Jobs with a lot of free time.

  • Thread starter NeoDevin
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  • #1
NeoDevin
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I'm wondering if anyone can suggest jobs at which I would have a lot of free time, to work on my computer. I have a couple of ideas for projects, but they won't produce any income for the short term. Any suggestions of jobs I could look for? I have my BSc in Math Phys, but I'm not particular about what field I work in, as long as I've got free time. I'm thinking of stuff along the lines of the guy who sits in the photo radar van, or maybe security guard at an old folks home (though that may depend on the home).

Thanks in advance.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Topher925
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I can think of a few. Bum, drifter, convict, congressman, etc.
 
  • #3
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
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To quote a very very old joke.
child1>when I grow up I want to be a school crossing guard
child2>why?
child1>Cos you don't need to start work until you're 65
 
  • #4
f95toli
Science Advisor
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There are jobs where people work for example two weeks and then have three weeks off. This is pretty common in for example the oil industry (especially for people who work on platforms at sea).
Note, however, that "two weeks" really means 14 days straight, usually 12 hours or more a day (or night). It is hard work so it is by no means an easy life.
I did two rotations like this when I was working on a shipyard in Norway one summer (when I was still an undergraduate student). It is a strange life; especially when you are working nights 14 days in a row like I did the first rotation.
 
  • #5
buffordboy23
548
2
A substitute school teacher may be an idea. They can have a few free periods during the day to shoot the breeze. Everything is usually laid out for you by the regular teacher, which generally consists of giving the students review work (since your a sub and your not expected to know the content) during class while you supervise (or baby-sit) the students.
 
  • #7
NeoDevin
306
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f95toli, not the sort of thing I was looking for, thanks for the suggestion though.

buffordboy23, thanks for the suggestion, I will look into it.
 
  • #8
Raizy
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I'm just wondering, how often do jobs allow you to have at least a bit of control over your own hours? I'd want to work four 10-12 hour shifts per week so I can have a 3 day weekend.
 
  • #9
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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What in the world are you planning on doing that you need to re-arrange your life around your computer???
 
  • #10
NeoDevin
306
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What in the world are you planning on doing that you need to re-arrange your life around your computer???

Right now I work a really crappy job. I have a couple of projects in mind that will hopefully produce income eventually, but no time to work on them (wife and kid). I'm currently too late to apply to the grad program I would be interested in for fall semester, so, I figure if I can find a dead-end job which allows me time to work on my own things, that would be good for the time being. Then I can apply either to winter semester, or next fall.
 
  • #11
NeoDevin
306
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Any more advice?
 
  • #12
MATLABdude
Science Advisor
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Night watchman? Other types of 'security' gigs? Pay is crappy, and it's boring (if it weren't, that's probably a bad thing). But as long as you make rounds, and maintain vigilance (depending on the specific gig), it's a way to tide yourself over for a few months.
 
  • #13
Topher925
1,565
7
(wife and kid)

Well that changes everything. If your looking for a job where you work low hours while having job security and benefits such as health care, you will probably never find one. Do you have any very special skills that you could exploit for a consulting job?
 
  • #14
buffordboy23
548
2
I'm currently too late to apply to the grad program I would be interested in for fall semester.

How do you know this? Sure, you probably missed the application deadline, but did you talk to anybody at the university to see if it was worth it to have your application reviewed anyways, in case someone decided to drop out of the program, which would potentially open a spot for your admission? This is a long shot, but it's funny how things work out sometimes.
 
  • #15
Nick M
192
0
Event or response driven operations.

Many industrial plants need skilled people to oversee and respond to faults. When things operate smoothly (often due to decisions and small adjustments made by the operator) the job involves simple oversight and occasional process control testing.

I run an industrial wastewater plant at night which allows me to get quite a bit of homework done provided things run smoothly.

It's not six figures, but it pays the bills.

EDIT: You often need to invest a few years before you are trusted with these types of positions though.
 
