Escape from the cubicle and still get paid
November 4, 2004 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Portable careers?

There was a comment the other day in one of the threads about portable careers and I'm very interested in breaking out of the corporate structure and becoming more mobile again.

What are the best resources for making the jump? What are the best career paths to follow to make the move? Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.
posted by fenriq to Work & Money (8 answers total)
As a telecommuter who's held on to the same job through three cities, I'd say work for a company with a commitment to technology. It's harder for them to say no to you if they've been telling their customers they're saving money by using technology to streamline operations.

I've also had aquaintances work for creative temping places like Aquent, which is nationwide. Presumably you could do project-based temping around the country.

Nursing would also be a very in-demand field nationwide, if it's something you're interested in.
posted by occhiblu at 1:51 PM on November 4, 2004

in my experience, being a (good?) programmer gets you a job "anywhere" (ok, england, scotland and chile). but you need to be either gifted, educated, or have an angle (eg an expert related to whatever you do now).

invading russia is probably not a good idea.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:59 PM on November 4, 2004

Just a thought: I have friends who've travelled the world living of their various skills in construction trades. If you are a good carpenter, welder, electrician, plumber etc there is often highly-paid temporary work to be had. Maybe you would like to retrain in one of those areas? Warning though: injury rates are higher than white-collar work.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:21 PM on November 4, 2004

Response by poster: Cool! Thanks for the thoughts and input.

I will definitely be exploring my options and seeing what I'm capable of getting into.

And I'll do my best not to invade Russia (unless the pay is really, really good!).
posted by fenriq at 4:28 PM on November 4, 2004

Like occhiblu, telecommuting has enabled me to maintain the same job through several years and several towns. The downside is that you're tied to locations where the telecom infrastructure is sufficiently developed. In the U.S. alone, there are still an amazing number of neighborhoods where cable broadband hasn't arrived yet and many towns where even DSL is still rare. WiFi and cellular are great, but coverage can be spotty even in a high tech corridor like the Bay Area. Also, it depends on what your definitions of "portable" and "mobility" are. Some telecommuters end up with an extra roomful of equipment and office supplies to lug around with each move. And if your telecommute tethers you to a network, "mobility" means confining your movements within the boundaries of your service area. You can shell out for redundant subscriptions to expand your range, but coverage may not even exist in some of the places you want to go.

"International spy" always sounds like a mighty portable career. They need those everywhere.

"Gun for hire" is definitely a mobile career, especially since you don't have to worry about arranging for references and background checks back home.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 4:28 PM on November 4, 2004

I've split my employment over the past 15 years more or less between IT stuff and teaching (mostly English, but also business and tech), while wandering around the planet, with some forays into hotel management when I was young and a global resort-hopper.

All of them served me well, but I'm not sure the lifestyle will be as viable after another 10 years or so (due mainly to advancing age, if nothing else), so I'm saving like a fiend to prepare for early semi-retirement.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:01 PM on November 4, 2004

If you don’t mind talking to people and have an ability to explain things then consider using your existing skill set to go into sales or sales support. Companies everywhere need sales people and it can be a great way to see the world.
posted by arse_hat at 6:16 PM on November 4, 2004

I second the vote for trades - my former, uh, the guy who used to cut my hair (and left me with a bad euro-mullet much of the time) was from New Zealand, and had worked in Australia, London, New York and finally Portland. Last we spoke, he was thinking of heading to Amsterdam.
I've known several nurses who also worked all over the world. Not all of their jobs were above the table, but if someone asked you to be a nurses aide in Milan, would you worry about taxes?
posted by TomSophieIvy at 6:36 PM on November 4, 2004

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