What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

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destin
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What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by destin »

In the US, it feels like there are two types of jobs. The one to the right is a high stress, high pressure, decent to high income job. The one to the left is the low pay, low salary, low skill job where you might actually pay to work.

The middle? I'm uncertain how that is done here.

Let's say you have a passion about something that you became an expert at it. It's something you might have gotten a degree or three in. You don't want to work in a job that puts you in stress for that extra % of money. But you also want to use your degree or education or passion but in a much more casual atmosphere. Go in when you want. Go out when you want. Take a day or week or month off when you feel like it.

How does this work in the US? Maybe I'm having bad luck in looking but why doesn't this kind of work seem more common? Is there a law that prevents employers form hiring causal workers to do highly skilled work?
HIinvestor
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by HIinvestor »

I’ve never heard of many employers who are fine with employees coming in when they feel like it and taking as frequent and long vacations as they choose. If one owns the company, I suppose one could have more control over hours and vacations but most jobs aren’t created that way. Where have you lived where that type of job pays well and exists? I’m sure many would be interested in having that much control and flexibility and money in their job.
runner540
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by runner540 »

destin wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:08 am How does this work in the US? Maybe I'm having bad luck in looking but why doesn't this kind of work seem more common? Is there a law that prevents employers form hiring causal workers to do highly skilled work?
I don't know of any laws preventing this. Have you looked into contract/temp work or starting your own business, so you have control over your schedule?

Think about it this way - why should an employer commit to pay you a certain amount, provide you with a desk, benefits, etc., and give you all the flexibility? Some employees have this kind of gig, but it's rare, and to negotiate that flexibility, they have to need you more than you need them.
livesoft
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by livesoft »

Post-doctoral research fellow. Post-docs certainly go in when they want and take off when they want. :)
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Watty
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by Watty »

I have heard of nurses that worked part time when they wanted to. They worked for agencies that would send in temporary nurses when they were needed like when some other nurse was on vacation.

There are also jobs like computer programming where people will do contract work for a few months at a time when they are needed for a project.

There is also seasonal work like at ski resorts that may only need people part of the year.

These would all be working on the employers schedule though.
Jay987
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by Jay987 »

If you do have expertise and experience that you believe to be useful, it might make sense to consider freelance consulting and advisory space. Take a look online at companies like catalant or glg which are acting as online brokers for such services.
maddogio
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by maddogio »

livesoft wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:29 am Post-doctoral research fellow. Post-docs certainly go in when they want and take off when they want. :)
The NIH required that I carefully account for my time worked. I rarely worked less than 60hrs/wk.
raisinsaregrapes
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by raisinsaregrapes »

I'm working my way towards airline pilot. Currently a military pilot, and after flying missions around the world and in combat all my friends and mentors say flying for the airlines is easy, no-stress, and pays great (at the mainlines). The path to get there can be long and stressful though.
bb
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by bb »

That job description to me sounds like someone who owns
a company and has professional management running it.
Rupert
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by Rupert »

destin wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:08 am In the US, it feels like there are two types of jobs. The one to the right is a high stress, high pressure, decent to high income job. The one to the left is the low pay, low salary, low skill job where you might actually pay to work.

The middle? I'm uncertain how that is done here.

Let's say you have a passion about something that you became an expert at it. It's something you might have gotten a degree or three in. You don't want to work in a job that puts you in stress for that extra % of money. But you also want to use your degree or education or passion but in a much more casual atmosphere. Go in when you want. Go out when you want. Take a day or week or month off when you feel like it.

How does this work in the US? Maybe I'm having bad luck in looking but why doesn't this kind of work seem more common? Is there a law that prevents employers form hiring causal workers to do highly skilled work?
You would need to own your own business or work as an independent contractor. I'm not really sure that this is unique to the US. Where else in the world can you do this as an employee, as opposed to as an independent contractor? [Edited to note that I do know a couple of highly-educated guys who sorta work only when they want and only on projects they want to work on: one is a computer guy who sets up VPNs for businesses and government agencies and the other is a graphic designer. Both work from home most of the time and only take on as many projects as they need/want to maintain their lifestyles.]
Last edited by Rupert on Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
livesoft
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by livesoft »

maddogio wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:55 am
livesoft wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:29 am Post-doctoral research fellow. Post-docs certainly go in when they want and take off when they want. :)
The NIH required that I carefully account for my time worked. I rarely worked less than 60hrs/wk.
Don't get paid by NIH then. ;)

I will also add that there is a big difference between a Post-doc that wants a better job after that and one that doesn't care.
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destin
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by destin »

Is this really that difficult to do? The replies here make it sound like it's not very common and shouldn't be common.

