Working hours

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Working hours

Postby benrules380 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:03 am UTC

Alright, I looked around and I think that this is the right board to post this on, but let me know if there is another one that would be more appropriate

So I was having a discussion with some of my family when the topic turned to how staying up late can't lead to success. I personally stay up late, but I am also a 19 year old college student working part time, so it isn't really pertinent to this discussion. The question is: Are there careers where people stay up late and still be successful? I know that executives and things like that really high in companies of course work in the day, but I'm sure that there are jobs that pay in the higher bounds of pay that happen at night? What do people in these forums do for work at night. Preferably things that pay like at least $70,000, and if there are things in the mid - upper 6 figures that would be even better. And if you don't personally have one of these jobs, but know somebody with one or of someone that has a high paying late night job, that would be great too.

Any info would be appreciated, because I don't like having arguments that I don't have enough evidence to be sure I'll win. Thanks!
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Re: Working hours

Postby LaserGuy » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:33 am UTC

benrules380 wrote:Alright, I looked around and I think that this is the right board to post this on, but let me know if there is another one that would be more appropriate

So I was having a discussion with some of my family when the topic turned to how staying up late can't lead to success. I personally stay up late, but I am also a 19 year old college student working part time, so it isn't really pertinent to this discussion. The question is: Are there careers where people stay up late and still be successful? I know that executives and things like that really high in companies of course work in the day, but I'm sure that there are jobs that pay in the higher bounds of pay that happen at night? What do people in these forums do for work at night. Preferably things that pay like at least $70,000, and if there are things in the mid - upper 6 figures that would be even better. And if you don't personally have one of these jobs, but know somebody with one or of someone that has a high paying late night job, that would be great too.

Any info would be appreciated, because I don't like having arguments that I don't have enough evidence to be sure I'll win. Thanks!


Let me think...

Aviation is probably a good place to start. Pilots work very irregular hours and make very good money. Air traffic controllers likewise. Of course, most of them do work daylight hours, but there's certainly a big group that would be working night shifts.

Emergency medicine is similar--there's doctors, nurses, paramedics, etc. working all hours of the night. Realistically, a hospital is going to be staffed 24/7, although the numbers at night will probably just be down.

There are various industries that pretty much run exclusively at night--if you are working at a casino, probably any job you take is going to be mostly nights. I don't know if anything there is likely to get into the pay ranges you're looking at though.

Pastry chefs apparently work very irregular hours, because if you want to have fresh croissants out for the 6:00 am customers, you'll be making them at 3 or 4 am. Again, for the most part the salary probably isn't at the level you're looking for.

[edit]Of course, many factories, oil rigs, etc. will also have night shifts. The pay on oil rigs in particular can easily be in the high five figures, or even six figures.
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Re: Working hours

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:43 am UTC

Bartenders can make upwards of $70k at high-end, high-volume venues, such as resorts. So, y'know, stereotypical night-person jobs aren't necessarily 'unsuccessful'.

Even stereotypically 'successful' jobs can call for long nights. Doctors are frequently on call for very long hours, especially ER physicians with a median salary of around $250k.
In addition, international financial markets are open basically 24 hours a day between U.S., European and Asian exchanges. There are wall street traders whose jobs involve keeping an eye on the international markets over-night.

And there are plenty of other night-time professions to consider. The median salary for astronomers is ~$87k for example.
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Re: Working hours

Postby Save Point » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:33 am UTC

You could become a lawyer and maximize your billable hours by working late, late, late into the night.

Laaaaate.

I'm kind of joking. But, really, if you wanted to go into BigLaw...
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Re: Working hours

Postby Angua » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:04 am UTC

High-end chefs can be pretty well paid and tend to work nights.
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Re: Working hours

Postby Ulc » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:24 am UTC

Angua wrote:High-end chefs can be pretty well paid and tend to work nights.


