Between work and personal responsibilities, achieving work-life balance can be difficult. In a perfect world, the demands of your dream job and personal life would be balanced. That means you wouldn’t have to miss your child’s baseball game or neglect your personal to-do lists.
According to staffing and employment agency Robert Half, more professionals say work-life balance has improved — rather than worsened — over the last few years. However, some careers make reaching the perfect work-life balance tougher than others. So consider carefully which industry to go into if you want to have a better work-life balance like these CEOs.
Click through to read more about ways to change your career and land your dream job.
You’d be hard-pressed to find any job that doesn’t occasionally take up your personal time. However, some jobs are notorious for it. The following are some of the worst jobs for work-life balance because they often involve overtime or out-of-the-ordinary working hours, taking workers away from their family and friends for long stretches of time. And often, the pay is far from enough to make up the difference.
The work never seems to end at some jobs. That’s certainly true for careers within the marketing and creative industries. Marketing and creative professionals have to keep pace with an industry that’s evolving quickly, which can consume a lot of time, said Brett Good, senior district president with Robert Half.
“The creative industry, in general, is not a 9-to-5 profession,” Good said. “People often put in long hours during campaign launches and other busy periods.”
If you’re looking for more balance in these industries, try to find jobs that let you work from home either full time or on a freelance basis. These positions might include graphic designer, copywriter or proofreader, which offer a better balance, according to Good.
Median salary: $119,250
A career at a major law firm usually means working a lot of overtime. That often means you need to say goodbye to weekends and hello to missing out on significant life events, such as a family vacation or school plays — no matter what state you work in.
“Whether lawyers are just starting out or have worked their way up the law firm career ladder, it can be difficult to achieve work-life balance due to the pressure of meeting billable hours requirements and the immediate demands of clients or caseloads,” Good said.
The industry is looking up for lawyers, however. According to Good, law firms are offering more programs, such as flex-time, reduced schedules and telecommuting to help their employees achieve greater work-life balance.
“Some law firms are offering non partnership-track positions — career associate or staff attorney, to name a couple — that require less travel, lower billable hours targets and no staff management or business development requirements,” he said.
Median salary: $208,000
You’ll certainly make a lot of money in this high-paying career, but it will come at a price.
Working as a surgeon involves the care of patients in possible life-and-death situations. Burnout is very common because of the demands of the job and the inability to not turn off the surgeon “switch.” In many instances, surgeons take their work home with them and often are on call for surgery.
A better option might be to practice family medicine. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, these professionals report a positive balance between career and home. The annual salary for family and general practitioners is $198,740, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Median salary: $124,170
Trying to get on the same page with family and friends could be difficult for those working in pharmacy. Pharmacists often have to work night hours, weekends and holidays, especially those working in a hospital or in a retail pharmacy that is open around the clock.
Forget being home for dinner or catching the kids before bedtime if you’re one of the pharmacists who works one of these less-than-appealing shifts. To improve your work-life balance, try for a job at a pharmacy that isn’t open 24 hours a day. You also can pursue another pharmaceutical route and work for companies like Johnson & Johnson or Eli Lilly, which offer a positive work-life balance, according to Glassdoor.
Median salary: $183,270
Being the head honcho can be synonymous with power, as you have final say over everything. However, power has no influence over work-life balance in many instances.
You would think it would be the opposite, but moving up the career ladder could mean additional stress and responsibilities and less time for yourself and family. There might be a feeling of needing to do more or be the problem solver, which can make it hard to step away.
In recent years, major players in large companies have made headlines for stepping down from their positions to spend more time with their families. For example, Google’s former senior vice president and chief financial officer Patrick Pichette stepped down from his position in 2015.
If you want a management-style role, Glassdoor ranked strategy manager and technical account manager as two management positions with a good work-life balance in its 2016 report.
Median salary: $23,370
When you apply for a retail position, you’re basically volunteering to work unfavorable hours. If you work for a major retailer, expect to see night, weekend and holiday hours on your schedule.
Finding balance between work and personal time might become a little challenging, especially around the holidays.
According to Monster, working long hours is standard procedure for many retail professionals, whether as a sales associate or store manager. You might have better hours working for a locally owned store.
Working in Retail: State Minimum Wage Increases Across America for 2017
Median salary: $24,920
Vacationing for a living might sound like a dream come true. After all, you’re getting paid to see the world. If only the travel industry were as glamorous as it sounds, particularly when it comes to your personal time.
