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Improve Your Work-Life Balance With These 4 Career Paths

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Improve Your Work-Life Balance With These 4 Career Paths

Forty-eight percent of Americans are workaholics, but 72% say work-life balance is important to them. Work doesn’t have to be your life, yet many people struggle with work-life balance. They work at companies that demand more than 40 hours per week or have high-stress jobs that make it impossible to leave work at work. Some start their own businesses or become freelancers, only to realize that when earnings are tied to personal productivity, it’s hard to completely check out. 

A good work-life balance isn’t just the latest career trend. It’s vital to your health, well-being and sense of purpose. At the end of your life, you’re unlikely to wish you had more possessions or spent more time at the office. Instead, you might reflect on the joy of putting your kids to bed every night, the love and companionship of your great marriage, or the value of giving back to your community. You are not your job. 

The best work-life balance jobs offer reasonable and flexible hours, give you control over your personal life and allow you to leave work at the office. Adults going back to school should consider their options for more flexible careers. Here are some great choices for a better work-life balance. 

1. Consulting 

Consultants work in a range of industries, from education and hospitality to technology and marketing. Their job is to help individuals and companies do what they’re already doing, but better (and often more affordably). Although many consultants work for consulting firms, others start their own businesses. 

Running a business poses challenges for your work-life balance. But once you get going, you’ll have more control over your schedule and may even be able to work remotely. Because consultants frequently travel or visit other businesses, this is a good option for people who feel bored in an office or want time to run errands between clients. 

Your consulting career can also evolve, meaning you can take on more clients or scale back as your needs change. You might even shift industries over time, keeping things interesting and new. 

Consulting work varies in earnings and benefits, so it’s important to consider what’s most important to you. Do you want a predictable schedule with lots of PTO? A part-time job? A company of your own, allowing you to set the schedule and pace of work? Consider your goals, then choose a degree path that prioritizes them. 

SNU offers several degree programs that may help you pursue a consulting career, including our Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Leadership and Master of Business Administration (MBA).  

2. Technology 

Tech jobs are highly skilled, meaning they often pay very well. And because individuals with tech skills are in high demand  right now, tech workers can expect employers to compete over them. That means higher wages, better benefits, more time off and often more flexibility. As you establish yourself as a respected player in your industry, you can anticipate more opportunities and less stress. 

Almost all technology roles are possible to do from home. This widens your job search radius and ensures you’re always home when you need or want to be. The cybersecurity industry is quickly growing, and with more jobs available, employers will have to offer more competitive compensation packages, including additional PTO and more flexible schedules. 

U.S. News ranked “software developer” as the best job for 2023 based on the role’s high earnings, low unemployment and rapid growth. Stable hours, the ability to work remotely, competitive benefits and significant time off make this career path a great bet for an improved balance between work and life. 

SNU’s Associate of Science in Information Systems and Technology can help start your tech career, and our Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity can build upon the strong foundation you already have. 

3. Instructional Design

Instructional designers design and develop learning experiences and performance interventions to support the diverse needs of clients and users. Instructional design positions can be found in the fields of business, education, health services, government and military.

The field of instructional design is expanding rapidly in today's market, providing a variety of job choices, numerous specialization areas, and often the flexibility of working remotely or serving as a freelance consultant. This allows for a personalized work-life balance.

Learn more about SNU’s Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology.

4. Physician Assistant 

Healthcare jobs are growing rapidly, outpacing almost every other field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an additional 2 million healthcare jobs will be created over the next decade. This means the earnings are generally high, with low unemployment, significant growth opportunities and employers who are willing to compete over the best employees.

However, healthcare positions — particularly physician roles — are notoriously stressful. Physicians tend to have high rates of burnout and chronic stress.

According to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) 2020 Statistical Profile of Certified PAs by Specialty, physician assistants (PAs) enjoy low burnout rates and high rates of job satisfaction. According to Dawn Morton-Rias, the president and CEO of NCCPA, this is due to the PA profession’s flexibility, comfortable salaries (with median earnings of around $120,000), and the enjoyment of a good work-life balance.

Some physician assistants even work remotely, eliminating the stress of a daily commute and giving more control over scheduling. Take control of your future by learning more about the SNU graduate program for physician assistants.

Other Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance

You can achieve work-life balance in nearly any industry if you choose the right path. For example, a cybersecurity analyst working at a startup might have to work long, unpredictable hours, but the same person working for a large, established business could draw clear boundaries between work and life. 

As you weigh career options, it’s important to consider what balance means to you. Some questions to ask include: 

  • Can I manage the challenges of self-employment to achieve greater flexibility? 
  • Am I more concerned about stress or hours? Would a low-stress job offer me a greater work-life balance? 
  • How does my commute affect my stress level and work-life balance? 
  • How much PTO do I need for my job to feel worthwhile? 
  • Would I be happier in a part-time role? 
  • Am I willing to trade a few years of intense work for longer-term flexibility? 

You can open more career doors with a flexible degree. MBAs continue to be in demand, with employers across industries hiring MBA graduates. Learn more with “The Ultimate Career Roadmap for MBA Graduates.”

MBA career roadmap

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