9-5 without a degree?
May 11, 2008 5:51 PM   Subscribe

What are some non-retail, 9-5 jobs that don't require a degree?

I've been working at an electronics retailer for about 5 years now, and I think it's time to move on. I'd love a 9-5, Monday-Friday type job. Something with holidays off (not necessarily paid for, but always nice) and something that I don't have to work 20 hours the day after Thanksgiving.

The biggest problem: I never finished college. Part of the reason why I'd like it to be 9-5, so maybe night classes would be an option. Also, I'm a little picky. No more retail, no food service jobs, no call centers, and I'd prefer no sales-type jobs.

Aside from that, I'm pretty open. It doesn't have to be super glamorous or exciting; life in a cubicle would be fine with me at this point in life. It'd be nice if it paid close to (or better) than my $12/hour. I've been a supervisor for over a year now, so I do have some leadership experience. Without getting too specific, I live in Pennsylvania. I haven't tried Monster or anything since I don't know exactly what to look for. Any ideas?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (26 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Clerical. I would apply at a big hospital in your area. You could do everything from scheduling to billing.
posted by LoriFLA at 5:57 PM on May 11, 2008

I second clerical. Almost all office jobs are 8-5. Also, look into jobs at your local university or community college. Without a degree, I got a position as a department assistant which was basically a gopher for the English teachers. It didn't pay $12 hour, but I got a HUGE break in tuition.
posted by Ugh at 6:04 PM on May 11, 2008

I've been looking for something similar, but in New Jersey, if anyone has any suggestions.

Sorry for leaching!
posted by InsanePenguin at 6:04 PM on May 11, 2008

If you have cash handling experience, being a bank teller is a nice gig. I'd stick with a small local bank or maybe a credit union, as many of the national banks have extensive weekend and evening hours now. I was also dismayed at how much sales pressure there was for tellers at the national bank I worked at for a while.

You could also work reception, but with no experience in that area it might be hard to find a $10+ position.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:05 PM on May 11, 2008

Warehousing and stock jobs. Picking orders for shipment and that kind of thing. My job as a buyer and coordinator requires a college degree, but I have a few guys who work for me that don't have a college degree. You don't need one to read a report and pull parts to ship.
posted by Phoenix42 at 6:24 PM on May 11, 2008

Jobs I've held that paid well but didn't require a degree include warehouse/shipping & receiving/delivery work, as Phoenix mentions. Also, if you are remotely proficient in graphic deign software (Quark, Adobe CS software) you can likely get a job in prepress at a printing company.
posted by lekvar at 6:30 PM on May 11, 2008

You could try being a blogger.
posted by delmoi at 6:40 PM on May 11, 2008

Try temping. It might expose you to a variety of environments and maybe you'll see what you like.

At my company (IT), a lot of people started in the warehouse or customer service, and if they show a good attitude and aptitude, they quickly end up working in more technical areas.

If it was me, I'd hit up every company in the area that seemed remotely interesting to me with a resume and a cover letter saying what you are looking for, worded a bit more professionally, showing your ambition, and simply asking to be considered should any openings come available. Don't pester them "can I meet with the hiring manager now??", but also be open to meeting with someone on the spot if they want to. You never know if they just had the mailroom guy quit three hours ago and you can save their bacon.

On your resume, list everything you are good at (balancing the cash, inventory management, customer service, training new employees, etc.). And the things you've had exposure to (transitioning to new POS system, reorganizing the sales floor, opening a new location, etc.). And list any training you took- sales 101, assistant manager 101 and the like.

It's a crap shoot, but if a company is looking for someone and you show up on the doorstep, you'll be right there. And an experienced manager who knows what's up will recognize that retail is a great training ground.

Also be open to getting a part time job at an interesting place and cutting hours at your current place. It might suck, but you also might learn what you really want.

