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AnonymousWoman's avatar

I am not a fan of deadlines. Which jobs could I get that this would not be a problem in?

Asked by AnonymousWoman (6344 points ) December 29th, 2011

I strongly dislike deadlines. I like working at my own pace. I am definitely not the Queen of meeting deadlines 100% of the time. In fact, it’s not always easy for me to meet a deadline. I like my work to be thorough and I like to spend as much time as I feel I need to on it so that it meets my own expectations.

Deadlines cause me to feel pressured and needlessly stressed. As a result, I have known myself to end up giving up because of them. If I don’t have deadlines, I feel that I am more likely to succeed, get things done faster, and even enjoy my work.

Knowing these things, which kinds of jobs would you recommend to me?

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30 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

Something that involves only yourself. You could be a writer, a painter, a potter, although, if you became successful, there would be deadlines thereafter. Does your dislike include not being on time to work? if so, I think you’re out of luck. I think it would be easier to change yourself than to change the working world.

YARNLADY's avatar

Plant nursery

DaphneT's avatar

Retail associate. Research. Unfortunately deadlines exist in everything. For example, you wake in the morning with the goal of living through the day. By nightfall the deadline has arrived. Did you meet it? Most people learn coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of deadlines and they learn that being thorough is not always what they are paid for. Sometimes they are only paid to stand there and look pretty. Just remember, even models have deadlines. So do reporters, essayists, politicians, mechanics, doctors, lawyers, bricklayers, concrete mixers, nurses, teachers, moms and dads.

So what are your strengths and major interests? This may help you find a vocation with minimal deadlines.

XOIIO's avatar

You can pump gas.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

@Sunny2 I am interested in writing, but not painting or being a potter. :)

No, it does not include not being on time for work. It includes wanting to put as much quality as possible into my work. I like getting things right with as few errors as possible.

@YARNLADY What’s that like?

@DaphneT Those are very good points. Maybe I will focus instead on learning how to cope with the stress of deadlines. You are very thoughtful to point those things out to me and acknowledge several people’s jobs in the process. :)

I enjoy writing and I feel that I can communicate quite well through written communication. I am also extremely interested in human behaviour. I like understanding why people think the way they do and why people do the things they do. I enjoy trying out new food from different cultures. I like learning new things. I like listening. I like paying attention to my surroundings. I enjoy nature. I like camping. I like helping people if it is at all possible. I enjoy babysitting and teaching young people new words. I like reading. I like imagination. I like hearing what other people have to say.

@XOIIO :)

HungryGuy's avatar

That’s a tough one. Any job that someone pays you for, the person paying you is going to want to measure your performance in some way or other. This almost always involves doing some amount of work (selling X widgets, driving X miles, writing X lines of code, writing X words, answering X customer phone calls, etc.) in some amount of time.

The only way you’re going to escape from deadlines is to be self-employed. That doesn’t necessarily mean owning your own brick-and-mortar store. You could be a freelance novelist, for example, and write your novel at your own pace and then sell it to a publisher.

DaphneT's avatar

@AnonymousGirl, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to come across as facetious.

With your strengths and your desire to minimize deadlines, elder care might be an option where deadlines might be limited to lunch, end of day, that type of thing. Day care is also a possibility. Children’s camps have deadlines of a sort, but having fun with the kids makes it palatable. Being a docent or a nature guide at major parks would also give deadlines a different feel, but meeting new people comes with it. Any writing-based job usually results in touchy deadlines, as does any commissioned creativity.

If you haven’t examined it yet, you might compare and contrast your itch for thoroughness with your time usage skills to see where the two are pulling at each other. Journal(physically or mentally) yourself throughout the day and see where things might have been handled more efficiently. not saying anything will turn up, just an area of skill development to examine

figbash's avatar

This one is tough because deadlines of some form exist always. Even if you’re self-employed you have to pay bills on time, respond to people and provide your work in some form to someone. Even an artist has to have some deadlines for gallery viewings, etc. At least if you want to be successful. I’d be interested to know what fields do work for you, if you feel that you could do well in them if there were no deadlines.

I don’t want to pour cold water on the situation, and I respect your question. Different people have different drives and paces but I think you need to find a way to shift your thinking and master deadlines. It’s part of growing professionally and preparing for a career. You don’t have the luxury of much else. In this economy, with so many people unemployed and desperate for jobs – you can’t exactly be that picky. I learned after the economy tanked that all of those old rules are out the door. Employers need employees who are productive, efficient and proactive- and most of that involves deadlines.

So far the only thing that rises to the top is the plant services – but those jobs can be hard to find and may not pay well enough to keep a roof over your head.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m trying to think of a job without deadlines and can’t come up with any. I am very surprised that people suggest horticultural work as being without deadlines. Most plants are very dependent on weather and season—some of the hardest deadlines there are.

