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Alternatives to Traditional Full-Time Employment

If traditional full-time employment is not an option for you right now, consider the other alternatives. Each of the 10 possibilities in this article has advantages and disadvantages. What will work best for you depends on your personal situation and your preferences.


Explore each alternative to see if there is a match for your needs.

  1. Part-time work:
    • allows you to stay in the workforce and keep your skills current
    • offers less pay, fewer benefits and reduced opportunities for promotion
    • may require extra effort to keep in touch with, and feel part of, the team
  2. Job sharing:
    • involves sharing responsibilities, salary and benefits of one position with another person
    • allows some flexibility if you need to exchange days or take time off
    • has the same advantages and disadvantages as working part-time
    • requires a high level of communication between job-sharing partners as well as similar working styles and approaches
  3. Temporary work:
    • involves taking non-permanent positions, often through an employment agency
    • offers opportunities to meet many people, experience a variety of work environments and learn new things
    • may provide opportunities to move into a permanent position
    • may not give you enough time in an organization to feel a sense of belonging
    • may offer few benefits and pay a set wage, with little chance for negotiation
  4. Casual or on-call work:
    • involves working only when you’re needed, often on short notice
    • allows you to remain in the workforce and keep your skills current
    • may lead to more regular work
    • provides an uncertain income
    • may create problems scheduling family commitments and other responsibilities
    • may not allow enough time at work to finish projects or get to know people
  5. Seasonal work:
    • may involve working steady, long hours for some but not all months of the year (for example, landscaping, snow removal)
    • allows you to study or travel during the rest of the year
    • can be challenging financially during periods of unemployment or when weather limits the number of days you can work
  6. Flextime:
    • involves working a standard number of hours each day but with flexible start and finish times, or working longer shifts but getting an extra day off
    • allows you to schedule other responsibilities and activities during “office hours” when you’re not working
    • may allow you to start earlier or later in the day
    • may require working 12-hour shifts with rotating days off
  7. Telecommuting:
    • involves working somewhere other than your employer’s place of business using phones, computers and mobile electronic devices
    • may allow you to work independently on your own schedule
    • eliminates commuting to work and office interruptions
    • may increase distractions (for example, children in home office)
    • may limit opportunities to interact with co-workers
  8. Self-employment, providing technical, professional, business or personal services:
    • involves providing services based on your skills and training, ranging from desktop publishing and accounting to plumbing and child care
    • allows you to choose your work hours and duties
    • requires you to market your services
    • offers an uncertain income and no employer-paid benefits, such as sick time, pension and holiday pay
    • may allow you to qualify for some special benefits through employment insurance
    • may contribute to a feeling of isolation if you’re often alone
  9. Self-employment, selling your own products:
    • allows you to be creative
    • allows you to adjust your work to seasonal demands or to the market
    • may allow you to reduce costs by working out of your home
    • may not be profitable if you’re competing with massproduced items
    • requires you to develop new products to keep up with changing consumer demands
    • allows you to choose your work hours and duties
    • requires you to market your products
    • offers an uncertain income and no employer-paid benefits, such as sick time, pension and holiday pay
    • may allow you to qualify for some special benefits through employment insurance
  10. Self-employment, selling others’ products:
    • may involve online or mail marketing, direct marketing (such as home parties) or purchasing a franchise
    • provides training for you as a direct marketer or franchise owner but requires you to conform to others' policies and standards
    • provides a tested formula for selling an established product or brand name but may allow little room for creativity
    • may require a large financial investment, particularly for a successful franchise

Learn more about alternatives to full-time employment

These and other alternatives to full-time employment are more common than ever. Depending on your preferences and lifestyle, they may be worthwhile options for you to explore.


Additional Information

To find out more about employment insurance benefits that may be available to you as a self-employed person, visit Service Canada at www.servicecanada.gc.ca

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