Jobs with completely variable hours.

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King Author
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Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby King Author » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:51 am UTC

I've got non-24 hour sleep-wake cycle syndrome (WP it, basically means I can't sleep on a 24-hour schedule). All my life I've just had to deal with being deathly tired for most of the day when my sleep-wake cycle is highly out of synch with the rest of the world. I never wondered, until recently, about the prospect of jobs without set clock-in clock-out times. I'd be willing to work ten hour shifts if I could show up whenever I want, go through the ten hours, then go home. Hell, throw in dental and general insurance and I'd work for minimum wage.

Anyone know of any sorts of jobs (other than entrepreneurship / ownership) that would allow me to show up at any time during the day I please, so long as I put in a full day's work when I get there? Prolly not, but it never hurts to ask.
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby Ptolom » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:27 am UTC

Something freelance maybe?

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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby Evengeduld » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:02 pm UTC

Might help if you could tell us what field you'ld like to work in.
because working in Human Resources might not be really compatible with your plan :)
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:09 pm UTC

airport security?
it's the kind of thing that has to be (hu)manned 24/7, they probably have long shifts, and are probably quite flexable,

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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby rigwarl » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:38 pm UTC

If you have good self-discipline and any interest in poker you could do that. Of course, any independent contract job (e.g., website design) works too.

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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby Dark567 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:52 pm UTC

Freelance programming. Unfortunately you will take a large paycut because you most likely only work on small programs. Phone apps seem popular right now. In general your best bet is something where you are providing a product and not a service.

This also translates to things like being a novelist or artist, but its harder to make a fair living wage off of those.
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby KestrelLowing » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:14 pm UTC

There are very few office jobs that have such an open schedule, but there are some that are completely open (however, I think it's something like two total companies in the US). So while an office job is pretty unlikely to have such variable hours, there are a couple.

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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby Kang » Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:48 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:airport security?
it's the kind of thing that has to be (hu)manned 24/7, they probably have long shifts, and are probably quite flexable,

I guess this is a good hint. All of those 'need someone here 24/7' jobs at least have a chance of letting you choose convenient shifts. From working at a hospital through taxi driving to some support call centers.

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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby philsov » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:13 pm UTC

But even call centers and security still have set hours. Are you at least on a 168/336-hour cycle, author?
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:28 pm UTC

Yeah, that's the issue with most 24/7 jobs. Thought they're open all the time, they still want the workforce showing up at reliable times - hence First, Second and Third shifts. It's rare to find a job like that in which you can essentially come and go as you please - or rather, you can come in whenever you want, work 8-10 hours, then leave.

Something like that would be.... Freelance work. Maybe. It's possible to get something like that for a programming/graphic design/whatever sort of job - the kind of job where the client tells you what they want, then leaves you alone. The problem, of course, is if you have questions or the client has additions - you may need to be working at the same time.
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby hrabanus » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:20 pm UTC

King Author wrote:I've got non-24 hour sleep-wake cycle syndrome (WP it, basically means I can't sleep on a 24-hour schedule).


I think I also have that. I can usually handle one fixed appointment a week (so principially povertry and some part time job where you only have to work one day a week), e.g. I can deal with being tired one day a week, but anything more, even if it is only two fixed times a week tends to make me very moody.

Personally I'm working as a private assistant for a retired professor right now. I work from home and whenever I want.

Unfortunately this doesn't quite pay the bills. So right now I'm living off of that and the money I made when I worked as a substitute teacher for two months (rather two months of tiredness than a whole year).

This of course means that I am poor and sometimes it would be nice to be able to spend a little something (getting asked to go for a coffee always involves some existential turmoil), but it's still better than being tired all the time.

Or, come to think of it, no it isn't. It doesn't seem that viable a lifestyle on the long term - I'm only prolonguing my student lifestyle, but I have no idea for how long I can keep that up, thinking of my future still scares me.

So I have no answers, only fear. At least I can offer my compassion.

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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:56 pm UTC

One type of job that comes to mind-taxi driver or long-haul truck driver. Taxi drivers often set their own hours, and long haul drivers always do, as long as the load gets to its destination as soon as possible. There are licensing requirements you would need to check for your location.
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby Diemo » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:59 pm UTC

How about research? You have to show up every now and again to talk to your professer, but where I work tends to be pretty relaxed about when you work.
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby King Author » Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:38 am UTC

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, everyone.

philsov wrote:But even call centers and security still have set hours. Are you at least on a 168/336-hour cycle, author?

