What Part/Full-Time Jobs Allow Lots of Reading Time?
March 15, 2008 6:21 PM   Subscribe

What Part/Full-Time Jobs Allow Lots of Reading Time? So far I could come up with: lifeguard, parking lot attendant, pet/house sitter, night-time babysitter, and security guard. What are some others? Pay is not important. I will be working another job for the $ and get my study/ready done during this one.
posted by LC to Work & Money (41 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Just a heads up:
Lifeguards who are reading aren't doing their job right.
posted by JakeLL at 6:24 PM on March 15, 2008 [6 favorites]

Night desk/audit clerk for a motel/hotel allows at least half your shift for reading most places. They often are in demand for people willing to work only two nights a week.
posted by Mitheral at 6:25 PM on March 15, 2008 [3 favorites]

I used to work in an adult bookstore/movie theater, and I spent a lot of time reading. Now I work in a library, and I never read at work, so forget about that one.

If the money's genuinely not important, though, why can't you just do your reading at the library or the Starbucks or at home or whatever? That way, someone who needs a crappy job more than you do gets the job, the parking lot or swimming pool or whatever might have someone a little bit more attentive keeping an eye on it, and you get to do your schoolwork uninterrupted. Seems like a win-win.
posted by box at 6:29 PM on March 15, 2008

Strongly seconding night auditor.
posted by dilettante at 6:34 PM on March 15, 2008

I am a lifeguard. You do not get to do a lot of reading as a lifeguard most places. There's also a fair amount of training you need to do to become one. Not insurmountable, but maybe not what you're looking for.

Other options are night watchman, health club desk person, airline courier, live-in campground attendant, caretaker generally, nighttime data center staffer/sysadmin. You have to think about jobs where the fact that you are a warm body attached to a brain on-site is what people are looking for. Thanks for not mentioning librarian, we never get to read.
posted by jessamyn at 6:37 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

it seems to me to that most of the people who work in any kiosk in the mall just stand around a lot. i mean, how many people each day actually think, "oh, i need to go check out the build-a-bear booth at the mall"? and how many people who even walk by it while in the mall for other business stop there? i don't know what malls are like where you live, but there are a lot of those kiosks here. for that matter, any strange specialty retail store might work (candles, tupperware, pottery, etc.)
posted by DuckGirl at 6:41 PM on March 15, 2008

Be careful of your job selection, there's a difference between "sitting around doing nothing" and "being allowed to read". You'll want to check what your prospective employer's views are about reading on the job.
posted by jpeacock at 6:50 PM on March 15, 2008 [3 favorites]

In college I worked as a switchboard operator for one of the busiest hotels in the city, and I got a ton of reading/studying done on a 3-11 shift. Yeah, the phone could be distracting at times, but by and large you get used to it. Work the graveyard shift at a small urban hotel and I'd imagine you'd be home free.
posted by Rewind at 6:52 PM on March 15, 2008

At some places... receptionist. I read The Bonfire of the Vanities in under a week, between 8 and 5.
posted by clh at 6:57 PM on March 15, 2008

Pay is not important.

Then why not no job at all?
posted by randomstriker at 7:05 PM on March 15, 2008

My brother-in-law works as a night security guard at Intel and says get gets through 3 novels a week.
posted by bumper314 at 7:11 PM on March 15, 2008

I worked as a relay operator for the deaf three years ago. On days when I worked for 12 hours, I could finish a book a shift.
posted by princesspathos at 7:15 PM on March 15, 2008

Host(ess) maybe, depending on the restaurant.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:15 PM on March 15, 2008

My boyfriend used to do night security at condos. The pay was good enough, and you were left alone unless there was an emergency. Depending on the site, basically the lower the pay, the fewer the hassles. The higher the pay, the greater the hassles (read less goofing off time.) Not only did he read copiously, he also surfed the net, wrote a screenplay, completed some online courses, did tai chi, called his family overseas, meditated etc. etc. Yeah, it worked out pretty well for years until he got tired of the night shift.
posted by typewriter at 7:18 PM on March 15, 2008

Oh, my, as a former lifeguard, please don't get a job as a lifeguard. I don't want you poring over your homework while my nephew/cousin/grandmother is struggling in the pool (or while my sister is pushing my nephew, or my nephew is running, or my friend Pauli's Russian grandfather is strutting around the hottub without his boxers).

That said, you could get a lot of reading done as a night security guard, or a day bartender at a really unpopular bar/golf course.
posted by arnicae at 7:21 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

The best part time job I ever had was working the counter at a University pool hall. Sure, I learned to hate "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "Sex Machine" thanks to the jukebox, but besides taking money, assigning tables and the nightly table cleaning (which I found to be a nice, zen way to calm down after a day of work) - I read a ton, did school work, drew, played video games on my laptop.
posted by Gucky at 7:49 PM on March 15, 2008

How about tech support? The pay isn't bad, and if you're willing to take evening and weekend shifts you not only make more money, you take fewer calls, which means lots of time to read.
posted by bess at 7:50 PM on March 15, 2008

used bookstore clerk.
posted by RedEmma at 8:02 PM on March 15, 2008

Overnight gas station attendant. You might have to look up from your reading to deal with the occasional armed robber, however.

Health club front desk attendant. I read a lot when I did this, especially if my shift was a slow time (overnight, late mornings, early afternoons).
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:19 PM on March 15, 2008

Also a former lifeguard - I got plenty of reading done, without neglecting my duties. If you work at a pool with 2+ guards there are many times during the day when very few people are in the pool and you only have to watch the pool for 25 minutes an hour. Sure, you have other responsibilities like cleaning, etc but there's tons of free time...plus there are some days when it rains the whole time.
posted by btkuhn at 8:42 PM on March 15, 2008

I used to work graveyard at a convenience store in Whistler (the one across from the Husky Station), and we smoked a lot of hash and played the Simpsons video game all night long. There was stocking to do, and some inventory, but not much else besides that.