If someone has a bit of extra work, why can't they ask someone to help them with it for a bit? The ones I've seen have policies which prevent that except I can't figure out why those policies exist.

Who has this flexibility? Construction laborer, some restaurant workers, Uber driver.
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Pajamas
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by Pajamas »

Consider working with an agency that specializes in placing temporary workers in your field. Some of the stresses that come with a permanent position are eliminated and you can either leave when your contract is over or whenever you want if there is no contract. There are some stresses that come with being a temp but in my opinion they are less than those that come with being a permanent employee on a day-to-day basis.

Another option is to act as a contractor working from home. You are given work to do and a deadline but accomplish it on your own schedule without direct daily supervision.
adamthesmythe
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by adamthesmythe »

livesoft wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:29 am Post-doctoral research fellow. Post-docs certainly go in when they want and take off when they want. :)
More like go in when they have to and leave only when they're done.

But it's true that usually there are no fixed hours. Faculty positions are the same way. Your only real fixed obligation is to meet classes and not miss too many office hours. The rest of the work can be done almost anywhere, anytime. No one tracks your hours, you are judged only on results. One lucky break that comes quickly can set you up for a leisurely career; on the other hand many extra hours and very hard work may yield nothing and an unfavorable promotion decision.
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by mouses »

Artist, musician.
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by student »

destin wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:08 am Go in when you want. Go out when you want. Take a day or week or month off when you feel like it.
These few sentences, in particular the last one, make finding such a job extremely difficult. If you relax it to having a flexible schedule, then it opens up more opportunities. Since you mentioned multiple degrees, teaching part time at a local university may be a possibility. The pay is usually low though. However, it is unionized, then the pay is somewhat better.
Teague
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by Teague »

OP,

You mention such jobs seem uncommon in the US. I would agree.

Allow me to reverse the question please: Are there places you know of where such work is common? If so, what sort of work, and where is it available?
You mention construction and some restaurant workers, but I am not aware of being able to show up at a job site or restaurant whenever I want to and start working until I feel like leaving that day. Thanks.
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sunny_socal
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by sunny_socal »

I think there are several "work from home" type jobs that fit the bill:
- Engineering consultant
- Human resources consultant
- Medical transcribing
- Programmer

Those can be "full time" even, but you're working on your own time and your own space. I know a guy who's an engineer and lives in WI but works for a CA company. My wife has worked on the HR side, did interviews and reviewed resumes etc. You can't stop working for days at a time and generally you must spend some time online each day, but the hourly schedule is flexible.

If you have enough $$ put aside then you can certainly take some time off. It helps to have no debt.
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BolderBoy
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by BolderBoy »

destin wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:57 am Is this really that difficult to do? The replies here make it sound like it's not very common and shouldn't be common.

If someone has a bit of extra work, why can't they ask someone to help them with it for a bit? The ones I've seen have policies which prevent that except I can't figure out why those policies exist.
Employment laws in the USA may make it unattractive to hire folks into W-2 positions such as you are seeking. There are front-loaded taxes paid by the employer for each employee and if the employer doesn't think s/he is getting its money value for the costs, they simply won't hire you.

You might seek out temporary, 1099 contract work in your special field but be advised - in the USA employers value highly, workers who come across as motivated and eager to work.
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by randomguy »

BolderBoy wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:16 pm
destin wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:57 am Is this really that difficult to do? The replies here make it sound like it's not very common and shouldn't be common.

