When many people look at careers they want to pursue, they focus on the salaries. They ask: How much can I earn five years after graduating? How much can I earn fifteen years after graduating? When can I retire? How many houses will I be able to own? What kind of car can I drive?
This is all well and good, but it doesn’t factor in the quality of life you’ll have. If you earn a lot of money, you’ll probably have a comfortable home and a nice car, and you’ll probably be able to eat anywhere you want and take vacations to exotic places. But what if you’re stressed out all of the time? What if you spend your entire career in a cubicle in a windowless bay? What if you start to age early because of your sedentary lifestyle and lack of inspiration?
And what if that job is boring to you? Some people are wired to find business accounting fascinating, but the rest of us might go crazy pouring over spreadsheets for 30 years.
Be that as it may, many college students will continue to major in degree programs on the basis of how much money they’ll be able to make after they graduate. The rest of us, however, might look for a career that allows us to stay active, fit, and intellectually curious.
The construction trades tend to draw people who like being outside and staying active. If you’ll recall the movie Office Space, Peter, an office worker, asks his construction worker neighbor, “When you come in on Monday, and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, ‘Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?'” The neighbor’s response isn’t printable here, but the idea is: no way, not on a job site. Construction companies hire professionals to work in specialties like electrical, mechanical, HVAC, drywall, plumbing, concrete, and steel. You’ll have a hard time growing pale and bored, turning raw materials into skyscrapers are interstate highways.
If you love to work out, maybe a career as a personal trainer is for you. Not only will you be in a gym, the very center of physical activity, but you’ll also be helping people for a living. Perks of the trade include the job satisfaction of helping your clients become their best selves, variety and diversity in your daily routine, the flexibility to make your own schedule and to specialize in activities you’re passionate about, job security in a field expected to grow exponentially as more people become fitness-conscious, and the potential to make a comfortable wage doing something you love.
Like personal trainers, many yoga instructors started out as yoga students who asked themselves: Is there some way that I could do this for a living? While personal trainers focus on high-intensity workouts, yoga instructors teach their students how to become calmer and more flexible, but don’t for a second think that yoga is easier than lifting weights! Yoga instructors typically attend a yoga certification program. Experienced instructors typically find job satisfaction in having the ability to improve their own practice, the flexibility in creating their own schedule, the joy of helping others on a path to wellness and healing, and the satisfaction of belonging to a local yoga-centered community.
You don’t need a certification to become a bartender, although there are certifications to be had–specifically to indicate craft beer, wine, or spirits expertise. It’s a career that has you moving all shift long, and it can be very lucrative. Bartenders can travel because their job is not location-specific, they get to meet interesting people, and they usually operate outside of the Monday through Friday routine followed by most of their customers, which means that bartenders get to do their grocery shopping and errands when places aren’t crowded. Bartenders can often work as often or as little as they want. It’s true that this career field has been hit pretty hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but until now, bartending was a fairly recession-proof career; no matter how bad the economy is, people still generally go out to restaurants and bars.