I would then go to my day job at a pizzeria (it was underneath the food market in the square) to work the breakfast shift as a line cook. The boss was most unpleasant. I injured myself pretty badly mountain biking before Labour Day (bunch of stitches in my knee). All the boss could say was, "You idiot! I had expected you to work the long weekend!"
posted by KokuRyu at 8:49 PM on March 15, 2008

Seconding the gas station. I loved the night shift for reading, although not restocking the shelves enough ended that little number.
posted by bonaldi at 8:53 PM on March 15, 2008

University Computer Lab Aide.

The pay sucked, but I got to read/cruise the Intarnets pretty much all the time. And that was even when I was doing my job by the book, ie: making the rounds, checking on students, feeding paper to the printers, helping students with corrupt disks, etc.

It was a job that any warm body could do, and my warm body did just fine. And I read A LOT.
posted by SlyBevel at 8:57 PM on March 15, 2008

I worked as a practice test proctor for a high end test prep company in Manhattan, and that involved nothing but personal reading, giving out tests, and setting a timer every now and again.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:28 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Night Watchman in a company that does what you're studying. My father was a night watchman (2nd job, gotta keep us kids fed) for IBM, and spent all the time reading the programming books -- then interviewed for and got a job working as a programmer there. It's what pushed our little branch of the family from dirt poor to middle class.
posted by davejay at 9:56 PM on March 15, 2008 [5 favorites]

Movie theater cashier in a single-screen theater. You get a rush of customers for about 20 minutes before each show, then an hour and a half or so of reading time before you really need to do much again.
posted by chez shoes at 10:12 PM on March 15, 2008

Group home overnight counselor. I worked at a residential group home for a while and my only job duty was to stay awake. I used to bring a N64 or xbox in a lot. I was struggling to find things to keep me awake.
posted by ericales at 11:00 PM on March 15, 2008

I worked at an inbound call center for about a year and a half. It was quite painful but the one good thing about it was that I could read when not on calls. On average I'd have about 15 seconds or so between calls but often times it'd be a minute or two or on a really awesome day 10-15 minutes or more. Of course on occasion the queue would go on forever and I wouldn't get to read at all. I know that 15 seconds of reading ever 7-10 minutes doesn't sound like much but it really added up. After about 5:00 local time call volume would go down dramatically so people working the later shift might only take one call every 30 minutes.
posted by J-Garr at 11:04 PM on March 15, 2008

I was expected to "work" for about 15 minutes during a typical 8-hour day as a movie extra--moving the cameras and lights around takes a long time. There are lots of serious readers on the semi-professional extra circuit.
posted by ultrogonic at 11:15 PM on March 15, 2008

Seconding the computer lab monitor suggestion. That was the easiest job I ever had -- pretty much getting paid to study.
posted by missjenny at 6:51 AM on March 16, 2008

Seconding box office attendant - during the day. Especially Mon-Fri. Even in a multiplex, the crowds are usually very sparse. An additional bonus is free movies.
posted by amicamentis at 7:32 AM on March 16, 2008

2nd ericales - waking night support worker in a residential for people with disabilities. The pay is good and there's usually very little to do except read, study, write, draw, play DS etc.
posted by goo at 8:07 AM on March 16, 2008

Anything with a bus/train commute.
posted by Artw at 8:08 AM on March 16, 2008

or a day bartender at a really unpopular bar/golf course.

If you try busting out a book behind a bar you might as well start counting the seconds until you get shit-canned.
posted by baphomet at 8:24 AM on March 16, 2008

I got a whole heck of a lot of reading done when I was a gift-wrapper at a department store It was okay with my boss that I read when I wasn't wrapping gifts -- and since I was there during the summer, there wasn't much wrapping to do.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:01 PM on March 16, 2008

I did a lot of reading while working in group homes -- especially the overnight shifts. I got some reading done during the day, but not much. In college, I also worked in a small independent retail store where the owner was OK with me reading/studying as long as everything else was done. Most days, I had all of my homework done by the time I left.
posted by whatideserve at 2:17 PM on March 16, 2008

Host(ess) maybe, depending on the restaurant.

Disagree! When I was a hostess I worked my arse off! I barely got to sit down let alone pull out a book!
posted by radioamy at 6:13 PM on March 16, 2008

I gather that from your question you're a student...can you get an on-campus job? In undergrad I had quite a few friends who were desk-clerks at the dorms or worked in the computer labs, and as long as they stayed put they could do basically whatever they wanted.
posted by radioamy at 6:15 PM on March 16, 2008

Night/weekend desk shifts (circulation/reference/whatever else) at a university library.
posted by hought20 at 7:52 AM on March 17, 2008

I work five nights a week doing light maintenance for a small eight-story office building as part of a four-man crew (Employed by the building, rather than a cleaning company contractor), and usually end up with at least three hours of free time per shift which I usually spend reading. While I'm working, I listen to podcasts or books on tape. It's far safer than a security job and has fewer interruptions and people to deal with than a hospitality job.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:34 AM on March 26, 2008

Night shift, self-serve gas station--my favorite job as a teen. (I also worked for Fotomat, which was similar, especially as it was at the tail-end, when 1-day film processing was overtaking it.)
posted by not_on_display at 5:38 PM on March 26, 2008

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