At Work

These jobs offer more time off than average

Key Points
  • There are many jobs that have quirky time-off policies
  • Pilots, teachers and cruise ship workers have more time off than the average 9-to-5 worker
  • There are other professions that require night shifts, resulting in unusual time off
How to get a job with a 15-day weekend — every month

Many people who work 9 to 5 find themselves working for the weekend. But some jobs offer more time off than average.

Airline Pilots have a minimum of 12 to 15 days off per month,depending on the airline. For example, in a 30-day month, Southwest Airlines mandates that pilots take 15 reserve days. In addition, FAA regulations allow pilots to fly just 1,000 hours a year. That means airline pilots work 20-hour weeks compared with the 40-hour weeks of 9-to-5 workers.

However, being an airplane pilot comes with its downsides. Reserve days are not necessarily vacation days. They are often spent in hotels and away from home. The Journal of Environmental Health has found that pilots are more depressed than the general U.S. population.

K-12 Teachers have quite a bit of time off compared with regular jobs. Teachers get all the time off that students get, including federal holidays, seasonal vacations and the summer.

But teachers are not compensated for those summer months. This amounts to a substantial pay cut, since they are paid for only 9 months. In fact they are paid for the days they are contracted for, which is only about 185 days a year. For this reason, K-12 teachers often get secondary jobs in the summer months to make up the difference. This is not to mention that teachers are expected to prepare lesson plans and get supplies for the upcoming school year during the summer months. In reality, teachers continue working through the summer for less pay.

Cruise Ship Employees keep some of the strangest hours. Between cruises that they are assigned to work on, workers have chunks of vacation time. This can be as much as 8 weeks of time off at once.

The extended time off does come with a downside. When cruise ship employees are at sea, they may work up to 100 hours a week. They also spend a lot of time away from their families.

Then there are "24-hour professions," or jobs that require night shifts. Firefighters, nurses and air traffic controllers fall under this category.

Firefighters generally work 24-hour shifts, followed by 2 days off. Essentially, firefighters have a weekend after every work day. However, firefighting is the second-most stressful job in the U.S. In addition to battling fires, they are called to the scene of car accidents, medical emergencies and other dangerous situations.

Nurses generally have two options. They can work four 10-hour shifts or three 12-hour shifts per week. That leaves three days, or even four days, of time off per week.

Air Traffic Controllers have work schedules that vary greatly. Although they work the usual five 8-hour shifts of a 9-to-5 worker, they work at odd times. This includes working night shifts every week. The lack of consistency of shift times takes a serious toll on sleep patterns of workers. In fact, before night shifts, workers get an average of 2.3 hours of sleep.

These jobs may seem appealing to the average 9-to-5 worker. However, they also have significant downsides, like spending little time with family, working tough night shifts and working in a stressful environment.

A 9-to-5 job suddenly doesn't sound so bad.