Every single day of my life I wake up an hour later than I did the day before.
Monday: Up at 8:00 am
Tuesday: Up at 9:00 am
...
next Tuesday: Up at 4:00 pm
Wednesday: Up at 5:00 pm
etc.

It doesn't matter how long I stay up or when I go to sleep, or how much or little sleep I get. My body is hell set on waking up an hour later each day.

SecondTaIon wrote:Yeah, that's the issue with most 24/7 jobs. Thought they're open all the time, they still want the workforce showing up at reliable times - hence First, Second and Third shifts. It's rare to find a job like that in which you can essentially come and go as you please - or rather, you can come in whenever you want, work 8-10 hours, then leave.

Something like that would be.... Freelance work. Maybe. It's possible to get something like that for a programming/graphic design/whatever sort of job - the kind of job where the client tells you what they want, then leaves you alone. The problem, of course, is if you have questions or the client has additions - you may need to be working at the same time.

Ooh, work at a hospital or other 24/7 place would be very amicable if I could shift between First, Second and Third shift on a weekly basis. That is, this week I do First Shift, next week Second Shift, the week after that Third Shift, then the week after that First Shift again.

Too bad there aren't any high-profile cases of severe sleep disorders in the public consciousness, or celebrities making sleep disorders a public deal. If I weighed 400 lbs. I could sue my way into getting any given company I might work at to adjust things to suit my medical problems. Nobody even knows that non-24 is a thing, though, and since the public is unfamiliar, there's no chance I'd ever win in a courtroom, and any given company's lawyers have gotta know that, so I have absolutely no leverage to say "come on, let me change my shift weekly!" I'll just have to hope someone's willing.

hrabanus wrote:
King Author wrote:I've got non-24 hour sleep-wake cycle syndrome (WP it, basically means I can't sleep on a 24-hour schedule).


I think I also have that. I can usually handle one fixed appointment a week (so principially povertry and some part time job where you only have to work one day a week), e.g. I can deal with being tired one day a week, but anything more, even if it is only two fixed times a week tends to make me very moody.

Personally I'm working as a private assistant for a retired professor right now. I work from home and whenever I want.

Unfortunately this doesn't quite pay the bills. So right now I'm living off of that and the money I made when I worked as a substitute teacher for two months (rather two months of tiredness than a whole year).

This of course means that I am poor and sometimes it would be nice to be able to spend a little something (getting asked to go for a coffee always involves some existential turmoil), but it's still better than being tired all the time.

Or, come to think of it, no it isn't. It doesn't seem that viable a lifestyle on the long term - I'm only prolonguing my student lifestyle, but I have no idea for how long I can keep that up, thinking of my future still scares me.

So I have no answers, only fear. At least I can offer my compassion.

Man, sucks to be us. What kind of species produces members whose circadian rythyms don't match the planet they were born on? I'm the same way with generally only being able to schedule one thing a week. That's hell.

The social problems are the worst, though, aren't they? Being tired all the time at work is one thing, but neglecting friends and S.O.'s because I gotta get some sleep is so much worse. I'd get twice the tang and lose half the girlfriends if I could muster up the energy to be there whenever she needed me, instead of having to say, "babe, I'm sorry, I'm just too tired. Can't you talk to so-and-so?" or "I can't drive you to that appointment, I'd be dangerous on the road I'd be so tired, can't whoever take you?" And of course I always feel guilty about it.

There are some upsides for me personally, though. I absolutely love it when I'm nocturnal. Being up while the rest of the world is sleeping is...there's something magical about that time. When the whole noisy world is silent. No lawnmowers, no kids playing, no buzz of traffic, just the occasional lone car, whose sound in the dark silence seems mournful and wayward. It's worth the being tired, but not shrugging off my friends...

PAstrychef wrote:One type of job that comes to mind-taxi driver or long-haul truck driver. Taxi drivers often set their own hours, and long haul drivers always do, as long as the load gets to its destination as soon as possible. There are licensing requirements you would need to check for your location.
A moderate investment now could pay off well in the future.

Whoa, hey, tell me more about the truck driving. I don't know the streets of my own home city well enough, nor am I an agressive enough driver to ever make it as a taxi cab driver, but I'm masterful at long-distance trips to unknown places. Google Maps, you're a godsend!