And what about staying with Radio Shack? Maybe they have a regional office nearby?
posted by gjc at 6:44 PM on May 11, 2008

~95% of web/software development jobs don't care if you have a degree. I've been working in the industry for about 10 years now with a BA in psychology, and I know plenty of people who never finished school at all. Of course, you have to know how to code, and you'd have to start at the bottom, but if you're at all technically inclined, it's the best (legal) way I know of to make money without a fancy degree.

I started by teaching myself basic HTML, got my first job through the tech branch of a temp agency, and went from there.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:00 PM on May 11, 2008

Manufacturing - it could be assembling parts and bolting stuff together, getting "forklift" added to your drivers license and doing inventory, soldering, repetitive/boring but easy stuff with standard hours, etc. Temping is a good way to find a place you like then move to a permanent position.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:22 PM on May 11, 2008

Although I had a BA degree when I started clerical temp I don't think it mattered that much: all they cared was that I could type reasonably well and knew how to operate a computer (generally in Windows, rarely but sometimes in an Apple OS), and could conduct myself professionally on the telephone. Having the supervisor experience will probably be a big plus. A few jobs require a minimum typing speed; I had no trouble getting steady work, both temporary and permanent, as a mediocre typist. In Minneapolis anyway $12 an hour was almost the bottom, even for temp, a few years ago. High level assistants for executives (this requires some experience) can easily exceed $20/hour (though total 9-5 reliability starts to slip at that level). It helps if you will answer calls (reception more than call center type), but I had plenty of jobs where little interaction outside other staff was required. Keywords like administrative, clerical, support; titles like assistant and coordinator. A lot of times it will show up under "administrative." Universities often offer employees school benefits: there is a lot of this kind of clerical work at universities, especially big research universities.
posted by nanojath at 7:36 PM on May 11, 2008

See what universities or hospitals near you might have openings - there are probably all sorts of administrative-type jobs that you can get without a degree. Added bonus, you'll probably get good tuition benefits and also find yourself working with people who are all about the benefits of education and may very well, where possible, be flexible about adjusting work hours to let you take classes even during the day should you so desire. The pay may be a little less than you're talking about, but the benefits will probably be very good and outweigh some of a pay cut you might take. If you're in or around Pittsburgh, feel free to MefiMail me - I can tell you a bit about what it's like to apply or work at some of the universities and hospitals here.
posted by Stacey at 7:56 PM on May 11, 2008

I was in the same position (and state!) as you: didn't finish school, worked retail for... too long... Take a look at the State Civil Service website. Obviously, it's hard to tell how many jobs there are in your area, but there are plenty in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (and liquor stores- yeah, those are civil service.) There always testing for some kind of clerical jobs, and it's pretty cut-and-dried to look at the list and tell which jobs you can get without a degree. Bottom rung for, say, a Clerk Typist 1 is 10.99/hr (pdf link.) And I can tell you, it's nice working 37.5 hour weeks, getting (almost) all my lunch breaks and not dreading Christmas.
posted by jessenoonan at 8:00 PM on May 11, 2008

Nthing temp agency. Mindless work that you can get most of it done before your shift is over, and then do your own things the rest of the day while getting paid!
posted by saxamo at 8:19 PM on May 11, 2008

Paralegal or legal secretary. I did it.
posted by Sassyfras at 8:47 PM on May 11, 2008

Manufacturing jobs pay decent, although you usually get stuck with the crappy 3 to midnight or graveyard shift at first. I worked a few of them in my twenties before I went to college, and I believe my average pay was around 35,000 a year. This was in NE Texas, so the pay is probably more in other areas.

Fair warning - this can often be hard work - boring, tedious, sweat-inducing labor. It's why I went to college.

I am now a librarian, and hire drivers for the bookmobile and delivery services at just over 10 bucks an hour to start as well, so you might check into something like that. My drivers need a CDL license, easily obtainable at your local DMV.
posted by bradth27 at 9:34 PM on May 11, 2008

Post Office?
posted by mmdei at 11:49 PM on May 11, 2008

Some non-profits (particularly youth ones, at least here) don't care about your degree.
posted by divabat at 12:09 AM on May 12, 2008

UPS delivery? (not a desk job, but I mention it because they have a good reputation wrt tuition reimbursement)
posted by n y my at 4:06 AM on May 12, 2008

Here's a related previous thread that might help.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:07 AM on May 12, 2008

I'm writing from Illinois, so maybe things are different there, but as someone who has been out of work since last August, I would highly recommend that be sure of the security of your new job before you leave your current one!

