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10 Jobs That Aren't Your Typical 9-to-5

Anthony Balderrama, writer

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9 to 5

A strict schedule where you clock in at 9 a.m. and clock out at 5 p.m. is ideal for some professionals. You can schedule events easily when you know that you're busy for only those eight hours.

Not everyone can do that or even wants to. Routine doesn't sit well with some people who like a little variety in their lives. For other people, that particular eight-hour block of time conflicts with other plans. School, family obligations and part-time jobs often mean working 9 to 5 is impossible. Of course, just because these jobs have different hours than most others, don't think they're easy jobs.

If you'd prefer to have a schedule that offers different hours, here are 10 jobs to consider:

1. Chefs and bakers
You might not eat lunch until noon, but someone had to start preparing it long before you sat down. Chefs get up early to get the freshest ingredients from local markets and to start chopping vegetables and marinating dishes so they'll be ready for you. Bakers also need time to make all those delicious baked goods you scarf down in a few seconds. While you were still snoozing, a baker was making those pastries you picked up on the way to work. The next time you pass by a restaurant or bakery that is closed in the middle of the day, realize that they were working long before you were.

2.  Construction workers
Construction work is tough for many reasons, one being the weather. Imagine wearing protective gear while building a skyscraper on a hot summer afternoon. To avoid spending their entire day in dangerous heat, construction crews often start working before the sun rises so they can be done early. It's safer for them and means they're heading home before most 9-to-5 workers call it a day.

3.  Emergency room nurses
You can't schedule an emergency, so we're glad ERs are open around the clock all year long. Naturally, no single nurse can cover every shift alone -- and they're often long shifts -- so someone needs to be there during the day, late at night and in the morning.

4. Firefighters
Fires don't just occur during normal business hours. Firefighters need to be available 24 hours a day, so they have different shifts to ensure someone is ready to help out when a call comes. Certain departments have schedules that require firefighters to work for a certain set of days but then be off for the following three days. You're still working a lot of hours but you're not sticking to a standard workday.

5. Hair stylists
Hair stylists need to be available to clients when it's convenient for them, and not everyone can sneak away for an hour or two during the day to get a haircut. And you probably don't want a groggy stylist holding a pair of scissors at 6 a.m. just so you can get an appointment before work. That's why many salons don't open until late morning but then stay open until late evening. As a result, they're working when many other people aren't, so you can make an appointment.

6. News reporters
The news might last only 30 minutes, but a lot of work goes into those stories. The reporters you see on morning shows get up at absurdly early hours just to be able to give you a story while you get ready for work. The reporters on the evening news when you get home were gathering information all day while you were at work.

7. Pilots
Try to imagine how difficult traveling would be if you could fly only between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Not only are pilots flying planes at various hours, they're also crossing time zones and datelines on flights that can go well beyond eight hours.

8. Professors
Some professors teach only day courses, so their workday might not look that different from yours. But others teach in the evenings as well, so they might have a six-hour gap between their morning class for undergraduates and their evening class for grad students. Plus, grading papers and holding office hours mean work well beyond the hours they spend in a classroom.

9. Retail sales clerks
When you buy clothes, groceries or even a car, you probably don't do it during the middle of a workday. Retail salespeople work evenings and weekends so you can buy what you need without having to leave the office.

10. Security guards
When everyone leaves their 9-to-5 jobs, someone has to make sure the office is secure all night. Security guards patrol the grounds to ensure that no one gets in the building and they alert the police if something goes wrong. Of course, you can find security guards at banks and stores that are open only during standard business hours, too.

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow him on Twitter at 

Last Updated: 23/12/2009 - 12:13 PM

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