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May 12, 2009 9:03 AM   Subscribe

What are some jobs (other than teaching) that have summers off?

My girlfriend is a librarian at a K-8 school. She gets something like 8 weeks off every summer. I do not.

If we both had that time off, we could spend time elsewhere in the country/world, thereby making life more interesting, exciting, and livable.

The thing is I am not interested in being a teacher or in being a librarian. I am wondering if there are some other jobs that have roughly the same working window as these.

Bachelor's degree in journalism
Currently putting in my 4th year at an IT company (started as a network admin, have moved more into management)
We live in New York City, and would like to continue doing so.

posted by orville sash to Work & Money (25 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
There are other jobs in the school system (guidance counselor, nurse, etc) that wouldn't require you to teach.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:05 AM on May 12, 2009

I know a woman who is a doctor who works as a raft guide in the summers and does freelance ER work in the winter, which more than supports her year round. You could leave out the raft guide part--if you were willing to go to med school.

You can also work Christmas tree lots, though I don't recommend it.

Also, ski instructor, but not so good for NYC.

Do you have any skills you could turn into a freelance job?
posted by bluedaisy at 9:07 AM on May 12, 2009

Work IT in the school system. While I don't strictly get summers off, I am an 11-month employee which affords nice flexibility.
posted by jmd82 at 9:27 AM on May 12, 2009

Universities are pretty slow in the summers. From what I hear. And they employ a very wide variety of staff members (more than a K-12 school) such as grant administrators, finance people, tons of IT folks, research support staff, etc., etc., etc. I'm not saying that you'd be 100% "off" for the summer in any position: Obviously if you worked on the admissions team, you couldn't be off for the months of August and September. But academia is pretty forgiving of a long break during the quiet times of the year.
posted by zpousman at 9:27 AM on May 12, 2009

Not that you would want to do this, but my father was a Unitarian minister for a church that shut down for the summer. He always had three months off, June-July-August. They closed because the weather was so hot and sticky for that time of year and many people were gone on vacation.

I have often wondered the same thing as orville, because it was a sweet set-up.
posted by chocolatetiara at 9:30 AM on May 12, 2009

Response by poster: Blue:
I could do freelance IT, I could do freelance journalism, however my roots aren't really deep enough in either to make a go of it full time. At least not yet.

zpousman, I guess that's kind of what I'm looking for...school system jobs (all school systems - university, high school, elementary, et. al) that might be administrative or technical, but still allow me time off. I know that a lot of administrative work requires extensive summer work as well.
posted by orville sash at 9:37 AM on May 12, 2009

I know people who work half the year and travel the other half. They are documentary filmmakers (so basically anything freelance/in business for yourself) and ski instructors.
posted by Bunglegirl at 9:41 AM on May 12, 2009

Any tradesperson can more or less set their own hours. Carpentry, electrical work, etc. Some things like masonry are more dependent on working outdoors in good weather so probably not that.
posted by GuyZero at 9:41 AM on May 12, 2009

zpousman couldn't be more wrong. Most academics do not take summer breaks. That's when we get our research done with no teaching distractions. It's also the time when major grant deadlines come around. So this is when support staff (IT, grant admin, research staff) are most needed.

There is no way you can take one of these jobs and get the summer off.
posted by special-k at 9:43 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]

most schools on the K-12 level need IT staff (or more likely, one IT guy) to make sure the internet works when the kids are brought to the library, hook up projectors, etc.
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:49 AM on May 12, 2009

special-k, there are PLENTY of academics who don't do research, or who aren't research-obsessed.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:54 AM on May 12, 2009

special-k, there are PLENTY of academics who don't do research, or who aren't research-obsessed.

Yes, but the summer is still a busy time for university IT and development staff.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:14 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Based on the people I knew in university IT, it sounds like the summer is the opportunity for them to make big overhauls and changes to the system without the heavy traffic of students. In other words, no three-month vacation there.
posted by naju at 10:14 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Agreeing with special-k, Sidhedevil and naju that administration and support staff at the university level most certainly do not get the summer off. That is the time we can actually get something done because there aren't thousands of students to take care of.