Plus, I like driving, I like traveling and when I was a kid and my dad had a truck, I always loved riding in it as opposed to my mom's regular car 'cause I loved being up high.

How does truck driving work if I'm pretty much allowed to do it as I please? Someone says "get this shipment to Fresno by Thursday the 14th" and that's that? That would be pretty nice. Because like you said, what does it matter whether I'm on the road from six in the morning 'til six PM or noon to midnight? As long as I'm there by the 14th.

Diemo wrote:How about research? You have to show up every now and again to talk to your professer, but where I work tends to be pretty relaxed about when you work.

Ooh, that's another good suggestion. I was a psych major and I loved biopsychiatry; looking at the actual physical processes of the brain as they related to psychiatric disorders, as opposed to the "tell me about your childhood" aspect. Doing studies and research and crunching numbers would be right up my alley, and more importantly, if I can come and go as I please so long as I turn in my report by X date (like assignments in school, heh), that'd be perfect. I could even handle having to be tired for the occasional scheduled research day, if I can do the brunt of my work whenever.

I'll have to call up local universities and truck driving...places to see if anything's going on.

Thanks again ^_^
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby DaBigCheez » Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:11 am UTC

I know someone who works at a hospital with a very oscillating schedule - it's not truly self-determined, but it's a job that has to be manned 24/7, and so he'll work the day shift for a week, then a week off, then the night shift for a week, then a week off - or more intermixed groupings of day/night/off in 3/4-day increments. That kind of thing.

Unfortunately, that's for a medevac helicopter pilot position, so not exactly something you can jump into with minimal training - but I know that his willingness to do that often helped with the overall schedule (other pilots much preferred "week of dayshift, week off, repeat" level of consistency, which gets interesting when people want to use vacation time...) and I'm sure there are other, less training-intensive positions at a hospital or similar that have similar schedule requirements.

Also these were 12-hour shifts, in case anyone's wondering about why there's so much apparent time off in those schedules.
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:17 am UTC

the manufaturing plant at the place i work has an interesting shift pattern, it is like the traditional 4-on/4-off pattern (4 12 hour shifts, then 4 full days off), but in those 4 on, the first 2 are one shift (either day or night) then there is a 24 hour break in the middle instead of a 12 hour break, so the other 2 shifts are the opposite.

green for on, red for off shift
DNDNDNDNDNDNDNDNDNDNDNDN
etc

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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:08 pm UTC

King Author wrote:Whoa, hey, tell me more about the truck driving. I don't know the streets of my own home city well enough, nor am I an agressive enough driver to ever make it as a taxi cab driver, but I'm masterful at long-distance trips to unknown places. Google Maps, you're a godsend!

Plus, I like driving, I like traveling and when I was a kid and my dad had a truck, I always loved riding in it as opposed to my mom's regular car 'cause I loved being up high.

How does truck driving work if I'm pretty much allowed to do it as I please? Someone says "get this shipment to Fresno by Thursday the 14th" and that's that? That would be pretty nice. Because like you said, what does it matter whether I'm on the road from six in the morning 'til six PM or noon to midnight? As long as I'm there by the 14th.
Er.. not truck driving, Truck Driving. Rig Operation. Long Distance Hauling. Operation of a 18 Wheeler. However you want to phrase it.

(Alright, take all of this with a huge grain as it's not only been years since I've looked into it, but I didn't look into it that deeply)
Spoiler:
To drive a rig, first you need the license to do so. Easiest way to do that would be to go to a school and learn how to do it there, pass the test and you're there. Driving a rig is nothing like driving a vehicle, even with a trailer. The trailer of the rig pretty much IS the rig, the pulling machine at the front is just where you sit.

There's also two ways of going about it - either you work for a particular company and drive the company issued vehicle, or you freelance and drive your own. Even the shitty rigs cost in the several tens of thousands (possibly more) and the nice ones cost in the hundreds of thousands. The one in my link, for example, is nice in that it's got a huge space in the cab - there's probably a full bed back in there. A lot of times it's closer to a cot than anything else.

As for driving, the few rig drivers I've known will spend a week or so at home, then two months or so on the road. You're legally only supposed to drive so many hours a day (ten, I think) and keep a logbook as proof. I know back in the day there used to be a bunch of truckers who essentially kept three books - the Day book (full of lies), the Night book (also full of lies) and the Real book (showing they'd been driving 20 hours a day). The Day/Night books were what you showed weight stations, cops and so on, while your real one is what you kept to yourself. The reason you'd drive 20 hours a day is because the way the payscale worked was... not exactly like this, but it's easy to think of it as... your pay starts at X, and every hour deducts Y from what you're getting paid, so the faster you get it there, the better.