Or more accurately, high-end chefs tends to work nights, days, weekends, Christmas, new years and any time not strictly needed for the four hours sleep per night. And usually they aren't in the high pay regimen either. There's a reason it's an occupation with shockingly high suicide rates.

Anyway, on topic.

If you want to find work that pays well at night, there's generally two options: Take a normally well paid job that needs someone on the job 24 hours per day and focus on the night shifts - doctors, pilots and so on, like other people in this thread has said.

The other is to make your own job, start a company for yourself, or join a smallish company that don't really care when you do the job. One of the suppliers I'm dealing with regularly always, without exceptions, sends the bills in the middle of the night, and has made it perfectly clear that calling him before 11 will result in much confusion because I'll wake him up if I do that. Everything that requires interacting with people for the job is done in the afternoon - paperwork is done in the evening/night.

Of course, small companies don't really pay all that well - and starting your own business generally requires not just day work, but both day and night for a very long time.

More realistically - realize that this is a pointless argument. What works for you right now is extremely likely to change soon, give it a couple of years, and then your preference for being up late is extremely likely to have changed.
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Re: Working hours

Postby Hyphe » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:51 pm UTC

There's a difference between 'working late at night' and 'working long hours' (or 'not sleeping enough'). I work in (a very well-paid branch of) the IT industry, and the development team I'm on have agreed to not mind at what time work is done; one of my colleagues works his standard 40-hours-a-week but often does it between the hours of sunset and sunrise, because that's just how his body clock works.

But he's still getting *enough* sleep; from the way the OP has phrased it, it seems like one side of the argument might be "staying up late when you have to get up in the morning cannot lead to success". Which, while generally true, is highly dependant on the person; some people need lots of sleep, and some need hardly any (Margaret Thatcher was notorious for only needing a few hours a night). Also, I agree with Ulc's last point. I've not met anyone who's natural sleeping patterns didn't change at least a little during their early-to-mid-twenties.
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Re: Working hours

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:14 pm UTC

If you start your own business, not staying up late is how you don't succeed, as it means you are not working enough.
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Re: Working hours

Postby LaserGuy » Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:22 pm UTC

It's worth noting that, working a vampire shift where you sleep in the day and work at night works okay if you are on your own, but will require some careful accommodation if you want to have a long-term relationship or marriage. And if you want to have kids, well, good luck making that work.
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Re: Working hours

Postby benrules380 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:40 pm UTC

Hyphe wrote:But he's still getting *enough* sleep; from the way the OP has phrased it, it seems like one side of the argument might be "staying up late when you have to get up in the morning cannot lead to success". Which, while generally true, is highly dependant on the person; some people need lots of sleep, and some need hardly any (Margaret Thatcher was notorious for only needing a few hours a night).


That is a big part of it, because for me personally I don't need any more than 6 hours of sleep to be able to be fully awake and aware for the full day; and I know a few people that get even less and are actually active.


Hyphe wrote:Also, I agree with Ulc's last point. I've not met anyone who's natural sleeping patterns didn't change at least a little during their early-to-mid-twenties.


Also this. I think that it is perfectly acceptable to stay up later in early life while working and doing other things. But I expect most people who do that probably move to more regular sleep schedules as they get older because of both relationships and having less to do at night, not including those that have jobs at night of course.
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Re: Working hours

Postby Rageous » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:37 pm UTC

Power plant operators generally work a shift rotation and make excellent money ($60k-$100k+). A little further up the operational food chain, "Dispatchers", who sit in air conditioned control rooms and push buttons to control the power grid instead of turning wrenches, can make a bit more. If you're in school for an engineering discipline, I can pretty much guarantee you can find a position with an electric utility company.
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Re: Working hours

Postby Choboman » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:15 pm UTC

Just looking back on personal experience, I'd suggest that most (though presumably not all) people who claim that they only need 4 - 6 hours of sleep per night either haven't really tried the alternative, or will find that as they get into middle age they'll find that they start needing more.