According to Dylan Gallagher, tour guide at the San Francisco tour company Orange Sky Adventures, a tour guide’s work-life balance is tough.
“Although we are seeing the incredible destinations of America, for a lot of our year, we spend [it] on the road, away from family and friends,” he said.
That means not always being there for family. You also run into the possibility of never having enough time to plan your own vacation with those who you wish to spend it with. If you like the industry but aren’t interested in mandatory travel requirements, consider a job as a travel booking agent at a location close to home.
Restaurant and Beverage Worker
Cook median salary: $23,970
Supervisors of cooks and servers median salary: $52,030
Server median salary: $20,820
Forget a 9-to-5 workday in the restaurant and beverage scene. You can bet you’ll work nights and weekends and will be picking up others’ shifts, whether you’re a manager, cook or server.
It’s hard to plan or even create any type of social life when your schedule is seldom the same. Say goodbye to your old life filled with people who work normal hours. Instead, you’ll find your free time meshes better with those working in the business.
According to the Department of Labor, restaurant managers often work more than 40 hours per week, as well as on short notice, including evenings, weekends and holidays. While night and weekend schedules can be ideal for those looking to supplement income with a side job, it’s not what most people want as their main source of income.
For a position with better balance, consider becoming a manager of institutional food service facilities in schools, factories or office buildings, as they typically work traditional hours.
If there’s one thing you learn early on about the news business, it’s this: Expect to be worked to the bones. The world doesn’t just go to sleep when you’re off the clock. News will break whenever and wherever, which is why reporter is one of the worst jobs for work-life balance.
Broadcast news reporters, in particular, might have it bad. According to the Department of Labor, these professionals might work additional hours or change shifts to follow breaking or developing stories. You can expect to work nights and weekends or have overnight stays if the story requires it. So, making any type of outside-of-work commitment can be challenging.
You will find a better balance between both worlds in a different side of the communications industry, such as public relations.
Being a truck driver might come with the thrill of the open road and exploration of new places, but the work can be very demanding and lonely. What’s more, a truck driver’s work is incredibly sedentary, and it doesn’t leave much time for exercise or the ability to follow a proper diet.
Drivers often spend weeks on the road isolated from families and friends, more so than any other occupation, said Jake Tully, Editor In Chief at TruckingIndustry.News.
“Over-the-road trucking jobs can pay very well and provide a steady job for those willing to take them on, but many drivers find it difficult to establish any sort of personal life in their time off, other than resting up for the next haul or some limited interaction with those around them,” Tully said.
If spending more time around home is your priority, consider being a local-delivery or short-haul driver instead.
Many of the best jobs for work-life balance have a few key features in common, including the ability to work part time and make your own schedule. Even those that don’t allow for such freedoms don’t typically involve working outside of a normal schedule.
If you’re looking to get a new job to restore work-life balance, consider the following professions.
What’s better than making time for your own well-being and helping others strive for the same? Knowing you have one of the best jobs for work-life balance, offering a flexible schedule and often, free gym memberships.
According to the Department of Labor, you might have to work nights, weekends or even holidays to lead a group fitness class or a personal-trainer session. Working independently can give you more choice. You can also choose to work just part time in the field, only committing to what you want to take on.
Read More: 6 Ways to Make Money for Getting in Shape
Hairstylist median salary: $24,900
Manicurist median salary: $23,230
As anyone can attest, a really good haircut can make you feel great about yourself. Helping others look their best, from hair to nails, also happens to offer a balanced lifestyle.
Although these professionals can work nights and weekends, schedules depend on the business and clientele. If you’re working at a salon that serves the after-hours business crowd, then expect your schedule to mirror that. If your salon’s primary customers are stay-at-home moms or work-from-home professionals, however, the daytime could be your busiest.
Some cosmetologist skip conventional careers in a salon and use social platforms like YouTube and Instagram to make money from their tutorials.
Office and Administrative Support
The office and administrative support industry includes many professions, such as information clerks, receptionists and secretaries. Generally, these individuals can find reasonable work-life balance.
Some administrative jobs are more conducive to flexible hours and remote-work arrangements than others, according to Good. It all depends on the particular business and type of position.
However, if you want to maximize your work-life balance, Good recommends temporary and part-time administrative positions, which can offer flexibility in your start and end times and project length.
