Careers That Could Ruin Your Social Life

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Don't bother with these overrated careers

If work-life balance is important to you, you may want to avoid some of these careers.

Do you work to live, or live to work? It's a question you may want to ask before signing up for a career, because some professions demand so much time that it can put a dent in your social life.
For instance, a career as an executive might demand a lot of traveling while a career in nursing may have you worrying about patients long after you finish your shift, says Ryan Himmel, career and personal finance expert and CEO of BIDaWIZ, which gives financial and business advice to individuals and businesses. Both of those can take a toll on your social life, he says.
Other careers offer a little more time for you - and your social life. And we're not talking party planner or matchmaker. We're talking common careers in a wide range of industries.
So, if you're interested in keeping your social life safe from your career, here are five jobs you may want to avoid. And in the interest of keeping things in balance, we've also included five that probably won't throw your life out of whack.

No Life Career #1: Surgeon

Median
Annual Salary*
≥$187,199
Top 10% of
Annual Salaries*
≥$187,199
Bottom 10% of
Annual Salaries*
<$127,320
You know all those shows where popular, Porsche-driving surgeons are saving patients every day and schmoozing at cocktail parties every night? Well, believe the saving part. And probably the Porsche part. But the nightly cocktail party part? Not so much.
Why You Might Have No Social Life: Even when surgeons are not in the hospital, they are often on call, says Tony Sorensen, CEO of the executive search and consulting firm Versique Search & Consulting.
"Depending on how many patients are in need of their particular skills, they could be spread incredibly thin with no one available to back them up in case of a non-work-related engagement," he says.
Plus, when your day-to-day experience is life and death, and you may have been up since 4 a.m., it can be difficult to make 'small talk,' points out Lyn O'Brien, a career advancement specialist, lecturer, and author based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Balanced Career #1: Web Developer

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Median
Annual Salary*
$63,160
Top 10% of
Annual Salaries*
>$110,350
Bottom 10% of
Annual Salaries*
<$33,320
If you have an eye for design, but also have some technical savvy, this career could be a good balance for your life. Web developers design and create websites, and are responsible for both the look and technical aspects of them, says the U.S. Department of Labor. But, say Himmel and Sorensen, it's not a profession that will take over your life.
Why It Could Be More Balanced: Although this career can be demanding, it can also give you room for a life outside of work, says Himmel, explaining that "if you're working for yourself or for a company with realistic deadlines, then it can provide a great work/life balance."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Web Design Program.
Often, web developers are private contractors, adds Sorensen, allowing them to choose their clients and their hours. That can go a long way toward easing the pressure on their social life.
Prepare for This Potentially Balanced Career: Web developers need knowledge of both computer programming and graphic design, says the Department of Labor. While the education requirements range from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree, the most common requirement would be an associate's degree in web design or a related field.

No Life Career #2: Registered Nurse

Median
Annual Salary*
$66,220
Top 10% of
Annual Salaries*
>$96,320
Bottom 10% of
Annual Salaries*
<$45,630
Nursing is often a vocation taken up by people passionate about helping others. Admirable, for sure, but also often taxing on the social life.
Why You Might Have No Social Life: "As a registered nurse, you may need to work overnight hours or multiple shifts during a day to cover for another colleague, which will eat into your social life," says Himmel.
In addition, Himmel says there could be instances in which you become emotionally attached to a patient's prognosis. And although that's admirable, it can also be very draining on your social life, he says. He says that nurses can sometimes have a hard time leaving their work at the hospital, and that can lead to thinking about their patients when they should be enjoying an evening with friends or family.

Balanced Career #2: Dental Hygienist

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Median
Annual Salary*
$71,110
Top 10% of
Annual Salaries*
>$96,690
Bottom 10% of
Annual Salaries*
<$47,880
If you think the world could use more smiles, the career of dental hygienist could be for you. They work in Dentists' offices and not only clean teeth but check patients for signs of gum and tooth disease, says the U.S. Department of Labor. But apparently, they aren't too busy to put the whitening tools aside and enjoy a night out every once in a while.
Why It Could Be More Balanced: It's the structure of this job that allows for balance, according to Sorensen. Dentist's offices close at set times, after which the hygienist is free to enjoy the evening. They don't have to worry about working odd hours to keep the business going, Sorensen points out.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program.
Himmel adds that this career may allow you to separate out your social and professional life. "For instance, you're probably not going to take your work home with you and think about the patients' teeth that you cleaned," he says.
Prepare for This Potentially Balanced Career: Here's some info that might have you smiling. Although there are bachelor degrees in dental hygiene, the Department of Labor says typically these professionals have associate's degrees in dental hygiene. They must also be licensed, with requirements varying by state.

Balanced Career #3: Elementary School Teacher

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Median
Annual Salary*
$53,590
Top 10% of
Annual Salaries*
>$83,600
Bottom 10% of
Annual Salaries*
<$35,760
Remember when you were a kid and you got all summer off every year? That was pretty good for your social life, right? Well then, you may like the job of elementary school teacher, which entails teaching kids subjects like reading and math, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why It Could Be More Balanced: "Elementary school teachers have the rewarding opportunity of educating the future of our country while also working flexible hours. They have summers off and they don't typically work more than eight hour days," says Himmel.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Elementary Education Program.
That's a good recipe for a lot of free time and possibly a more balanced life, says Sorensen. "Since most schools don't go past about 3:00 pm in the afternoon, they have more flexibility in their schedules," he says.
Prepare for This Potentially Balanced Career: In order to teach the next generation, you will need some schooling of your own. All states require public elementary school teachers to have a bachelor's degree in elementary education and to be licensed, says the Department of Labor. And while private schools don't have the same requirements, the Department says they usually seek candidates with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.

No Life Career #4: Chief Executive

Median
Annual Salary*
$171,610
Top 10% of
Annual Salaries*
≥$187,199
Bottom 10% of
Annual Salaries*
<$75,030
They say life at the top can be lonely. It's not surprising, since the workers who run companies may find the lines often blurred between business and pleasure.
Why You Might Have No Social Life: "Top executives have a responsibility to their company and often deal with not only internal operations, but external relationships. Often, social dinners also have a business purpose making work-life balance more complicated," says Sorensen.
Himmel adds that most top executives, which includes chief executives, travel a lot, and that can dig deeper into your social life, as well as add to exhaustion - not the best recipe for balance.

"Balanced" Career #4: Human Resources Specialist

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Median
Annual Salary*
$56,630
Top 10% of
Annual Salaries*
>$96,470
Bottom 10% of
Annual Salaries*
<$33,240
Have great people people skills? This might be the job for you. As the U.S. Department of Labor says, these professionals do things like interviewing potential new employees and handling employee relations.
Why It Could Be More Balanced: "HR Specialists work in an operations role to keep companies moving forward. Generally, that requires them to work the hours of the company, so they are able to balance a social life with their work during the day," Sorensen says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Human Resources Program.
And O'Brien adds that since the job demands dealing with various personalities all day long, you may build social skills you can use in your off-time. "The hours are normal, so you'll have plenty of time after work to use your refined people skills bettering your social life. Everyone loves the matchmaker."
Prepare for This Potentially Balanced Career: Aside from showing off your people skills in your job interview, you might need some schooling. The Department of Labor says applicants must usually have a bachelor's degree in human resources, business, or a related field.

No Life Career #5: Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agent

Median
Annual Salary*
>$72,640
Top 10% of
Annual Salaries*
≥$187,199
Bottom 10% of
Annual Salaries*
<$32,280
Ever get a peek at the New York Stock Exchange trading floor? Some days you might mistake it for an Mixed Martial Arts match. Not exactly conducive to relaxed social interaction. But even if you don't plan on being a screaming floor trader, this career can eat into your social life.
Why You Might Have No Social Life: These professionals often work around their clients' schedules, says Sorensen, and that can cut into their social life. "Whereas most people work 8 am to 5 pm, financial service individuals typically meet their clients outside of those hours, cutting into time with friends and family," he says.
And O'Brien says social occasions for these professionals might not always be so social. "In off hours, to generate new business, you'll need to be where people who have money to invest are gathered. Paying for the privilege of club memberships, certain social events, and special affairs before you have the business can really strain the budget," she says.

Balanced Career #5: Industrial Organizational Psychologist

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Median
Annual Salary*
$80,330
Top 10% of
Annual Salaries*
>$140,390
Bottom 10% of
Annual Salaries*
<$49,570
If you think understanding how people think and why they do what they do might be a good thing for relating to others, this career could be a good fit.
As an industrial organizational psychologist, you would work on solving problems and improving the quality of work life, and on increasing productivity at companies by applying psychological principles, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
Why It Could Be More Balanced: "Industrial organizational psychologists work with companies to identify patterns and behaviors of prospective hires, as well as current employees. Because they work within companies that have set hours, their roles can be similar to other operations roles, and they are able to leave when the office closes for the day," says Sorensen.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Psychology Program.
And, O'Brien says that a psychologist's training gives them people skills that could improve their social life. "When your career's purpose is to improve the performance, satisfaction, and the safety and well-being of employees, how can it help but rub off on you?" she says. As O'Brien sees it, those same skills that these professionals use to make employees happy and satisfied can be used to improve the quality of life of friends and family, which can make these workers very popular.
Prepare for This Potentially Balanced Career: You'll need more than a good understanding of people to work in this field. According to the Department of Labor, master's degree graduates are able to work as industrial-organizational psychologists.
If you're interested in pursuing one of these careers, but aren't sure how to get started because of your busy schedule, one option to consider is online education. According to University.com, a comprehensive research site for students interested in online degrees and courses, there are online programs out there that could help you prepare to pursue a variety of careers that are known for having a high level of flexibility.

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