  • #16
NeoDevin
306
2
Well that changes everything. If your looking for a job where you work low hours while having job security and benefits such as health care, you will probably never find one. Do you have any very special skills that you could exploit for a consulting job?

I don't need job security or benefits. I only need it for short term (1 year or less).

How do you know this? Sure, you probably missed the application deadline, but did you talk to anybody at the university to see if it was worth it to have your application reviewed anyways, in case someone decided to drop out of the program, which would potentially open a spot for your admission? This is a long shot, but it's funny how things work out sometimes.

Yes I talked to the person in charge of admissions. They already have more students accepting than they were supposed to have placements.

Event or response driven operations.

Many industrial plants need skilled people to oversee and respond to faults. When things operate smoothly (often due to decisions and small adjustments made by the operator) the job involves simple oversight and occasional process control testing.

I run an industrial wastewater plant at night which allows me to get quite a bit of homework done provided things run smoothly.

It's not six figures, but it pays the bills.

EDIT: You often need to invest a few years before you are trusted with these types of positions though.

How does one get a position like this?
 
  • #17
Nick M
192
0
Look into getting state certification as a water or wastewater operator, then find a 2nd or 3rd shift position. Wages are usually $18-$25/hr + benefits.

Once you rack up some experience you might even be able to chief a plant which is primarily response-driven as well, but involves some administrative work and personnel duties. Chief positions range anywhere from $50k-$100k depending on the size and complexity of the plant.

Of course there are other industrial operations positions which are response driven, but I'm only familiar with water/wastewater.

It's similar to being a fireman. When things are good you polish the truck, cook dinner, and play cards. But when a fire breaks out you are expected to work hard until things are stable. I might do a couple hours of process control a night along with 4-5 hours of homework - but if something fails I might spend 12 hours straight getting stuff up and running again.

You need to be comfortable with both a wrench and a spreadsheet - be very reliable, and competent under pressure.
 
  • #18
stronglight
12
0
You need to take a cold hard look at your situation. Most physics graduate programs are desperate for qualified students. There are no "deadlines" if they really want you. "not this year" is a nice way for them to say "never". Employment in a dead-end job is going to be a huge strike against you when you reapply. Go find a real job that uses your programming skills. Industry treats a B.S. Physics identically to a B.S in engineering, so write "software engineer" on your resume You can also find a short-term job at most universities.
 
  • #19
mal4mac
1,200
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University IT support. The computers run themselves & you can do your own projects for a fair slice of the time, or even as part of your work if you are a persuasive sort....
 
  • #20
Choppy
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I would offer a few contrary opinions to Stronglight.

Most physics graduate programs are desperate for qualified students.
My understanding is that most graduate programs turn down applicants who meet the minimum requirements (and thus are qualified) because there are more applicants than there are spots.

There are no "deadlines" if they really want you.
In general graduate school admission deadlines are pretty firm. There are exceptions though, but I think the circumstances are pretty exceptional. More commonly what I've seen happen is students taking work as research assistants until the next cohort of admissions goes through and sometimes the work develops into thesis material.

"not this year" is a nice way for them to say "never".
So far as I know, one can always re-appy with an improved CV, better grades, etc. and the evaluation processes is independent from year to year.

Industry treats a B.S. Physics identically to a B.S in engineering, so write "software engineer" on your resume
This certainly isn't the case in Canada, and I suspect through most of the US. Engineering is generally a profession that requires professional certification (P Eng - I believe it's called). As a physics graduate you may have the skills to do what many engineers do, but you don't have the same certification, which means you can't fulfil certain roles that legally require engineering certification.

Further, claiming to be something you're not is (a) unethical, and (b) can land you in a lot of hot water (not getting hired, subsequently being fired, have difficulty getting another job).
 
  • #21
stronglight
12
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Choppy:
Gulp. It's really, really sad that physics students are so completely out of touch with reality about their employment prospects. You're titled an engineer in the US if you have a physics degree in aerospace and software and technology companies. The PE license isn't required for engineering jobs except in specialties where public safety is involved. Here in Silicon Valley there's a fair number of engineers who have no degrees at all. What WILL get you in hot water is claiming to have a degree or certification or work experience that you don't have.
 