I believe, though I have not confirmed, that the payscales and bookkeeping (and even rig monitoring) have changed so as to make driving more than what you're supposed to drive in a day not only hard to get away with, but not cost effective as the payscale starts with the assumption that you're only driving 10 hours a day and if you get it there early you get paid the same amount as if you got it in on time.


Alright, all that vaguely remembered stuff aside - from what I understand to make real money at it, you need to own your own rig which.. costs a shitload of money. However, I am not sure what the profit differences would be between owning your rig and just using the company one, or if it's even less of that and more of how owning your own rig allows you to haul stuff on your own terms and not have to wait around for a load to be ready.

But, you do need a license to do it first. As for what I understand on the timing of deliveries, the order is that the load has to be onsite at 1pm on the 14th. It's currently the 9th. How you choose to drive it there is up to you, but it has to be onsite at 1pm - earlier would likely just be in the way (and have you sitting on your ass for a few hours, unpaid) while late would have the warehouse guys sitting on their asses for an hour, then suddenly having to unload TWO trucks in an hour instead of one. Or however long it takes to unload one. So being on time is important, but the time you spend between point A and point B is up to you.
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby hrabanus » Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:15 pm UTC

King Author wrote:The social problems are the worst, though, aren't they? Being tired all the time at work is one thing, but neglecting friends and S.O.'s because I gotta get some sleep is so much worse.


Yeah, I do that, too. Even shopping can be complicated sometimes (there's no stores open 24/7 here).

King Author wrote:There are some upsides for me personally, though. I absolutely love it when I'm nocturnal. Being up while the rest of the world is sleeping is...there's something magical about that time.


I absolutely love nights. Very practical in summer, too. And it's also great that we actually get to see every possible time of the day (not only do we get the silence of the night, but also misty fields in the morning etc.).

King Author wrote:Too bad there aren't any high-profile cases of severe sleep disorders in the public consciousness, or celebrities making sleep disorders a public deal.


At least some webcomic authors (e.g. Jeph Jacques) sometimes note it in their blogs when they turn nocturnal again.

Stress research ususally gives me some hope, though, insofar as it seems that stress could be caused by lack of self-determination, which would allow to view stress as a political issue, too, instead of just a purely medical one. Maybe findings as these will find their way into the business world someday.

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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby BoomFrog » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:37 pm UTC

My friend is a fireman and they work 24 hours on 24 off with some extra 24hours off to make it about 40 hours a week. Obviously you sleep at the station, you just need to be ready to wake up and go. So I think that would work for you too. Pays pretty good since you're risking your life, but you're also helping people.
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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby distractedSofty » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:28 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:There are very few office jobs that have such an open schedule, but there are some that are completely open (however, I think it's something like two total companies in the US). So while an office job is pretty unlikely to have such variable hours, there are a couple.

I think that's a pretty low estimate.

As an engineer for a certain large northwest software company, my hours are probably as flexible as office work gets: it's somewhat expected that you be contactable during "office hours" if someone wants to talk to you, and of course I have a few meetings every week, but both of those things are still flexible. Coworkers who've worked for other tech companies say that other places are similar. (A certain northwest online retailer being more "strict": in the social pressure to be at work, while a certain californian advertising company being even more flexible.) I have coworkers who work nine to five, and others who work mainly at night.

So, for the vigequaternarially challenged, the tech industry is great.

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Re: Jobs with completely variable hours.

Postby acablue » Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:39 am UTC

What about transcription services? I worked at a place off campus doing (overwhelmingly tedious) legal, medical, financial, and personal transcriptions. Got paid minimum wage for the first six weeks, but after that, I got paid according to this weird algorithm that depended on how many reports I could get through in a single shift. (If I recall correctly, it was called a pay factor: hourly wage = $15x, where x = (length of the original recording) / (amount of time to transcribe it); only the very best could listen to a recording and transcribe the entire thing without pausing or backing up.)

Anyhoo, I was allowed to waltz in at any hour of the day or night, as long as I stayed for at least four hours, and I worked at least four days per week. It was a neat little system, and something to tack onto my resume. I think you can also go out and buy your own foot pedals and work from home.


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