"De perto, ninguém é normal. / From up close nobody is normal." (Caetano Veloso)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Five Rewarding Careers that Let You Have a Life

Five Rewarding Careers that Let You Have a Life

by Joe Taylor Jr.

Whether you want to travel to exotic destinations, visit relatives, or simply have more time to care for loved ones, a career with flexible time off can make a big difference in your quality of life. While many Americans enjoy a mere one or two weeks of vacation time each year, some professionals spend two to three months of each year away from the job.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the following five careers will experience some of the fastest job growth of all careers over the next decade. Each one of these career paths offers its own set of perks in addition to seasonal scheduling:

1. Resort Chef
While most food reviewers fawn over eateries in New York and London, many of the world's most innovative chefs whip up dishes at resort hotels and spas all over the world. Tourism hot spots like Aspen, Florida, and the Napa Valley rely on seasonal workers with culinary degrees to impress guests and highlight local cuisine.

In many cases, you can attend culinary degree programs during the off-season and earn a salary to offset tuition and living expenses. Some employers even offer culinary school courses as part of ongoing professional development programs. A seasonal job as a hotel cook often pays over $28,000 per year, not including the travel benefits often offered by larger employers.

2. Teacher K-12
Many teachers use the summer to catch up with family, enjoy long vacations, and complete additional online education courses. Even with three months off, many K-12 teachers earn over $41,000 per year. Changes in recruitment policies now mean that you can start a teaching job in many places before completing a degree in education.

New state and federal mandates require job applicants to complete at least a few online education courses before beginning their teaching careers. Many school districts have even invested in dedicated recruitment programs designed to help professionals from other fields earn education degrees. For retirees, a teaching career offers the chance to stay active while earning an income and enjoying summers off.

3. Fashion Designer
If you love to work hard and play hard, a fashion design career could be a perfect fit. Established designers often enjoy a few weeks of downtime following the launch of a major collection. Fashion design degree programs can help you land internships with design houses or with the organizations that stage Fashion Week events.

For fashion design professionals with low-key personalities, specializing in a particular season's clothing or a niche accessory line can help you have more time free without as much stress. Upon completion of fashion school, you can often earn more than $28,000 per year. Starting your own business, as 25 percent of designers do, can boost your income above $55,000 per year.

4. Freelance/Fill-In Paralegal
A growing number of law firms and large companies hire freelance and temporary paralegals to cover for sick or vacationing staff members. Meanwhile, some freelance paralegals with criminal justice degrees focus on just the kinds of cases that excite them. Either way, a personal paralegal practice is one of the few careers in law that offers extended vacation time without the rigors of passing the bar exam.

A career as a freelance paralegal holds the same level of risk as running any kind of small business. However, a combination of paralegal training and business savvy can result in a strong income. Most full-time paralegals report earnings of over $38,000 per year. By charging a premium for short-term service, freelance paralegals frequently make more by working less.

5. Software Developer
During the first web boom of the early 1990s, software companies relied on freelance programmers with technology degrees to ramp up quickly and meet deadlines. Today, companies from all kinds of industries rely on contract professionals with engineering degrees to handle one-time tasks or to take on outsourced specialty projects.

Online technology courses allow freelance software developers to stay up to date on the latest coding standards. Combining an online computer science degree with courses in business and marketing can help round out the skill set necessary to land big projects, especially when separated by vacation-sized gaps.

Preparing for Extra Time Off

Like the five careers examined here, most jobs that offer more than the average amount of vacation time also require:

a higher tolerance for risk,
an entrepreneurial spirit,
ongoing professional development,
time management skills, and
money management skills.

Fortunately, training for a new career also opens the opportunity to build overall job skills. In most cases, adding a few key electives to a degree program can mean the difference between clocking in from nine to five and setting your own schedule.

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