T Nation

Career Path Woes


I want some advice from some... adults... here. I'm 20 years and about 2 years from a 4 year college degree. Initially I thought I'd like to get a degree in biology and go from there, possibly entering the medical field and specializing in something. Mainly I want a challenge, something that pays well and is respectable.

But - I've got this thing where I don't ever think I could work a 9-5 job 5/7 days a week. I'd rather work far fewer hours even if it means getting payed less. I was wondering what job options in this field would allow for the most flexible work hours? Maybe some people here are medical doctors or work in hospitals, sports rehabilitation or something?

Any advice, stories, experiences would be interesting and helpful for me!



I would also love to hear anything you all have to say.


I think you should consider another field if you are averse to the idea of working a 9 to 5. Everyone I know in the medical field (including those presently in med school) put in well beyond 40 hours a week.



Anything in medicine/Healthcare will ruin your social life.

The only way you can determine your own (ie. flexible) hours is if you work for yourself. In the medical field this is not easy.


Have your ever thought about firefighting? Although it varies from department, most have a sweet schedule. I have seen some that work 4 12 hour shifts a week. some work 24 on, 24 off, then 24 on, 48 off, it amounts to 13-15 days a month depending on rotation.
Once again, it varies by department, but I know paramedics who work long shifts, but not as frequent. I believe in some hosiptals, Drs and nurses work shifts like that as well.


Have you thought about becoming some sort of strength and conditioning coach?

Ive been on your website and you seem to have a real passion for fitness, and helping others get in shape.

After finishing my degree ive found myself in a similar situation, not wanting to be tied to a desk my whole life. Right now im thinking of doing some further study (as my degree was in finance) and getting in to the fitness arena myself.

Oh yeah, tt.com rocks!


You'll need to sell something to get that kind of freedom. Salepeople set their own hours, to a degree.

Pharmacuetical Sales reps do very well in the earnings department. Work a flexible schedule and are health care related. Some would say too related.

You'll need a science degree to break in to the field so that helps. Read the book "Hard Sell". It's kind of negative on the business but you'll see how someone with a little more drive and a lot more honesty could make a nice career in that business.


The 9-5 job still exists?? I thought died back in 1978.

When it comes to school, dude, you gotta follow what interests you. It's WAY better to be doing something you love (even if the hours are longer) than doing something you hate. And, truth be told, the vast majority of college grads don't end up with jobs in their major anyway.


Offshore Oil Platforms:
14 days on, 14 days off, great pay, free gym, great food.
Almost no chicks though...


Start up your own business.


But don't expect to work LESS than 40 per week if you want to be successful.
At least not at first.

Expensive and initially pays very little, but a Pilot might meet some of your criteria. Also, real estate or some of the other broker positions might be good.

If I were you I would consider trying to find something you love to do for 40hours rather than finding something you don't like, and working less than 40. I know this is easier than it sounds, because you may not know what you like until you start actually doing it. Hope this makes sense and helps out. IMHO, even 15 hours a week is too many hours to spend doing something you hate.


why not be an astronaut or a cowboy? those are great career choices, and hey- think about the outfit?

i'm 22 and on the cusp of graduating with a Film degree up here in Canada. I think i have the qualifications to manage a Blockbuster or perhaps give jack-off criticism online while living in my parent's basement.

its a fuckin bio degree. you've got a million possibilities.


A BS degree in Biology can land you a cushy 30-35 hours a week job as an Associate Scientist at a University Research Center. The pay stinks, what do you want.....it's soft money, but the hours are short, flexible and you can dress like a slob if you want to because the lab coat covers everything. The job is good for an entry level person looking for a few years experience.

Since it is just about impossible to make a good living working off NIH grants, most young people look for industrial positions in Pharma or Biotech. Of course, if you want to lead your own research, you need to think about grad school, but there are always openings for bachelor level research associates.


I don't know.

These kind of posts just bite me the wrong way. I agree with the whole find something you like to do thing, but here we have a 20 yr. old who already dismiseses the notion of a 9-5 job 5 days a week. Trust me young fella, most people would die for that type of schedule.

You're not looking for your passion, you're looking for an easy way out and it's pretty weak. You earn that by busting your hump and getting to a position that allows some freedom or allows you to pursue said avenue. You don't get that with your degree.

There are plenty of jobs that look better than the one you are presently in until you get a closer look.

Cushier than 9-5, 5 days a week!! WTF is this world coming too.


I'm currently doing a B.A. in biology, should I change it?


Not unless you WANT to take Quantitative Analytical Chemistry and Differential Equations. The BS has a stronger chemistry and math focus, nothing wrong with the BA, though.