Today’s job seeker wants to have her cake and eat it, too. There’s nothing wrong with that. I want a job that allows me the opportunity to still have a life outside the walls of an office. There’s a reason I write for a living now: I spent eight years in a box feeling the constant anxiety that if I took off any time from my job, it would all go to hell in a bucket (and it usually did!).
Sometimes maintaining a proper work-life balance is more than being able to properly prioritize one’s time between work and leisure activities. Sometimes it’s about finding a job that doesn’t stress you out so much that you spend what time you do take off from it freaking out about what awaits you when you return.
There are myriad ways of measuring work-life balance depending the source. A job or industry with good work-life balance should have good pay, the possibility for growth, as well as giving you the chance to lead a life outside an office. Many of the best jobs with great work-life balance don’t even require an office. Others require a minimal amount of education, though they may require a greater amount of practical experience.
Others are ones that require little education and the experience can be acquired on the job. Take substitute teacher, for example. I am a former high school English teacher who spent time as a substitute teacher. Granted, I had a leg-up on other substitute teachers in the pool with my credentials, but most school districts do not require subs to have teaching certificates, let alone college degrees. I simply had to fill out an application and tick off which subjects I wanted to teach.
In terms of work-life balance, the beauty of being a substitute teacher is that you are in charge of your schedule, the district is not. Sure, I got bumped to the top of all the lists with my experience, but I also got to tell the districts for which I taught that I could only do so on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to the end of the day, etc. And if I was busy the day the phone rang, all I had to do was say, “no.”
That job that I spent eight years being stressed out about? It was as a research technician, but it wasn’t as a freelancer. This job can be very different depending on the industry — I conducted research for planning and development in a mid-sized municipality. On the other hand, research technician jobs can exist in the medical field as well. In the case of real estate and development research, work-life balance would be easy to maintain as freelancing is a great option. For medical research technicians, the field is ever-expanding and innovating, so the job market is steady.
Tech jobs are consistently on top of work-life balance lists because they offer freelancing opportunities. Many jobs in data science, software development, or web design can be done from the comfort of one’s own home. Freelance Search Engine Optimization or content managers can set their schedules, freeing up valuable time for pursuits outside the traditional “work schedule.” You may need more education or training for tech jobs than you would others, but the pay and benefits make tech jobs worth it.
Based on Glassdoor’s five-point scale of work-life balance as well as a good dose of salary data, here are 10 jobs that strike a great work-life balance, especially if you can start your own gig. At the very least, this list will get you investigating these jobs and industries and may lead you to something with even better work-life balance: