Kissing is just cuddling with your lips. -Krishna
Question #92886 posted on 02/03/2020 9:24 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm looking for a fully-benefited job that doesn't require me to spend most of my life at work (even if it doesn't pay a lot)

I currently work full time in a technical field at BYU. Depending on your position and years of work at BYU you can earn anywhere between 12 vacation days + 12 sick days, up to 22 vacation days + 12 sick days. (Sick days cannot be used as vacation days). There are also 12 paid holidays.
So, a grand total of 36-46 days off, 12 of which can be used for sick time, but only sick time.

My wife currently works as a teacher, and essentially gets 81 days of vacation + 5 (I think - maybe more) days off that can be used for either sick time or vacation time. (81 days comes from 11 weeks of summer vacation + Fall break week + Spring break week + 2 weeks Winter break = 15 weeks * 5 days = 75. Add in Pres Day, MLKJ day, Labor day, and 3 days of Thanksgiving = 81)
So a grand total of 86 days off, 5 of which can be used as either sick time or vacation time.

If you assume 12 paid holidays/year, there are about 248 working days/year (52 weeks * 5 days - 12 paid holidays). I work about 224/248 working days (if I use all 12 sick days), a teacher works about 174/248 working days.
I know there are some companies (like Ancestry.com, I think?) that have "unlimited PTO" so you don't have to worry about tracking days, etc. But I would be hard pressed to believe that anyone who only worked 174 days/year would be able to keep their job there.

I'm not mad -- I actually think it would be mentally and emotionally healthier to work 174 days/year, even if it means you only make $40k/year and might have to put in extra hours grading papers some days, and even if certain students drive you nuts on a daily basis. I'm just slightly jealous -- it would be incredible to spend the entire summer with your spouse and kids. I've been considering looking into what the certification process would be. (I think I've got a chance, because I have a technical minor, and foreign language minor, an BFA in art, and a graduate degree in education)

Considering that (or at least my impression is) BYU has "pretty good benefits", I wouldn't expect much better vacation time working at any other fully benefitted job (aside from teaching).
But my question is: ARE there any other fully benefitted jobs out there that offer even close to that much time off? Is being a teacher the only way? The one true unicorn? Running my own business doesn't seem like that great of an option because the laws and taxes are so nuts, and if something goes wrong with your business you still have to be on call.


Bonus question - have you ever known of anyone to become a school teacher, just through a certification process -- not having ever gotten a BA in teaching?

- Ol' Davie O Mckay

A:

Dear McKay,

There are a few ways to get a teaching license without having graduated in education. Basically, you have to do an alternate route to licensure (ARL). Normally, in order to do that, you just contact your local school district and ask them how to get that in your state. Normally, it doesn't seem like it's that hard, and it is even easier if you want to teach in one of the fields in high demand (such as math).There are also programs that offer licensure such as Teach For America.

If you need any help figuring all this out, I think the best people to contact are professors or others in colleges in the state where you would like a license (that's how I found out about it).

Best of luck!

Inklings

A:

Dear David,

Last year, when I went to the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, some of the speakers and company representatives talked about how the very best data scientists got to choose their own schedule. If a data scientist is amazing at what they do, they can make an absurd amount of money, and essentially choose their own schedule. One company CEO talked about hiring a data scientist who took the entire ski season off and still requested an extremely high pay because they were just that good.

However, that's not something that's exactly easily accessible to the general public. 

I can't think of other general jobs that offer as much time off as being a teacher, but I wouldn't call being a teacher the unicorn of jobs, because of the disproportionately low pay and ridiculous extra time required during the school year. Like any job, it's a trade off of pros and cons.

~Anathema

A:

Dear McKay,

Hi, teacher here.

