ChangeCurrent notions of what it takes to reach the top in the business world are still firmly based in visions of long days full of hard, punishing work. Americans are terrified to take vacation time for fear of falling behind in their careers. One study found that just 25 percent of workers are currently using all of their paid time off days. As if that weren’t bad enough, 61 percent of respondents also admitted to working while on holiday.

All of this is happening against a workplace backdrop in which high-flying Americans are averaging 50-60 hours in the office per week just to get ahead.

The evidence suggests that many workers are not putting in long hours because they “love their jobs” or are passionate about working. In fact, it seems that most workers are compelled to work so much simply because they believe not doing so will adversely affect their careers.

But, is it necessary to grind ourselves into the floor with back-breaking 60 hour weeks to be super successful? Maybe not. Maybe there’s another way.

Take a look at Timewise’s “2014 Power Part Time List,” which is composed of high-ranking, supremely successful professionals who only work between 3 and 4.5 days a week.

An individual of real note is Nicola Mendelsohn, who is Facebook’s most senior executive outside of the U.S. — and she only works four days a week! Surely, she can’t be the only one who can reach the upper echelons of the corporate world while only working part-time.

These successful part-time leaders are, hopefully, paving the way, showing the world that it is possible to have a a great career without spending all day, every day in the office. Part-time work, it turns out, doesn’t have to just be a second job. Rather, it can be a valid route to long-term career success.

How Can You Build a Successful Career While Working Part-Time?

MazeI suggest that you start by target employers that offer reduced working schedules. There are plenty of these part-time friendly companies out there: research from SHRM shows that part-time, reduced-hours schedules are offered at 43-51 percent of companies.

KPMG, a major U.S. employer, is among those offering compressed workweek options. Deloitte is now offering more flexible career lattices, rather than ladders, making the company another likely option for those who want to succeed in part-time careers.

Most of the companies mentioned on the Timewise list linked to above are also likely to offer high-level career progression for part-timers. Therefore, it may be good to focus your career on these kind of employers if you are looking to be a part-time high-flier.

There are even companies that exclusively work four-day weeks, such as Basecamp and Reusser Design, but these are few and far between.

The good news is that there is also a growing demand for part-time senior executives, or “fractional executives,” as they have been called. The move towards contingent work has affect the higher ranks of businesses, creating lots of opportunities for part-time senior roles.

The move toward contingent working means a whole new part-time, high-flying career pathway is opening up. You no longer have to commit to a long-term, 60-hour grind to build a great career. Simply search for part-time exec jobs on Google, and you’ll have a list of  powerful, part-time career opportunities and at your fingertips.

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