From college through my late twenties I averaged about 6 hours a night, convinced that it was all I needed. But as I got closer to thirty I started observing side effects - memory retention, attention span, slower reactions, depression. Not sure if this was a function of age or just the accumulated months and years of sleep debt finally catching up. When I started sleeping more, I was amazed at how much more effective and efficient I could be. Just because you're functional with 5 hours rest, doesn't mean that you wouldn't be even more effective if you had 8.

To respond to the original question about working days vs. nights... While you're just an individual worker, it's often possible to set your own hours. When you work your way into management, it's often important to be on site during normal business hours, so you can meet face to face with teammates, customers, bosses, etc. So if you plan on climbing the corporate ladder you'll probably need to make some accomodation to whatever the rest of the company does.
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Re: Working hours

Postby AvatarIII » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:26 pm UTC

Choboman wrote:Just looking back on personal experience, I'd suggest that most (though presumably not all) people who claim that they only need 4 - 6 hours of sleep per night either haven't really tried the alternative, or will find that as they get into middle age they'll find that they start needing more.



my dad is 66 this year and he is finding he needs less and less sleep after sleeping for only 4 or 5 hours every night for over 40 years. so obviously not everyone is the same.
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Re: Working hours

Postby induction » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:59 pm UTC

Some studies (here's one) have indicated that older people (60 - 72 years, in this study) sleep less than younger people (18-32, in this study). Whether they need less sleep or are less capable of deep sleep is debated (I'm no expert). I personally slept 4 -5 hours/night until I was about 35, then found that I needed more to concentrate during they day. Other things changed around the same time (diet, rates/types of chemical ingestion, etc.), so I can't necessarily attribute it to age only. Everyone I've asked over 60 years has told me they started sleeping less around that age, but that's not a huge sample.
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Re: Working hours

Postby Gear » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:11 pm UTC

Any type of freelance work (journalism, coding, what have you) will have hours set by you (although, of course, there is the fact that while there are some people who become very wealthy as freelancers, it's not (for obvious reasons) exactly the most stable way of employment).

On the 'working with ~6 hours of sleep' front, some professions (like airplane pilots) have very strict rules about how long they can work with so and so hours of sleep for precisely this reason - they make more mistakes when they work too long without sleep.
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Re: Working hours

Postby Lady Amarynth » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:12 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:It's worth noting that, working a vampire shift where you sleep in the day and work at night works okay if you are on your own, but will require some careful accommodation if you want to have a long-term relationship or marriage. And if you want to have kids, well, good luck making that work.


Some people even manage to work nights and have a family life. I know several women who work night shifts in the hospital, so they get home when the kids get up and eat breakfast with them. Then they go to bed while the kids are at school and get up in time for sharing the late afternoon/evening with the family. When the husband goes to bed, the woman is off to work. And working nights usually comes with some sort of special compensation moneywise.
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Re: Working hours

Postby omgryebread » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:29 am UTC

A lot of daytime jobs seem to require staying up to have success. People who have succeeded in business, law, and government all probably stayed up late working on stuff. A professor who's given some of us advice on law school said you'll have to study, sleep, and work, but you only have time for two of those.

Even executives with supernice corner offices might have to stay up late to seal a deal with a partner in China or prepare a presentation to investors.

My father is a chief engineer in the merchant marines. At least one engineer has to be awake at all times, so obviously that requires someone take a night watch. Now that my father is a chief he doesn't have to take watches, but he still works 16 hour days, and might get woken up in the middle of the night anyway. A 3rd engineer (the lowest level of license in the engine department) can earn over 70k a year (depends on how much time you ship out). As a chief on a 150 meter ship, dad earns a good bit over $100,000 a year while also being on vacation for about half the year.
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Re: Working hours

Postby Cryomancer20x6 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:03 am UTC

