, nites. Very pleasant atmosphere.”
Secretarial listings asked for:
“A mature, married woman, in one-man small office. Hours to be arranged as convenient. Typing necessary, rusty shorthand acceptable.”
“… hospital in dept. of hematology. Its.8:30 to 12:30. Applicants should type minimum of 50 words a min. and have knowledge of Dictaphone and medical terminology.”
“… a suburban law office—full or part time. Salary open. Legal experience unnecessary.”
“… a church office. Shorthand not necessary but must be able to transcribe from discs. Age 21 to 45.’
Among typists, wants were for:
“Several openings for accurate typists, 45 wpm required. Minimum 4 hours per day between 8:30 and 5 or 3 days a week. Reply giving education, past experience, salary and telephone number where you may be reached for personal interview.”
“… a suburban office … 4 hours daily, mornings, for approximately 10 weeks. Must be able to transcribe from a dictating machine.”
“… experience on electric. High hourly rate.”
Radio dispatchers were needed, Monday through Friday, 4 P.M. to 8 P.M. “Experience not necessary but helpful.” The “dispatchers” would take calls and then would locate their clients, to give them messages or to tell them where they were needed. Experience with a telephone answering service would be helpful.
“X-Ray Technicians—full or part time.”
One ad was inserted by a doctor, another cited several openings at a hospital.
“Lab Technicians”—one ad specified experience in bacteriology or blood bank.
“Occupational therapist in psychiatric dept. of large, modern, air-conditioned hospital. . . . Desire person with some specific training or experience.”
There were a number of openings for switchboard operators ranging from apartment houses to the telephone order board of a large mercantile house which offered “working schedules to fit your needs, training with pay and discount on purchases,” as well as other employee benefits.
The telephone company itself sounded an urgent call to former operators:
“Have you been thinking of returning to work???
Could your family use a second income???
Are your children reaching the age where you must plan for future college expenses???”
If so, they invited a quick visit for an interview, offered employee benefits and pointed out that “part-time job is available in most locations.”
There were a number of ads not only for registered nurses but also for practical nurses, in hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors’ offices—”Hours to suit.”
The quota of openings for saleswomen included telephone solicitors who could work from home or from a central location, saleswomen for large stores and specialty shops, ladies to sell frozen foods to restaurants and institutions, to sell cosmetics, both tried and new, to demonstrate table appointments and cooking ware, to sell literature and real estate.
There were vacancies for seamstresses to make draperies and bedspreads, for alterations, an artist to touch up portraits for a trade publication, a company librarian, a copy editor for a trade publication.
Note that these ads were directed both at the women with at least a minimum proficiency as well as those with specific experience and higher education. In the main they told of the lobs commonly available in the skilled field.
News Stories as Job Leads
Aside from the classified columns, news stories can offer clues for work. Look Into a project being launched in your community, a special campaign, the opening of a new company, or the expansion of an old one.
Ads Can Be Productive
Co through the classified pages of the telephone directory and telephone or write the likely concerns and agencies that may be able to use you. Always inform them of the hours and days you can work. Or, armed with a résumé (which will be discussed later), make a personal visit, canvassing first those that are closest to your home.
Check also with the Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade for leads.
An investment In an ad may be worth while. If you have highly specialized skill or training, place your ad in the section of the paper where it Is likely to receive the attention of the particular people you want to reach. An investment counselor will probably never look at the classified columns, but in the course of perusing the financial section he may notice that an experienced reports analyst is available. An advertising executive or TV station official may look twice at an ad by a lay-out artist market researcher, copy or continuity writer that appears on the television page.
When you place your own ad, state the kind of job first and then follow with “part time.” Be explicit as to the hours or days you can work. Briefly give the essentials of your background.
If your first ad doesn’t bring results, be patient. Remember you are trying to match your desire with someone else’s interest or need. It may be necessary to insert several ads at intervals with different wording.
Acquaintances, friends, neighbours and relatives are a most important source of ideas and referrals. Each will know others in the community. They will help spread the word that you are looking for part-time job, turn you to leads that might otherwise not be within your reach, even initiate an interview.
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