In fact, we are encouraged to take vacation in the spring and late fall. If you did take vacation in the summer it would be the normal length vacation to which you were entitled not months spent touring the world.
posted by pixlboi at 10:24 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have friends who worked for my old university after graduation, in both the marketing and IT departments. They had a nice summer break and winter break...not quite as much as secondary school teachers, but a heck of a lot more than I do in the corporate world. (They do seem to get paid less from academic institutions than they would in the corporate world, though.)
posted by tastybrains at 10:33 AM on May 12, 2009

Lots of departments stay busy or even get busier during the summer while they have the chance, but there are definitely plenty of ten-month employees in higher education. Consider jobs in areas such as food, mail, and various health services in which much of the work goes away when the students aren't in town. There may also be campus jobs relating to venues such as theaters (or even classrooms) which aren't heavily used in the summers. Of course the details are all going to vary a lot from one institution to another depending on their summer activities and revenue streams.
posted by Songdog at 10:58 AM on May 12, 2009

Response by poster: OK, so barring positions at schools, what else would be a good job that had roughly the same time frame?
posted by orville sash at 11:28 AM on May 12, 2009

Working on the oil rigs is typically a winters-only job, a lot of people I know are laid off each summer. Well-paying job, yes. Plentiful jobs right now? no. Good job? depends, you'd be gone all the time. But it's an answer.
posted by lizbunny at 11:33 AM on May 12, 2009

A few more school-related jobs: physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, nurse, counselor, athletic trainer. If you work for a school [/district] then you may get summers off. Indirectly related to schools: consider companies that do business with schools. Booking for performers who do shows in educational institutions. Book fairs. School photographers. Also, some daycare and nanny positions are three-season, because the clients (academics, for instance) have flexible schedules during the summer.
posted by Songdog at 12:03 PM on May 12, 2009

I note that in my enthusiasm I repeated some positions that others have mentioned.

Let me also add one more type of higher-ed job, well suited for a journalism major: most universities and colleges have various official publications (online and print) which require reporting, copy writing, and editing, as well as photography, videography, and audio recording. I know at least one person who does this during the academic year and gets the summers off while things are quiet. Look for jobs in communications or public relations at your local institutions.
posted by Songdog at 12:09 PM on May 12, 2009

Consulting or freelancing is a great option. You've got four years under your belt. That's enough to make a go of it. You could start now by consulting on the side and then move into it as a full-time endeavour.

I've been a consultant for more than a dozen years. This gives me great flexibility with my time...now that I have a family, I can work around their schedules.
posted by acoutu at 12:55 PM on May 12, 2009

Keep in mind that with a lot of the positions people are mentioning (food services at a school, daycare, photographers, oil rig workers) it's not that these people have 2-3 months paid vacation during the year.

It's that these people have 9-10 month contracts and they get laid off in the summer with no guarantee of a new contract in the fall. That may or may not work for you. Depends how much you value a full-time job with benefits.
posted by pixlboi at 1:14 PM on May 12, 2009

That is true. It's not a layoff-and-rehire situation in all of the above, but there is often no pay during that period, and the rest of the year your health insurance premiums, etc., are increased in order to keep coverage active during your off months.
posted by Songdog at 8:03 PM on May 12, 2009

I also know a plumber who works only spring, summer, and fall, and spends his summers in Mexico. But he had this job first, and then worked out the schedule--so he had an established business. He also lives in a rural area, so he didn't need a huge income.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:34 AM on May 13, 2009

Salesperson at a ski shop, or at another winter sport related business.

Concession stand worker at an NFL, NHL or NBA arena.

If you didn't really care about having a stellar job history, you could quit your job every summer, and try to get rehired or find another one come fall. Probably retail jobs would be a good bet for that - many stores are hurting for customers in the summer months, when there aren't any big shopping holidays like Christmas.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:57 AM on May 13, 2009

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