  • #22
NeoDevin
306
2
For starters, I'm not applying to a physics MSc, I'm applying to a comp-sci MSc. If I wanted to continue in physics, I could start next week with any of 3 different profs at my university. Barring that though, Choppy is right, people who meet all the qualifications do get turned down on a regular basis. It depends how competitive the pool of applicants are in a given year. At my university the masters application deadlines are quite firm (PhD I think are looser), unless you have an advisor already lined up (which I don't for comp sci).

In Canada, the restrictions on who can call themselves an engineer are tighter than in the US. Pretty much to refer to yourself as an engineer, you need P Eng certification (which for me would entail an additional 3-6 courses, and a few exams).

Having said that though, I don't have any major objections to moving south of the border. stronglight, can you go into more detail about what companies/positions you think I would be qualified for (BSc Mathematical Physics, ~3.5 gpa, 2 research projects (+1 undergraduate project) which were almost entirely programming, and how to sell myself?

University IT support sounds like it might meet my needs. Anyone have any experience doing that?
 
  • #23
stronglight
12
0
Where are you in Canada? You're well qualified for any entry-level software position in the US. The problem is that we are in a world recession. Start by looking at http://www.bls.gov/lau/, there's a list of unemployment rates by US state on the right of the screen. For canada, try this link.
http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/datasets/march-unemployment-rate-by-province/versions/1, and you can follow the embedded link to the Statistics Canada for even more information. Stay away from places with high unemployment, especially Detroit. I searched a bit and found this great list of appropriate job titles on this site
http://www.nextstepsystems.com/about_positypes.htm (I know nothing about these people, but they're in a position to help you). You can use the word "analyst" if you can't legally use the word "engineer" in Canada. Technical job fairs are a great way to talk directly to hiring managers, see if you can find one in your area.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #24
wildman
29
4
If you are in the US and have a physics degree, look into working for a LARGE (not small) aerospace company. If you then volunteer to help in a legacy project, your goal of working short hours will be met. Raytheon Missile Systems for example has a 9/80 schedule where the software engineers work four nine-hour days and one eight-hour day one week and then work 4 nine-hour days the next and get the last Friday off.

If one is in a legacy project (and you stay out of management), then overtime will be very rare. You very seldom see a non-management or non-research type around on weekends or off Fridays. It pays good too and it is great for your resume. Finally, they will pay for your schooling and give you flexible time off to go to classes.
 
  • #25
NeoDevin
306
2
I'm not currently in the US, but have no objection to moving there. I looked at some US aerospace companies a while ago, and it seemed most of them will require security clearance. Can I get this clearance as a Canadian?

Which companies do you mean when you refer to "large" aerospace companies?
 
  • #26
streeters
229
2
I'm just wondering, how often do jobs allow you to have at least a bit of control over your own hours? I'd want to work four 10-12 hour shifts per week so I can have a 3 day weekend.

Civil Service. In the UK we have a wonderful thing called "Flexi-time" where you can work 4 days at 10hrs a day (9 working and an hour off) so then you've done 36hrs (a "working week") and are done until Monday. Like all civil service jobs, the pay isn't that bad and there is a very predictable progression and a lot still have final salary pension. Sweet.

I have a friend who does it. Works for HM Revenue and Customs. Did a stats degree.
 
  • #27
stronglight
12
0
Most industries that have field service or test jobs have flex time, or several days on/off (not always weekends, though). You can find this sort of thing in any industry that has round-the-clock operations (transportation, logistics, hospitals, utility companies)
 
  • #28
wildman
29
4
I'm not currently in the US, but have no objection to moving there. I looked at some US aerospace companies a while ago, and it seemed most of them will require security clearance. Can I get this clearance as a Canadian?

Which companies do you mean when you refer to "large" aerospace companies?

To make it brief. No.
 

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