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Physics Physics job with flexible schedule?

  1. Jan 28, 2017 #1
    I was wondering what physics-major-based job has a flexible time commitment and schedule -- I want to be able to have a job where I can be financially stable and also love what I do - aka physics - but also be able to go out and have fun with my friends if they want to have an impromptu skiing or surfing or hiking or whatever trip. Are there any jobs that promote this any where in the world? I understand that physics jobs need a lot of time but are there jobs where I can do my work remotely from my home or hotel or do the majority of jobs require me to be at a physics facility or office?
     
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  3. Jan 28, 2017 #2

    phinds

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    Sounds to me like you have an overly optimistic view of what the work-a-day world is like.
     
  4. Jan 28, 2017 #3

    billy_joule

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    I think that largely depends where you live more than the role title. Flexitime is the standard for most professional roles in my country. Paid leave and hours worked per year varies wildly by country. Many physics graduates seem to end up in software which has scope for Telecommuting or contract work where you pick your own work hours.
     
  5. Jan 28, 2017 #4

    Dr Transport

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    What you want is to be the CEO of your own start up....
     
  6. Jan 28, 2017 #5

    phinds

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    No, he wants free time. Typically CEOs of their own startups work 80 hours a week unless they plan on failure
     
  7. Jan 28, 2017 #6

    jasonRF

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    Let's see: flexible time commitment, flexible schedule, financial security, get to do the physics you are interested in, work remotely from home or hotel, ...

    I suggest you marry someone who is wealthy. Or perhaps win the lottery. I cannot think of another legal way to do this, since life doesn't seem to work the way you would like it to.

    Good luck,

    Jason
     
  8. Jan 28, 2017 #7

    symbolipoint

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    I agree with much of what members posted here on this. Usually, flex time or a flexible schedule means that a company may call you if it needs something done, and will usually not need you except every once in a while - very rarely. Also be careful at a job interview if the interviewer askes if you might be interested in a part-time position. If you say yes in any way, then this indicates to the interviewer that you are not very serious about finding/doing work.
     
  9. Jan 28, 2017 #8

    billy_joule

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    That's not the normal definition of flextime, it sounds more like zero hour contracts or on call shifts which are both pretty heinous and almost always associated with unskilled labour.

    I have flextime and it means I can do the 4/10 schedule (four ten hour days then three day weekends) or the 9/80 schedule (eight 9 hour days, one 8 hour day and every second friday off) at my discretion. I can leave early and come in late when I like. As long as I work an average of 40 hrs a week all is fine. Flextime is standard for most professionals in my country.
    I get over 6 weeks paid time off a year and 5 sick days, that's the legal minimum, I can normally take time off at short notice. I can only rarely telecommute due to the nature of my work but some of the other engineers and designers do more often.

    So yeah, what OP describes is the norm in some places, not optimistic at all. And IME work-life balance & employee benefits at engineering firms lags behind many other industries.
     
  10. Jan 29, 2017 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    What Billy Joule describes is more what I would call an "alternative work schedule", and that is not uncommon. That's not my read on what the OP is asking about.
     
  11. Jan 29, 2017 #10
    Two possibilities I see for a physics job with a flexible work schedule:

    1. A faculty job focused on distance learning physics courses. These courses are growing in popularity and in some states a growing percentage of STEM faculty are needed to meet the demands. In most cases, one would need to be hired as a normal full-time faculty member at a teaching-focused institution and transition into being one of the main distance learning faculty members. But it is possible (if you are a very good distance learning professor, by the institution's criteria) to eventually have one's whole teaching load be through distance learning, which provides lots of schedule and location flexibility.

    2. Be a consulting scientist. My wife and I (both Physics PhDs) earn our living this way. My main emphasis is defense-related work, but in down defense funding cycles (ongoing since 2012), we end up broadening our scope and including a lot of legal consulting work. There is still lots of scheduling flexibility compared with the 9-5 industry jobs and faculty teaching jobs, but a high level of responsiveness to clients is a must AND there will be non-negotiable scheduled events like depositions and courtroom testimony. But it is very flexible regarding when the experiments are done, when the case evidence is reviewed, and when the reports are written.
     
  12. Jan 29, 2017 #11

    StatGuy2000

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    Just out of curiosity, how many hours a week do you work? And how flexible is your work schedule?
     
  13. Jan 29, 2017 #12

    phinds

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    I'm retired but when I worked, I worked 45 to 60 hrs/week, usually about 50, more (sometimes much more) in crunch time. Start/end of day was pretty flexible in most jobs (not all) but long weeks were always de rigeur.
     
  14. Jan 29, 2017 #13

    StatGuy2000

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    When you say "long weeks", are you referring to working on weekends, or are you simply referring to working a full 5 day work week?
     
  15. Jan 29, 2017 #14

    phinds

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    Generally hours in a 5 day week but at some of my jobs weekend work was not too uncommon.
     
  16. Jan 30, 2017 #15
    I second this! My husband and I are also both physics PhDs and we work as self-employed consulting engineers (heat pumps, monitoring and control, IT security...). I agree with clients on deliverables and deadlines, and some appointments are fixed - but I can define my own schedule most of the time, and I can also do a lot of work remotely.
    There might be some peaks of workload now and then, like ad hoc troubleshooting or when a system goes live - but I am much more flexible than I ever was in any employed position. In particular, I have to travel less.

    Caveat: We have some very narrow specialties, and we had either built up some reputation for years in a very specific industry sector before we could work like this (e.g. IT security) or we had invested our own R&D time and money in buidling a prototype system before we could do related consulting (e.g. heat pumps).
     
  17. Jan 30, 2017 #16
    Yes, that's how we roll also.
     
  18. Feb 2, 2017 #17
    What degrees are required?
     
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