There is a global trend towards using part-time lecturers to reduce unit labour costs and raise institutional efficiency. At the same time there is pressure on academics to develop their skills in an academic career path. The use of part-time lecturers is a recognised phenomenon at the University of Pretoria. This study set out to determine how part-time academics in Humanities manage and sustain their careers. The conceptual framework for this study juxtaposes key aspects of the part-time academic career with features of the traditional career model on the one hand, and those of the boundaryless and protean career on the other. This study was undertaken as a quantitative survey designed for self-completion. The aim was to describe trends in the data provided about the sample. It was found that the boundaryless and protean career models have relevance in describing the careers of part-time academics in Humanities. These lecturers measure career success by accumulated knowledge, a developed skills portfolio as well as psychologically meaningful work leading to an inner feeling of achievement. They respond to the tenuous nature of their employment situation by working across organisational boundaries and developing networks of career contacts, so as to sustain a career. Aspects that are not conducive to a part-time academic career such as early career stage, experience of positional insecurity and lack of inclusion into the collegium were identified. Those aspects that support a part-time academic career are flexibility and work-family balance. Recommendations for improvements at individual and institutional level were drawn from current literature and relevant research findings. These include the need for institutional planning, inclusion of part-time lecturers into the collegium, investment in the part-time human resource and consideration of improved contractual arrangements. Part-time lecturers need to invest in their transferable skills and maintain a career network as part of a planned strategy for obtaining their career objectives. They may need to function in boundaryless fashion in multiple positions. The significant priority accorded by respondents to the accumulation of knowledge and the development of skills may hold a key to a mutually beneficial work relationship between the institution and these part-time lecturers.