There are always deadlines. If you write, you have to get your work in on time, or it won’t get published and you won’t get paid. I guess I’d have to say that the job with the fewest deadlines is that of being independently wealthy. You can hire others to meet all your deadlines for you. But if you’re going to do a job, you’re going to have to meet deadlines all the time. That’s just the way it is. If you don’t want deadlines, don’t work.

JLeslie's avatar

Waiter, flight attendant, retail sales, manicurist, message therapist, esthetician, switchboard operator, hair stylist.

These don’t habe deadlines per se, but you have to be on time towork, and there are other pressures inherent in the jobs. I think it depends partly on how you define deadline. High end retail sales you can make a very nice salary, but you have to be organized, meet sales goals, plan appointments with clients, etc. Moderate to low end retail sales you just have to show up on time and provide good customer service.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Even as a freelancer, people have deadlines. The first book as a writer, maybe not – but if you’re a hit, then your publisher will be all up in your face to get the next one out already. Research, tons of deadlines. Even when it’s not a strict deadline with a definite time, there’s always pressure to be “efficient”, by which they mean, fast. I can’t think of a single job in which you’re allowed to do things leisurely and at your own pace. It’s just one of those things you have to become kind of ok with.

wundayatta's avatar

@JLeslie If a waiter doesn’t get food to my table in fifteen minutes or less, then they are in serious shit with me. Every single position you mentioned has similar problems. Face it, if you don’t get things done in time, you lose the job.

Bellatrix's avatar

Most jobs have deadlines (formal and informal). Even someone pumping gas has to meet the client’s deadline.

Researchers definitely work to deadlines. Pressure to publish. To complete projects. To meet specific dates to meet grant requirements.

If you work in retail, you have to get stock on the shelves by certain times or the till cashed up by a set point in the day.

Even if we work in very solitary jobs, we have to intersect with others at some point. Then deadlines will come into play. Writers have to meet publisher’s deadlines. Scientists, have to have research completed in time for conferences etc. Even nursery workers have to have the plants in the ground to nature’s schedule.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I agree, that is why I mentioned it depends specifically what the OP is counting as a deadline. Maybe she means getting a project in on time that takes several weeks or days, but short term deadlines, like food to a table are ok for her?

Sunny2's avatar

I think real estate salespeople can often set their own schedules. If you work for a company, they may require you to show an open house on a weekend day. You’ll need to go on the tours of new houses being offered. But once you get clients, you work with them as to the schedule for showing different places available to them. You might look into it and see if it would appeal to you.

JLeslie's avatar

@Sunny2 Real estate does have some deadlines, and some are actually governed by laws. An agent must get escrow money to their broker within a certain amount of days or they are in violation. A realtor usually makes sure their clients are meeting all the deadlines dictated by the contract. Deposits, inspections, closings. It’s true real estate has some flexibility, but I would not say it doesn’t have deadlines. But, maybe the OP is ok with those sorts of deadlines.

Sunny2's avatar

@JLeslie Thanks. My answer was based on my observations of friends who are realtors and obviously, that’s not enough to answer fully. I’m glad you clarified it.

Jeruba's avatar

Any job where you have to respond to what’s going on right now—answering the phone, escorting a patient down to surgery, putting out a fire—and there’s nothing to do ahead or save for later. Switchboard operator used to be an ideal job for responding to the demands of the moment with nothing left over at the end of the day, but I don’t think that function exists any more..

AnonymousWoman's avatar

@HungryGuy I understand. Perhaps I will change my priorities and my attitude. It looks like I need to set new expectations for myself and find a better way to manage my time. I don’t want to disappoint myself, but maybe the only reason I end up being disappointed in myself in the first place is because I am too hard on myself when I don’t measure up to my own unrealistic standards. I have known myself to work away at something to perfect it, even after it was already completed, just because I wanted it to be perfect before I handed it in or made it clear that I was finished.

I do want to write a novel, so that’s not a bad idea.

@DaphneT That’s alright. You came across as thoughtful and helpful to me and still do. :)
Thank you for offering those suggestions. :) Daycare sounds interesting to me. I am used to being around children as I grew up in a large family. I also did a Leader-in-Training course and a Counsellor-in-Training course at a camp I used to attend. I stayed on after both to volunteer and I loved it. Doing dishes was not a problem for me. Helping with food preparation and cleaning up around the camp was alright with me, too. So was spending time with the campers. I do not have as much experience with the elderly, but I am not closed to the idea of gaining some. I like the idea of being a guide. That sounds really fun, especially if it’s at a place I enjoy. Would I need to know more than English, though? I understand some French, but I am not a great at speaking in French. My pronunciations of French words are worthy of me being a laughingstock. I wish I was better, though. I love that language.

