Best part time careers or seasonal careers

I’ve been working full time for a while and I don’t think its for me. I value my free time more than money, and climbing a career ladder doesn’t interest me.

I don’t mind living like a college student, and assuming I get a condo and pay it off, invest in renewable energy, etc. I could get by for 1k a month or possibly less (excluding health care costs, which vary wildly and will increase as I age). I should come into an inheritance as I age, so that combined with my 401k savings and SS should set my retirement up.

I’d prefer to only work 2-4 days a week, maybe 20-30 hours a week. That or a full time job full of vacation time and days off. Seasonal work where I work full time 6 months out of a year, then get 6 off for example.

So what are my options? I currently have a BS in biochemistry and do not want to do a ton of expensive retraining.


I could become a teacher, I think. In some states just having an undergrad degree in science is enough. I’d get summer off, plus spring, fall and winter breaks. Yay.

Psychotherapist. I’ve thought of this, as I work on my own issues. I’ve had several therapists tell me I’d be good at it. I’d need a masters degree, but I could set my own hours and only work 20 hours a week.

Get a job in a 24/7 facility. They usually have weird schedules, not 9-5 5 days a week. Working in a 24/7 facility I could work 3-4 days a week, but they would likely be 10-12 hour days.

Gigolo. I’m currently having trouble getting women to accept my penis for free, so I don’t think they will be paying me for it anytime soon. So that is out.

Do you live in an area where the cost of living is extremely low? I made around 1k a month in college and living like that was awful.

Anyway- retail store or restaurant? Dog walker?

Amusement parks, especially more family/traditional ones, love people like you. I know a few couples and individuals who follow the seasons working the summer in the north and the winter in the south. Hours vary though - some will let you do as little as 20 hours a week but some require 40 or more. (I know a lot of school teachers who work for parks during the summer. Good money and usually a fun job)

Rough carpentry, especially if you can get certified by the Union/Guild. Between new construction and concrete forms/work (new or replacement) work is usually good and it doesn’t require the skill of finishing work. Just a lot of math.

This is assuming my mortgage is paid off, no debt, I have renewable energy (so no monthly electric bill), electric car instead of gasoline, possibly grow some of my own food, etc. Living on 1k a month when that is taken care of isn’t bad, it would give me about the same lifestyle I have now.

You could work with a Temp agency, whenever you need the cash.

Construction helper?

I hire a young man for a few hours or days here and there for $10/hr to do clean-up, sanding walls, removing wallpaper and stuff like that. He has a 40-hour-per week job in a restaurant and his hours are erratic. He appreciates the opportunity to make a bit extra when he has time.

Teach English in Asia. You won’t be making much money by American standards and won’t be putting much away for retirement, but the hours are short and flexible, and the lifestyle while you are there can be very very comfortable.

My international corporation has flexible schedules where you can work a compressed work week (e.g. 10 hour days for 4 days). The pay is good, the benefits are good, but I don’t know any company that is going to give you a ton of vacation time starting out. 2 weeks is standard for the first few years in corporate America, with a week added every 5-10 years.

Adjunct professor, though you’d have to supply or buy your own health insurance, which an be very costly.

Government worker - benefits (e.g. sick/vacation) can be outstanding

King Crab fisherman - work your ass off for 3-4 months of the year, in freezing cold temperatures, but there’s a potential for a great wage. Then you can take the rest of the year off.

Marry a rich woman.

Income tax preparation is highly seasonal. The retraining to get started is minimal, though it’s one of those areas where you can add as much additional training as you want to. Work is busiest Jan-Apr, but there are plenty of ways to keep yourself busy at it almost year-round if you build up a particular kind clientele. (Small business filers, for example, will have you busier in October than April.)

Teaching was my first thought. They get (roughly) ten weeks off in the summer, plus large breaks throughout the school year. Many teachers I know chose that career largely due to all the time off. Having said that, you have to be able and willing to put up with kids and school district bureaucracy and policies.

Another thought is what an engineer friend of mine does. He calls it “job shopping”. He’s essentially a temp engineer who gets sent around the country on temporary assignments. He typically works anywhere from a couple weeks to several months at a given location, and then has time off before his next assignment starts. He’s been to Alaska, Hawaii, San Diego, DC and all sorts of interesting places, and gets paid his wages plus per diems to eat and stay. I have another acquaintance who does the same thing as a nurse. He works temporary nursing assignments around the country. Both say they make more money and have more time off than they would working a regular job in their fields. The downside is they are away from home much of the time, but this kind of situation sounds like it might be what you are looking for.