I work nights as a machinist which can be *great* money - if you're in it for the long haul for a single company. You'll start off pretty much at a "market rate," but as your knowledge and skill increases you become more valuable to the company and, hence, are paid more (more or less like every profession in that regard). I think that it's an awesome career to have that can actually be a lot of fun if you like to work with both your hands and your brain. The vast majority of what I do is program CNC machines to make various things and then, well, make them. More on topic, machine shops usually run 24/7 if they are production based and night shifts are common. Being a purveyor of this forum you may enjoy the programming aspect of it.
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Re: Working hours

Postby weasel@xkcd » Fri May 11, 2012 4:18 pm UTC

Well the three classic big income careers (Doctors, Lawyers and Investment Bankers) tend to work very very long hours, often late into the night.

If you just want staying up late then I think medicine probably takes the cake. From reading the AMA Safe Hours significant numbers of medical practitioners fall into the high risk catagory for working hours. This means an average of 79 hours a weeks worked (with a range from 50 to 113) with a 18 hour shifts and 3 or more days on call (meaning that at any point you can be called back into the hospital) not uncommon. I think it's fair to say that staying up late is nothing less than a prequisite for success in medicine. Note that all these hours are on top of the study required to pass professional exams.
As far as salaries go, specialists earn an average of 200-400k and it's no coincidence that specialists (and especially specialists in training) are also the doctors most likely to pull long hours, get stuck on call and be scheduled for night shifts.

Investment banking often requires (particularly for first or second year analysts) 80+ hour weeks and you can expect to be glued to your phone when you're 'not working' in case your managing director decides he wants the merger projections run yet again (yes, the reason you're getting calls from your MD at 3am is because he hasn't left the office yet). Plus with greater global communicationa and integration of markets you can be executing deals much later than every used to be the case (particularyl if a client works on a different time zone).

Lawyers, well I don't know as much about law but my understanding is that to make it in a big firm (i.e. to be successful and earn a 'good' salary) you have to be willing to work 60-70 hours a week on average (obviously more when deadlines approach and less when they're not). This is especially true these days with the huge oversupply of legal graduates which means it's really easy for big firms to sign you on as an articles clerk and absolutely ride you into the ground before letting you anywhere near position as a partner. Not that life's much easier as a partner (just better paid), I was staying with my uncle for a couple of months last year and I can count the number of times he got in before 12 on my fingers.

So yeah, I'd say lack of sleep something you're gonna have to get through before you 'succeed'
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Re: Working hours

Postby maydayp » Fri May 11, 2012 8:55 pm UTC

I wonder what your parents mean by staying up late? I know my mother and grandmother question me staying up past 11pm (and really I cannot sleep before 10pm) or later, and I would get pressured when I was still in school to go to bed at 9pm. But I worked it out in the last few years, that it's not unrealistic, depending on the hours you work, to have a sleep/work scheduled that allows you to stay up late.
here's how it works, assuming you get up before you go to work, and need 8 hours of sleep:
time to wake up|| latest time to go to bed
12am, midnight || 4pm
1am || 5pm
2am || 6pm
3am || 7pm
4am || 8pm
5am || 9pm
6am || 10pm
7am || 11pm
8am || 12am midnight
9am || 1am

10am || 2am
11am || 3am
12pm Noon || 4am
etc.
the thing about this list is it assumes that you will go to sleep at that time. but it's still something to keep in mind. because, with nine to five jobs (or later) you can safely stay up later then most people think, and still get enough sleep and be successful.
sadly I'm stuck at a job where I have to work at 5 am, and I wake up at 3am (personal choice I could get up at 4am).
When I didn't have to wake up that early I would stay up as late as I wanted because I didn't have to worry about sleep.
if you were looking for a career where you could set your own hours, you could be a councilor/therapist (truthfully I bet there is a demand for good therapists who will see people out side of the 9 to 5 day). you could work as a tech support ( I don't know how much they make), or at a help desk. you could become a hotel desk clerk, or apartment manager (the live in ones).
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