Yes, if you want to get into teaching and you don't have a background in education or a teaching license, you can do an Alternate Route to Licensure (ARL), and I know teachers who have done that who are great at their jobs. If you want to learn more about ARL and don't want to have to talk to anyone about it, you can also find out the requirements if you just google, "Alternate Route to Licensure requirements in [state name]." For your convenience, I've included Utah's requirements here

However, if you do ARL, just be prepared to work SO MUCH on your classroom management, because that's a huge component of teaching. Honestly, teaching is so much more than just knowing the material--being passionate about the content knowledge alone is important, but definitely not enough to keep you going if you're not also passionate about working with kids/teenagers. And teaching is made much easier if you also know how to keep a class of 30+ students mostly engaged and on track. Many states will probably require you to take some classroom management classes at some point if you do ARL, but my advice would be to take those classes much sooner than later, because why deny yourself and your students those tools that will make everyone's experience in the classroom so much better? I know some teachers who have done ARL who lamented that they didn't know more about classroom management when they first started teaching, because they found out they were doing virtually everything wrong their first few years until they took those classes and learned there was an easier, better way. (And yeah, everyone makes mistakes in their first years teaching, regardless of their background, but you might as well try to minimize those mistakes.) 

As for your assumption that teaching is the unicorn of all jobs (only 174 days of work per year!), let me just disillusion you of that thought. Firstly, I highly doubt that most teachers are willingly using all their sick days (assuming that they're not forced to because of something like pregnancy/childbirth or a car accident). Planning a lesson plan for a substitute is way more effort than you'd think, and then when you get back you have to deal with the effects of whatever random crap your students got up to when you weren't there, so unless you're dying, it's often more work to stay home than it is to drag your broken body to school and just force your way through the day.

Second of all, days worked is maybe a less accurate metric than hours worked. According to this website, the average American works 38.7 hours a week, and works 46.8 weeks a year. That adds up to a total of about 1,811 hours per year, spread out over most of the year. In most states there are 36 weeks in a school year, but to account for all of the summer and weekend trainings, let's say that most teachers work 38 weeks per year. The contract time for teachers in most school districts is 40 hours per week, but I don't know any teachers who don't work more than that. For me, a first year teacher, 60 hours per week is more realistic. And if we multiply 60 by 38, that means I end up working around 2,280 hours per year, crammed into 9 months instead of spread out over the year. Let's say that I'm over-exaggerating my own workload here and and work closer to 55 or even 50 hours per week. That still means I'm working 1,900-2,090 hours per year. At the low low end, let's say I only work 36 weeks per year and only work 50 hours per week (and I can guarantee you I work at least 50 hours per week)--that's still 1,800 hours per year--only 11 hours less than the average worker in most other jobs, and I've spent at least 11 hours in summer trainings that weren't accounted for in that last equation. People are always talking about how teachers have it so easy because we don't work summers or holidays, and I won't deny that it's nice to have that time off (even though so far on every single holiday I've had "off," I've actually had to do a lot of work), but what not working summers really means is that we have fewer months to cram the same number of working hours into than most professionals do. Even if that website I found is on the low end of what Americans work, and most really work closer to 2,000 hours per year, that's still about what teachers are working.

Nursing is another job where they don't work as many days as a lot of other jobs (a lot of nurses work 12-hour shifts at a time, so they only work 3 days a week), but again, they're still working a lot of hours (and shall I tally up for you the number of recent weeks where I've been at school for 12+ hours on at least 3 different days, and then have still had to put in another full 2 days of work? It's a depressingly high number).

Knowing that I work roughly the same number of hours per year as my husband (another recent college grad in his first year at his job), is it really fair that I get paid SUCH a dramatically lower salary than he does? Sure, I'm fine getting paid less than he does because his job has high demand, but if I were to break down the numbers of what he gets paid and what I get paid, the disparity is truly ridiculous (and I'm in one of the highest paying school districts in Utah). And in all honesty, having literally nothing to do all summer isn't all it's cracked up to be. It's nice for the few weeks I'm on vacation, but other than that it's pretty boring (at least for me, a childless adult). I'd rather have less to do during my super frantic school year weeks, and more to do during the summer, to spread out my working hours a little more evenly, but unless I work in a weird charter school, that's probably never going to happen. Not unless I switch jobs, anyway. 

-Alta

posted on 02/04/2020 7:58 a.m.
If all you are looking for is the number of days off... Career Firefighting or work as a paramedic may be the clear winner. Many work 1/3 of the year - 121ish days - but work 24 hour shifts.
Of course there is the part where it has one of the highest suicide rates of any job.

Don’t focus on days off. Find what you love to do and it will be worth it.