Is a Flex Job in Your Future?
A little history…
In the 1960’s, most desk jobs were in open offices. Desks were arranged in long rows, with just enough space for a swivel chair to slide back, and for a wastebasket. Management worked behind the closed doors at either side of the room.
Ten years later, desks, workers and their telephones were cocooned into cubicles. After another 10 or 15 years, computer workstations were installed on those desks.
Phone lines became network connections. 9-to-5’s became 8-to-5’s. Data replaced paper.
As many gray walls came down and long tables replaced individual desks, many of the former cube-dwellers looked for opportunities where the work environment or work hours could be more flexible. Instead of a long commute, bringing people to work, technology could bring work to people.
For many, that future has arrived. Are you part of it, or do you prefer the regular hours and the communal work spaces?
If you are looking for more flexibility, each of these options is well-known and widely-available:
Computer (Tech) Careers
The Department of Labor’s Occupation Outlook found over 1 million programming jobs. Many of those are within office confines, but there are also less technical opportunities. Data entry and software testing require less education. If you aim for web development or a programming language, free and low-cost courses are available online at Udemy.com and at the Khan Academy.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found 2.3 million of these. Increasingly, the jobs are moving away from call centers (domestic and overseas) and into homes like yours.
Not everyone telecommutes! People still need the occasional taxi or limo driver (223,000 jobs), and eCommerce as well as brick-and-mortar commerce requires delivery vehicles. Those jobs are likely to be part-time, temporary, or independent contractor. If you are independent, be prepared to set aside taxes and find individual retirement and medical plans.
Healthcare services are moving online with support provided by remote workers, from their homes. Put your medical knowledge to work there, whether assisting with claims or, using your medical degree, providing initial diagnoses and recommendations.
Entry-level opportunities abound in and around the home. An aging population is calling for over 39 million elder care providers. The BLS also reported over 800,000 Landscaping and Grounds-keeping Workers.
Professional recruiters scour online databases to find people for jobs and earn commissions when they make the match, whether they work from home French Paleo Burn scam or from an office. Others travel locally and nationally, finding clients who have hiring needs.
For insurance and real estate sales, a high school degree may be required. Retail (including automotive) sales positions seldom specify education. While flexible, work hours can be long and the competition intense. With patience and after a low-paying learning curve, good incomes are possible.
Put your specialized technical knowledge to work here. If you can teach or write a course, consider your opportunities online. An education degree opens further opportunities for online primary and secondary school teaching.
If you’ve been there, done that, grab one of the 70,000 jobs in a declining but still-needed profession. More people and companies handle their own travel plans over the internet. That makes intensive knowledge of a country, mode of transportation, or resort area necessary to give an edge.
To be a writer, write. In the 21st century, you can sell your work through online publishers with no subsidy, and no need to buy hundreds of copies of your play, poetry, or novel. Online marketplaces will connect you with freelance assignments as well.
 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012.
 Khan Academy
 Two examples are Odesk.com and Elance.com.