Looking for a non-office job where I can take pride in my work and not deal with too many people.
August 23, 2010 2:17 PM   Subscribe

What are some jobs that are "out in the world" (i.e. not in an office) that don't involve lots of interaction with people?

I started working an office job about six months ago, and while it's stable and pays decently, I am starting to resent the mindless routine of the work week. Also with this office job I don't really have anything tangible to show for the day's work.

I'm looking for jobs that allow me to be active (or at least on my feet) but without having to deal with tons of people. I don't mind having to work with people a little, but I'd rather the job not revolve around people, like customer service. I'm not a misanthrope or socially stunted, I just prefer to work alone and with my thoughts.

Are there any jobs that fit these criteria?
posted by allseeingabstract to Work & Money (32 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Garbage collector? Long-haul trucker? Park ranger?
posted by rouftop at 2:20 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


(scratch trucker, I missed the "active" requirement)
posted by rouftop at 2:21 PM on August 23, 2010


Graveyard maintenance. Although this requires you to work odd hours -- graveyard shifts -- have physical prowess and technical skills with digging machinery.
posted by griphus at 2:22 PM on August 23, 2010


mail carrier, meter reader, UPS driver. These all have some degree of interaction, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a job that didn't.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:23 PM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dog walker
posted by mrsshotglass at 2:23 PM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Park Ranger
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 2:25 PM on August 23, 2010


Forest ranger. Many field scientists (they don't all require a PhD; you can get an MS in Environmental Science, etc. and do field collections/samplings)
posted by availablelight at 2:25 PM on August 23, 2010


Parks Dept maintenance of some kind. Either federal or local parks.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:25 PM on August 23, 2010


Cable field technician. There are many kinds, but there is one type that is held in reserve for what are called "Plant Issues", It's a nearly completely non-customer facing side of the industry that deals with major outages (someone putting a backhoe through a piece of fiber optic cable, for example.)
posted by quin at 2:28 PM on August 23, 2010


Janitor, security guard, dog walker, night auditor, mortuary science (not funeral director), cargo pilot, night manager.

Handyperson jobs take some interaction to get new clients, but you can pretty much work on your own. Same with painting, flooring, etc.

There's lots of freelance jobs, like writing, graphics, programming that you can do alone, but they're usually very sedentary.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:29 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Landscaper.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:34 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pest control. My brother did this for awhile; it involved going around to all the different hotels and restaurants in his territory, usually in the evenings when nobody else was around except maybe a manager to let him in.
posted by anderjen at 2:45 PM on August 23, 2010


Nthing meter reader - I read water meters for awhile and it was a great job. Some interaction with people "Don't mind me, just poking around in your back yard" but a lot of time walking and driving around by myself.

I have a friend who plots and logs power poles with a GPS and an ATV all day. If it didn't involve living out of a motel that might be my favorite $10-$15/hour job.
posted by ChrisHartley at 2:46 PM on August 23, 2010


Cable field technician

Maintenance techs actually are on the higher end of the ladder when it comes to cable techs. You usually start off as an installer which does involve a lot of talking to people. After that, you usually become a service tech that handles inside issues for a house, then you can graduate to plant maintenance.
posted by inturnaround at 2:48 PM on August 23, 2010


Ranch caretaker.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:48 PM on August 23, 2010


Gardener
posted by sciencegeek at 2:50 PM on August 23, 2010


Surveyor
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 2:51 PM on August 23, 2010


mail carrier
posted by paddingtonb at 3:12 PM on August 23, 2010


Most jobs in enviromental consulting; archaeology (cultural resource management is the buzzword), biology, geology, hydrology, surveying etc. generally involve quite a bit of fieldwork, often with limited contact with anyone other your co-workers. These jobs typically minimally require an undergraduate college degree in the field in question, but not always.
posted by elendil71 at 3:16 PM on August 23, 2010




actuary
posted by northernlightgardener at 4:01 PM on August 23, 2010


Wildlife / plant / etc. field surveys. Surveyor, appraiser.

Lots of construction trades involve only low to moderate levels of interaction.
posted by salvia at 4:07 PM on August 23, 2010


Aircraft maintenance tech or baggage handler. Lots of other airport jobs might work too.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 5:19 PM on August 23, 2010


Road construction.
posted by SisterHavana at 5:41 PM on August 23, 2010


Process server (although you'll have to get up close and personal with the people you serve).
posted by vickyverky at 5:44 PM on August 23, 2010


Lumberjack. Farmer. Fruit picker. Sailor/merchant seaman/fisherman.
posted by wackybrit at 5:53 PM on August 23, 2010


NIght cleaning crew at an office or school.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:32 PM on August 23, 2010


I've done the cable tech thing. You can probably get this job, because it has high turnover (I sure as fuck turned over). Here are the reasons:
1. Pay structure. This may not be universal, but the contractor I worked for paid per task. So an installation was X amount of money, running a new drop was a certain amount, adding outlets paid per outlet, etc. etc. Time wasn't paid attention to at all, just billing for tasks, so it was 50-60 hours/week with no overtime.
2. Drilling holes in peoples' houses is really insanely stressful. Every time I had to put a hole in a house that wasn't absolutely, totally straightforward, I freaked out about it. YMMV, of course, but it was tough for me.
3. Correcting the lies and distortions the sales people used to meet their insane targets as well as the shit the cable company just changed because it can. Especially to retirees, who liked their TV just the way it was, don't want a digital box, don't want or understand another remote, etc etc. God I hated this.
4. Driving around an enormous truck. Didn't matter on days I worked in the burbs, but in the city? Ugh. Especially in the winter.
5. Troubleshooting the fucked up wiring of old houses that have had 39,000 different cable providers, phone providers, and satellite TV providers over the years. Oh my god the insane crap you find in some places.

On the other hand, it turned out that installing cable for drug dealers was often alright, when their homes weren't completely gross. But like, the dealers that cleaned up a little and were baked while you were there, were thrilled to have their xbox online and their high def HBO and would tip you $20, those guys were alright.
posted by kavasa at 7:55 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Baker
posted by meringue at 9:19 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been working with dogs for four years now.
In the past I've also worked in kitchens, delivery driving, and in warehouses.
I got all these jobs specifically so I didn't have to deal with people. And all but driving keep you very active.
posted by gally99 at 12:35 AM on August 24, 2010


I haven't seen "land manager" specifically called out, which goes under the general "park ranger -- field biologist" spectrum.
posted by endless_forms at 7:15 AM on August 24, 2010


I was a window cleaner for a few years.
I would basically check in with the customer at the job at first, then just pop in my ipod and get to squeegeein’. Lots of great outdoor work with a bit of customer service, but not much.
posted by Widepath at 8:47 AM on August 24, 2010


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