Yes. I think that’s a good idea. How I spend my time definitely leaves a lot to be desired if I want to be viewed as a more productive person who is useful to have around. I may just do that—think up ways in how I can use my time more efficiently to get the things I want done.

@YARNLADY: Thank you for that link. I will check it out.

@figbash Thank you for bringing those things up. They are good points. I do not mind having to pay bills on time. I understand the need to respond to people. That’s important. I also understand that I will need to provide my work in some form to someone. This deadline thing I brought up is about my work. Gallery viewings are okay. I’d also like to say that when I said I am not a fan of deadlines, I didn’t mean that if I don’t have them, I wouldn’t get my work done on time. Without deadlines, I’m actually encouraged to get my work in faster than I would have otherwise because there is less stress involved. Perhaps it would be wise for me to look into ways I can deal with stress I don’t want to handle. If that requires an attitude change, that requires an attitude change. I am open to changing my attitude. I am interested in jobs that help people in some way. I’m also interested in writing.

Thank you for respecting my question. If you don’t want to pour cold water on my question, that’s fine. That’s even respectable. If I need a wake up call, though, I need a wake up call. You’re doing me a favour to warn me about things. :) There’s no need to feel bad about it. ^_^ I also happen to agree that I need to find a way to shift my thinking and master deadlines. The advice I’ve received here from several different people shows that quite clearly. I also agree that being picky is one of my downfalls here. If I keep being this picky, I will most likely not be successful. I can’t just expect some magic job to show up that is everything I want. I have to go out there and do what I have to do to become as successful as I want to, whether I like what I have to do or not.

How can I make sure that I am productive, efficient, and proactive without focusing too much on the deadline to the point that I give up? Do I just do it or are there ways that can help me get into that habit more easily? If so, what are they?

I am not looking to become a millionaire right now. I am okay with starting with something small and working my way up for now.

@wundayatta I understand your surprise. I should have been clearer. When I referred to deadlines in my question, I was thinking about paperwork.I find it easier to do things that have nothing to do with writing without being overly obsessed with perfection. I remember back in High School, I had a teacher who was worried about me and what would happen to me after the Outdoor Ed course I was taking came to a close because he knew I wasn’t the greatest with paperwork and getting it done on time. Outdoor Ed was a great class for me because the Outdoor Ed class I was in didn’t require too much paperwork. It had just the right amount. The paperwork there didn’t overwhelm me like it did in other courses.

@JLeslie Thank you for the suggestions. Being a waitress appeals to me. So does being a flight attendant. I’ve been interested in working in retail, too. One of the only things stopping me is cash, though. I’m scared of working with cash because I’m afraid of messing up there.

I don’t mind having to be on time for work. That’s a reasonable thing to expect. So are the other things you mentioned. I appreciate that you noticed what I missed: me defining exactly what I meant by “deadline”. I was thinking more along the lines of paperwork deadlines. I am not a fan of doing plenty of paperwork with deadlines to meet as it causes me to feel too pressured and stressed out. I like my writing to feel natural and I find it easier to get done when I’m not feeling pushed to finish it as it feels more natural that way.

@Aethelflaed Thanks for those warnings. I needed them.

@wundayatta I understand that if a waiter doesn’t get food to your table in fifteen minutes or less, then they are in serious shit with you. I don’t mind delivering food to people. I’ve served food at a camp I used to go to. I’ve even walked around giving people desserts. Those were fun times. Doing those things didn’t require writing. They required being on my feet and serving people. I like serving people for positive reasons and I loved that camp. I used to be a camper there myself, so I had even more motivation to do a good job. I know what it’s like to have awesome memories at camp and I wanted the same to be true for them, so I did what I could to make sure that they did as well. The campers having an enjoyable meal was very important to me. Getting food to them as fast as possible was a priority. I still hope that every camper who goes there loves it and has positive experiences there. If I ever have children, I would love for them to go there as well.

@Bellatrix I understand.

It looks like I may have to throw my writing dream out the window if I have to deal with all that pressure.

I don’t mind having to stock shelves by certain times, but I might have trouble with a cash register. I’m (mostly) not good with numbers. I’m scared I would mess up.

A job without what I consider too much paperwork is looking more and more appealing to me.

@JLeslie Yes, you’re right. Getting food to a table is alright for me. I don’t mind getting food to a table on time. You are very observant, analytical, and thoughtful. :)

@Sunny2 Thank you for that suggestion, even though you later felt that you didn’t have enough information to answer fully. :) I like that you are the type of person who can handle correction and appreciates clarification. :) The job you suggested is actually one I have been interested in the past, so it is good that you brought it up! ^_^

@JLeslie That sounds pretty strict. It’s understandable, though.