If someone has a bit of extra work, why can't they ask someone to help them with it for a bit? The ones I've seen have policies which prevent that except I can't figure out why those policies exist.
Employment laws in the USA may make it unattractive to hire folks into W-2 positions such as you are seeking. There are front-loaded taxes paid by the employer for each employee and if the employer doesn't think s/he is getting its money value for the costs, they simply won't hire you.

You might seek out temporary, 1099 contract work in your special field but be advised - in the USA employers value highly, workers who come across as motivated and eager to work.
It is more than that. Managing 4 people to do the job of 1 is a lot more work. And 4 people working 10 hours tend to have problems doing the work of 1 person working 40 as the communication required tends to slow thing down. There are exceptions (i.e. if your workload is split into individual cases like a doctor seeing a patient or a lawyer dealing with a client. Compare that to having to deal with a say 10 accountants to file your taxes. You would be repeating yourself constantly).

There are part time work for highly skilled individuals for bussiness that only need the expert part time/limited time but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule. In a way it is too bad. I know tons of people who would love to work 24-30 hours/week but given the choice between 0 and 40 pick 0.
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by mega317 »

Lots of physician jobs like that if you do shift work. The available shifts are more likely to be off hours, though. Maybe WCI has insight there.

One could also make the argument that a physician working whenever they want still works in a high pressure job.
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onthecusp
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by onthecusp »

OP's description of "expert" and "degree or three" sure sounds ripe for being a consultant.

Your not an employee, you have to sell yourself to one or more clients as an expert worth whatever rate you feel like charging. You do your own insurance, billing, etc. You charge your clients for that up to what the market will bear by setting a rate high enough to cover it, generally about 150% of the equivalent hourly wage for a full time worker. More if you are really skilled or a really good salesperson. It is not really casual with these hoops but it is not much more work than providing weekly reports to a boss as an employee.

This would apply to engineering, management, accounting, finance, economics, well drilling, welding, technology, etc., etc, etc. What field are you in?

In edit, it is very common in many fields. Managers, particularly in manufacturing organizations, often have wide latitude to hire experts for part time work that is outside the expertise of their regular employees.
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by Valuethinker »

destin wrote: Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:08 am In the US, it feels like there are two types of jobs. The one to the right is a high stress, high pressure, decent to high income job. The one to the left is the low pay, low salary, low skill job where you might actually pay to work.

The middle? I'm uncertain how that is done here.

Let's say you have a passion about something that you became an expert at it. It's something you might have gotten a degree or three in. You don't want to work in a job that puts you in stress for that extra % of money. But you also want to use your degree or education or passion but in a much more casual atmosphere. Go in when you want. Go out when you want. Take a day or week or month off when you feel like it.

How does this work in the US? Maybe I'm having bad luck in looking but why doesn't this kind of work seem more common? Is there a law that prevents employers form hiring causal workers to do highly skilled work?
Computer techie types often have a series of short contracts. You will work very hard when your contracts are live, and you will spend time developing contacts, making proposals etc. when they are not. But you can take 3-4 weeks off at a go and go surfing etc.

A big challenge is keeping your skills current and up to date. Granted, there are good roles for legacy tech skills-- COBOL was very valuable around the Millennium (Y2K) for example. But tech skills obsolete at an estimated rate of something like 50% every 5 years (your "half life" of technological expertise).

Similar highly specialized technical roles. You might be the only person who can service medical oscilloscopes, or schinkelgrubers.

I imagine something like a tax CPA, where you are brought in to advise clients at peak times. You have to have built up a track record though.

Generally contract work is feast or famine. You have to make the days you are working pay for the days you are not. But you have more control over when you work and how you work.
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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by Earl Lemongrab »

I have a friend who's a retired VP from Megacorp. He works as a consultant and his situation is somewhat like what you describe. However, he doesn't "go in" to an office at all. He meets occasionally with interested parties and shares his expertise. He's flying out to the southwest to consult with some labs there. He got started with some "experts" website. I'm not sure which one.

The key is that he doesn't care about the money. It's interesting to him.
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The529guy
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Re: What kind of skilled casual work is out there (US)?

Post by The529guy »

If you truly want "no commitment" work, can always do Mechanical Turk tasks: https://www.mturk.com/get-started

The pay might be an issue, though.
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