School bus driver. Usually work 2 shifts of 2-3 each hours per day. Comes with the same days off as students without the after hours workload of a teacher. Offers opportunities to pick up additional income if desired (field trips, transporting teams to competitions, etc). My dad did this as a retirement job just to get out of the house a bit.

Tour guide? Depending on where you live that could be a thing.

If you have a good voice and acting skills, you could try your hand at voiceover work. It can pay very well, but might not get you many hours until you get better and more established. If you live in or near a big city with a lot of film & TV work, working as an extra on films might be an option.

Teaching seems to me to be a much more full-time gig than the other suggestions people have made, but that may be different where you live. Substitute teaching, however, might be a good idea.

You might want to try a combination of things to hedge your bets.

And how do you plan on getting renewable energy to your condo? I guess if its a townhouse kind of place that could work, but it might be a challenge in some places.

Delivering cars? I do this in the UK and make the equivalent of $400-$500 a week for 4 days work. If the company can’t get me a return job they will pay train/bus fares plus a bit extra for my time transiting between jobs. Plus subsistence for the occasional overnight stay in a B & B.

Many people these days seem to buy cars online and hire us to collect and deliver them. I assume similar work is available in the US?

Plus y’all have a much bigger country to play with!

Use your degree to tutor kids in the sciences? Or tutor for the SATs or other standardized tests.

You could do what Sam Elliot did and be a Lifeguard.

Or you could do what Sam Elliot does, and be a part time actor.

Ever considered the world of wineries? There is a metric shitload of chemistry involved in the commercial side of winemaking. I breifly dated a woman who was a BS Chemistry lab tech who did a bunch of sampling and testing of wines watching for issues with the batches. Winemaking has a definite seasonal slant and I am sure that crush time does involve more load on the lab types.

We seem to have similar educations and life goals (carpe diem). Here are a few jobs I have had.

  1. Fisheries Observer. Working for NOAA as the scientific officer aboard commercial fishing boats. Most of the job is keeping track of the all the stuff they kill and throw overboard dead. But also stoping them from murdering stuff they are not supposed to murder, gathering data on marine mammals, birds, turtles, and doing some safety stuff for the Coast Gaurd.

Sign up for ninety days at a time. A rough three months. But the pay is ok (6-7k a month…and nowhere to spend it). So many just work one contract a year and spend the other 9 months is Costa Rica or some such. Most of the work is in summer and winter.

Qualifications are, a biology degree (or biochem, or botany, or…)

Also a good job for finding other similar jobs (terrestrial biology, forestry) that do not involve living on stinking fishing boats)

  1. Medical Laboratory Scientist - what I do now

Working is a hospital basement running tests. Microbiology, blood bank, hematology, clinical chemistry, molecular technology. Bloody boring. But, I work 6 days on then get 8 full days off. And take a couple extra weeks of vacation a year on top of that. So 28+ weeks off a year.

Pay varies by state $100k year in California to $35k a year in New Mexico. (I am in far northern CA now…not sure I like it though)

Requirements - a degree in Medical Laboratory Science. I went to Idaho State Univerisity Boise for mine. Admission was not competitive, they waived all prerequisites since I already had a bio degree, and they waived out of state tuition. Takes 9 months plus an two month internship for another B.S. or 18 months for a Masters. Most of the classes are available online, so it is fully possible to only be in Idaho for a week here and there.

Take care. If either sound good, ask anything.


A few I could take a stab at:

lifeguard is obvious

Activities guide – enjoy kayaking, scuba diving, hiking, etc?

RN – nurses can work very part time if they desire, and the pay for part time nurses is pretty damn good. A little rough on the retraining part but doable.

Paramedic – see RN above

I had a friend in college do a fishery job, but I don’t remember much about what he said about it. I can look into that.

What is up with the 6 on, 8 off schedule? I knew another guy (coworker at a different job) who worked I think a 7 on, 7 off schedule (or 6 on 8 off, I can’t remember). Are those 11 hour days? Do you work something like Thursday through tuesday, then not go back until thursday of the next week?