The Freedom of Being a Modest Income Part Time Worker

Work space with computer

Written by Liz

Just your regular 27-year-old, queer, super-introverted, FIRE-chasing, frugal Singaporean, who lives a pretty good life while earning only a modest salary, but still plans to retire at age 40 with $1,000,000. Click here to read more

September 27, 2020

When I transitioned from full-time to part-time work at the beginning of this year, I expected a lot more free time, and I have been right about this.

However, this wasn’t the only benefit I experienced; becoming a part-time worker gave me a great deal of freedom in so many ways that I had never even considered.

How did I experience this freedom? In many areas, such as the following.

Working from home

For me personally, working from home has been an extraordinary experience, as I detailed in this post here. The benefits are tremendous, such as zero commuting, more efficient meetings, and infinitely fewer distractions. The result? Much higher productivity, in both my office job and my personal side hustles.

Many of my colleagues also enjoy working from home, for all the same reasons. However, many of the higher-ranking managers have felt the pressure to return to the office to “show face”, or to clock in their “face time”, despite not needing to do so. They fear that if they don’t do so, they may be perceived as “lazy”.

In contrast, a modestly paid part-time worker like me has all the freedom in the world to say, “I much prefer working from home, thank you”, without any guilt about “face time” or any fear of losing my job.

office monochrome

Working from home is so much more peaceful than working in the office.

Non-work days

As a higher ranking employee (such as a manager), you are expected to work even on the weekends. If your boss contacts you on a weekend or a public holiday, you’re expected to respond and do whatever he or she requests of you. I’ve noticed that many of my colleagues in managerial positions, and especially my boss, work all days of the week.

On the other hand, a modestly paid part-time worker like me gets to enjoy almost all of my non-work days without the thought of my office work.

As a modest-income part-time worker, I feel no guilt about drawing a very distinct line between work days and non-work days.

My rationale behind doing so is simple – if I’m expected to work more than 3 days a week (as a part-time worker), then what would have been the point of me taking a 40% pay-cut?

As such, my boss knows not to contact me on my non-work days, though I understand that pressing issues may sometimes arise (thankfully, it hasn’t been too often).

Jewel Canopy Park

Enjoying my time at Jewel Changi Airport on a weekday.

Saying no

When I was a full-time employee, I had little to no ability to say no to things, such as outings, irrelevant meetings, and more job responsibility. I never felt that I had a choice; I had to either do these things, or risk being unemployed or lose out on a promotion.

However, as a modestly paid part-time worker, I’ve been able to exercise my discretion to say no to several things.

I’ve managed to say no to quite a few things, such as:

  • Going back to the office to work;
  • Going out for lunches and dinners with colleagues that I don’t feel comfortable around; and
  • Unimportant meetings that I don’t feel the need to be in.

I also anticipate my boss giving me more job responsibilities in the next few weeks/months, and I’m preparing to say no to this as well, as I’m already doing more than we mutually agreed on when I started my part-time work.

Office meeting

Meetings in the office are usually unimportant and inefficient.

Being laid off

On another note, being a modestly paid part-time worker also means that I’ll probably be the first to be laid off. This is a risk that has crossed my mind many times.

However, my part-time position is nothing more than just a job to me, in order to earn some cash. I don’t derive a single bit of happiness from it, and it wouldn’t affect me very much if I were to get laid off. After all, I do have a plan B – I’m trying to start making money from my niche site.

There’s a unique freedom in not really caring about whether you’d be laid off.

In contrast, people in managerial positions might find it more difficult to cope with a loss of a huge income and a loss of status.

Decreased salary

There are, of course, downsides to being a modest income part time worker. The most obvious disadvantage is the pay. When I went from working 5 days a week to 3 days a week, my pay decreased by 40%.

However, even after a 40% decrease in my salary, my salary is still more than enough for my existing daily needs. I can spend money on my niche site (and on this blog), and even continue to save for my early retirement.

The biggest benefit of a modest income is what I mentioned above – I don’t see myself being affected much even if I do get laid off.

At most, I’d be shocked for a couple of days. But after, I’d just realise that I have a lot more free time to make my niche site profitable.


Going part-time isn’t for everybody. At first, I thought it wouldn’t be for me either. After all, going part-time would mean I can’t retire as early as I thought I would.

However, over the past few months, I realised that I value my free time so much more than I value my income. I value my hobbies, I value my passion work, I value my learning. And most of all, I value my freedom.

As always, thank you for reading and supporting this blog.

Become a Millionaire and Retire Early on a Modest Salary Book Cover

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  1. Budget Life List

    Good for you! I am glad that you are enjoying your freedom and still making enough to make your financial dreams come true! Keep living the dream, mostly so I can keep reading about it. 😉

    • Liz

      Aww that’s really sweet BuLL! Thanks so much! I’m not sure what the future holds yet, but I’ll keep trying my best 🙂