I have temped before, and even got a nice office assistant/receptionist job out of the experience, but I can't even get temp companies to call me for an interview right now. A buddy of mine has been out of work almost the same amount of time is just barely getting by on temp work, but he has years of office supervisor experience. Even so, he isn't getting steady work, just a couple of days here and there. It's a dark and rough time. (FYI, both of us are in our 30's with college degrees)

That said, I would suggest trying to stay 'in field' and look at the companies that supply the stuff that you sell. It's a logical step, and you will have some level of knowledge of the product. This could be anything from from office work, to delivery driving, to warehouse/manufacturing work. Just present yourself the way you have here (dressed up a bit) and see what happens.
posted by schwap23 at 6:43 AM on May 12, 2008

I worked for a while as a courier for a retail chain's back office. Most of my day was spent delivering interoffice mail between a few buildings in an industrial park. Every few days I'd need to drive something out to a store, or to an office in another complex.

9-5, holidays off, never had to answer a phone or talk to a customer. I had no CDL and no college degree at the time.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:23 AM on May 12, 2008

There are probably a lot of civil servent jobs that don't require degrees.
posted by mmascolino at 8:46 AM on May 12, 2008

Here's a general bit of advice: Don't be afraid to apply for jobs that you may think you are unqualified for. Obviously, don't be ridiculous about this; you wouldn't apply for an engineering job, or hospital administrator without the proper training and experience.

But, I have seen too many people not apply for jobs becuase, for example, a requirement is "Proficient in all Microsoft Office programs" or "must type 40 words per minute." Many people think "Well, I know Office, but I'm not proficient," or "I don't think I type that many words per minute; I'm not even a trained typist!" Apply anyway! Do not lie on your resume or application, but think hard about your experience, even if it's for personal work or volunteer work. The goal of the resume is not to get the job, but to get the interview. If you interview well, and show you are willing to work, you may have a better chance than someone with more experience on paper, but doesn't come across as well in person.

Here's a related story: I worked for a printing company running a small press. I had schooling and several years experience. It takes considerable skill, but it's not rocket surgery or brain science. (It's also not a desk job, but it was 9-5, and pretty good work environment. A friend of mine was tired of his job at the Frito factory, so I asked my boss about hiring him. I said he had no experience, but was willing to learn. By boss said "If he willing to work, send him in." My friend got the job, I trained him, and he loved working there. He made more money than the Frito factory, in better working conditions. He was still there when I left, and they were very happy with him. Willingness to learn and work goes a long way. Knock on some doors and see what happens.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:44 AM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Have you looked for job fairs in your area? There's usually quite a range of employers, and they will have an idea of what jobs you could fit into. It worked for me when I was younger, with no degree or idea what I wanted to do for a living. Worked through 4 jobs in the company to get to my current position. All the department heads and upper management here have the same story to tell - they started as a low-level clerk or delivery boy or girl and worked their way up.

You don't sound too picky to me. Just be willing to try your hand at new things, work hard, and you'll do great. Good luck!
posted by dosterm at 11:55 AM on May 12, 2008

UPS delivery? (not a desk job, but I mention it because they have a good reputation wrt tuition reimbursement)
posted by n y my at 7:06 AM on May 12 [+] [!]

From what I understand, people work in the truck hubs loading and sorting packages and driving forklifts for years hoping for a chance at becoming a delivery driver-- it's a long-term aspiration for a lot of people and usually a position filled from within.

From experience, it's a very insular culture there so I am inclined to believe that.

It's also not a 9-to-5 job either. You start at the crack of dawn and you stop when the job is done.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 4:02 PM on May 12, 2008

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