Elementary and middle school teachers median salary: $57,720
Who wouldn’t want to take summers off to catch their breath? When you’re in education, you can expect to be at school mostly when students are present, although you might have to grade papers or make lesson plans at night or on weekends.
Of course, you’ll still have the teacher workdays or the occasional parent-teacher meetings to attend — and, according to PayScale, summers often fill up with professional development, supplementary employment and preparations for the following school year. But, during the academic year, you can expect the same schedule from day-to-day.
If you want the most flexibility, consider substitute teaching. In fact, Glassdoor gave it a 3.9 out of 5 in work-life balance appeal. The trade-off, of course, would be salary.
Read More: Here’s How Much Teachers Make in Every State
Median salary: $74,590
Supply-chain management, which entails the oversight of bringing products or services to a customer, can offer work-life flexibility. Evans Distribution Systems, a supply chain company in Michigan, states that “high pay, purposeful work, and mobility” as being major perks of this career path.
According to the Department of Labor, individuals typically enjoy normal business hours, although overtime might be required occasionally to meet demands.
If you want a bit more control over your schedule, consider becoming a management analyst, which entails consulting businesses on ways to improve their efficiency. According to the Department of Labor, these professionals can decide when, where and how much they work.
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Finance and Accounting
Being an accountant might sound like a boring job, but it pays well — and it’s one of the best jobs for work-life balance.
Robert Half Management Resources found in its research that the majority of finance and accounting professionals are satisfied with their work-life balance. Many of the factions of these industries have implemented changes in recent years to support their employees’ efforts to achieve greater balance, Good said.
“Accounting and finance employers more commonly offer flexible scheduling options, remote-work arrangements and additional vacation,” he said.
Still, the world of finance and accounting is not perfect at times. Typically, these professionals experience spikes in work level, especially around tax season, which could temporarily throw off work-life balance.
Real Estate Agent
It’s possible to have it all as a real estate agent. You can plan your schedule around family activities and your specific needs, if you choose.
Although you might have to work the occasional evenings and weekends for showings, you generally have a say in when you work. According to the Department of Labor, many of these professionals are self-employed. If you want to go all in, you could have long workdays, however.
When it comes to big real estate companies, consider Coldwell Banker. The company has been ranked as one of the best companies for work-life balance, according to Forbes.
If you’re looking for an occupation that delivers on pay and quality of life, consider one in the engineering field. Glassdoor ranks many engineering jobs among the best jobs.
Research engineer, in particular, made Glassdoor’s list of best work-life balance jobs, scoring a 3.9 rating. These individuals generally work in an office or laboratory analyzing processes and conducting experiments.
According to ENGINEERING, a website for engineering news, many engineers have lives outside of work and are well-rounded individuals. Women, especially, should consider becoming engineers, as it is among the highest-paying jobs for women.
If there’s one thing human resources professionals should get right, it’s work-life balance. After all, they’re the ones at the forefront of introducing and updating policies and benefits that impact work-life balance and should set an example, according to Good.
“Most HR positions have standard work hours,” he said. “But there are aspects of the profession, such as recruiting, that can take place outside the normal 9-to-5 schedule.”
Given technological advances, recruiters can work from nearly anywhere and at any time. In Glassdoor’s annual report, corporate recruiters ranked the highest for work-life balance, with a 4.1 rating out of 5. If you’re a people person, this career could be for you.
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With employment estimated to grow much faster than average and one of the best work-life balance scenarios, working in the tech industry can be your best bet. According to Good, many technology professionals can see benefits when it comes to work-life balance, especially as it relates to flexible arrangements.
“The tech industry lends itself to remote working and adaptable hours, which can certainly contribute to feeling able to strike a healthy balance between work and personal life,” Good said.
There are roles, though, that require an office presence, so not all tech jobs are created equal, said Good. He suggests positions in development, such as web and mobile development, which tend to allow for more flexibility.
Click through to read more about top positions on the market.
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All salary statistics come from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for surgeons was not specific, described as being “equal to or greater than $100.00 per hour or $208,000 per year.”
Priscilla Aguilera contributed to the reporting for this article.
About the Author
With a broadcast news career that spans more than a decade, Lia Sestric has had the opportunity to cover local and national news for television and radio. The Washington, D.C.-based writer has been freelance writing for a number of years. She frequently writes about higher education, careers, and finance. Along with GOBankingRates, her work has appeared on major sites like Yahoo, The Huffington Post, MSN and many other news outlets.