@Jeruba I am okay with answering a phone, as long as I know what I’m going to have to talk about (or can figure it out quite easily) and the people who are calling me speak a language that I can understand and speak myself. Escorting a patient down to surgery is fine, but I may have to know CPR for that. I’ve taken CPR lessons before. While I passed the test and got my certificate (that has since expired), I forgot what I should do if I ever end up having to give it very fast. :(

@ALL Thank you for your very helpful answers. I appreciate them. I am also grateful for the things mentioned in this thread I had not considered. This is pretty long, so I understand if you only read the parts directed at you. ^_^

linguaphile's avatar

LIke you, I hate deadlines, but work in education and for a while I also worked in publishing. Deadline heavy jobs! What I did was change how I reacted to deadlines.

I can’t not be busy, so I’m always working on projects, activities, and tasks. I teach, go to school, coach a sport, sponsor 3 clubs and come home and am a mom— Having something to do constantly keeps my mind busy and I just finish tasks. I don’t dwell on the fact that there’s a deadline, but focus on completing the work. That’s how I deal with my dislike for deadlines. If you can redefine “deadlines,” maybe that will help?

Bellatrix's avatar

That’s a really good point @linguaphile because that’s how I deal with multiple deadlines too. I rarely feel too pressured by deadlines because I break all tasks into small chunks and just keep chipping away at them. I start thinking about and planning and then working on tasks straight away. I also get bored doing the same task over a long period so by just chipping away at things to get them finished, both means I get things finished but I am rarely doing the same thing for very long at a time.

Perhaps that might be a good follow-up question @AnonymousGirl? How do other people deal with deadlines and getting tasks completed?

linguaphile's avatar

@Bellatrix I love it when people ask me, “When do you have time for yourself?” with a pained expression. Time for myself? scoff. They don’t realize I much prefer to be busy than parked on a sofa wondering what to do next :D

Bellatrix's avatar

I agree with you but I think they might call us workaholics :D

JLeslie's avatar

@AnonymousGirl Some airlines, Delta is one, the flight attendants do not handle any money.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

@linguaphile Thank you for understanding and sharing your personal experience with me. :)

Thank you for sharing what you choose to do to get around hating deadlines. Those are great ideas. I can redefine “deadlines”. I was thinking about paperwork. I’m also not that good with numbers most of the time. That includes money.

@Bellatrix I also usually get bored of doing the same task for a long period of time, so reading what you shared there is helping me. That sounds like a good way to get around it.

I like that idea.

@linguaphile :)

@Bellatrix Yes, they might!

@JLeslie That sounds pretty awesome. What kinds of requirements do you have to meet to be a flight attendant, though? Do you know? I can look them up, too.

I am not totally comfortable with the idea of travelling on a plane, but doing something like that sounds like it might help me become more comfortable with it. It seems like it might help me understand how planes work better, too. I’m afraid of flying, getting into a plane crash, and my luggage disappearing. I am open to the idea of confronting my fears. Doing so more than once over the same fear can help me quite a bit. Serving others while doing so would make that even better as I can then associate planes with positive experiences and memories.

JLeslie's avatar

@AnonymousGirl There are a lot of things that suck about being a flight attendant, but my friends who have been one overall really enjoyed it. The money sucks, you basically are a waiter, emergency worker, and policeman. You work in tight quarters. But, you get free flights, can see the world, and for you I guess no deadlines. For the most part things go smoothly, but in bad weather, an unruly passenger, or long delays it can be not so fun. The schedule is flexible, which I like, and the comradery among the flight attendants is usually good. You have to be able to lift a certain amount, move that cart down the aisles, pass a CPR and probably some other emergency training, and be very good about being on time to work.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

^^ Thank you for those warnings. :)

It looks like I will have to get better at remembering what to do if I ever need to use CPR. Even if I can pass a test, that’s not good enough for me. What use is passing a test if I can’t remember the answers after I take it?

jca's avatar

@JLeslie and @AnonymousGirl: I would think a flight attendant has deadlines in that she or he has to catch a plane by a certain time, and what happens onboard has a schedule to it. The food and drinks have to be set out and prepared to serve after take off. The money has to be collected and then the cart has to be brought out to collect the garbage and recyclables. Headphones have to be issued and money collected. That all has to take place before the plan is ready to land. Anybody who ever watches flight attendants in action knows they are very efficient and don’t sit around without deadlines!

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Yes, I addressed that. But, it seems @AnonymousGirl is more concerned with deadlines for a project, not the type of deadlines you mention. It is true that being a flight attendant is very routinized in many ways.

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