Have you ever worked in, or considered working in, a night-shift job? I dare you to talk about it with a group of friends. You’ll end up getting a bunch of blank stares.
Some people love it, but many don’t get the allure of sleeping during the day and working at night. And like day jobs, some night gigs are worth it. Some aren’t.
In this article, I’ll show you the best night jobs you can do, as well as some you should avoid. So, whether you’re looking for some extra cash or a new career, you’ll find this list helpful.
Expectations of working at night
Let’s first take a look at what expectations come into play late in the night. What are the benefits and drawbacks? What are the qualities that lead to better night shift success?
You can define a ‘night worker’ as one who is working more than three hours between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on a regular basis. Yes, this living in the land of the nocturnal seems unnatural.
But according to psychologist Zander Wedderburn, you can learn to love it. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages you’ll often find when working at night:
- Few interruptions from supervisors, colleagues, etc.
- Greater unity among night owls than day teams.
- Laid back culture.
- Good training ground in decision-making.
- Opens flexibility during the daylight hours.
- Tough to get enough sleep. Eight hours remain a dream.
- Works against natural sleep rhythms.
- Difficult to balance work and home needs.
- Higher incidence of accidents.
Also, according to research, the sleep disruption of working nights results in:
- Worsening moods
- Decreased cognitive functioning and reflexes, and
- Becoming more vulnerable to illness
These effects could include increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Depression also occurs at a higher rate among the nightly employed.
So who should consider this lifestyle?
Ideal candidates for night work
As I showed you, there are some awesome advantages to working at night. There are also some pretty crappy drawbacks. Before making the move to night work, you need to weigh the pros and the cons. Not all bodies hold up to life as a night owl.
Practices of successful night owls include:
- Ability to balance home and work demands in healthy ways.
- Recognizing the value of sleep and planning for it.
- Guarding their sleep routine.
- Knowing when to say “no” to too many opportunities.
Strategies for navigating a night job safely
According to Safe Workers, employers should enforce strict regulations for night employees. Whether permanent staff or casual workers, safety is critical. These guidelines seek to benefit the health and productivity of the employee. It also protects the best interest of the company.
Safe Worker ideas include:
- Restrict hours to eight per 24 hour period on average over 17 weeks.
- Stick to a strict eight-hour limit for those under mental or physical strain.
- Allow a 20-minute (or longer) break each shift of six or more hours. Do not permit those under 18 to work nights.
- Complete regular health assessments, both before the night shift and ongoing.
What are the best jobs for working at night?
Now you should have an idea of the risks, benefits, and what it takes to work at night. So what are the options?
1. Air Traffic Controller
For those shooting for the stars, air traffic controllers make an impressive income. You can land this position with a measure of passion and attendance at the FAA Academy. You also may not even need a college degree.
2. Babysitter/Night Nanny
Babysitting has become a lucrative business for adults. Especially in the evening hours or for parents working the night shift themselves. This gig earns you cash and a few winks of sleep yourself.
Night owls serve up the drinks and pocket the best tips as bartenders. Location and shift prove critical for earning the highest wage. And weekends hale the greatest cheers among barkeeps.
4. Casino Dealer
The night shift in the world of cards lays quieter than the earlier shifts. But so do the customers. Plus, tips are usually collected and distributed as part of the hourly wage so no shift gets cheated.
5. Delivery Driver
Nights and weekends prove profitable for pizza delivery drivers. Be sure to check out the pay and tip scale. Also, look into whose vehicle you use, car expense stipends and mileage considerations.
The growth of the wireless world gives birth to editing jobs at home. Companies like 3 Play Media hire remote workers to edit content on their schedule. Have an eye to catch errors? Give it a try.
Slow nights offer time to pursue reading, writing or catching up on a favorite TV show. But, life as one of these town heroes proves anything but slow. The top-paying gigs are in locations that offer long shifts and housing at the firehouse.
8. Healthcare Worker
Nights pay well in the field of healthcare. And the opportunities are plentiful. Consider hospitals, recovery facilities, nursing homes and residences for the developmentally delayed. Yes, doctors, paramedics, and surgical aides need extensive schooling. But many assistant positions accept a high school diploma or college degree.
9. IT Operator
There’s a blur of technology activity during the day, right? Because of this, nights are a perfect time for computer operators to get to work. On-the-job training prepares you to work with a company’s equipment and procedures.
News occurs day and night. The need to capture that news in digital imagery ranks right with it. People want to see what’s happening. Grab your camera and build a portfolio if you have a degree in journalism or photography.
11. Customer Service
Technology allows shopping 24/7. This means customers experience difficulties and have questions around the clock. For this reason, companies like USA Contact Point hire at-home night owls. These agents answer customer questions involving their services and products.
12. Lab Technician
A college degree or a combination of education can earn you a position as a clinical lab technician. Lab testing provides vital information to doctors and patients throughout the night. Be part of this needed service.
13. Mail Sorter
For those looking for seasonal work, sorting mail might be the ticket. Post offices hire for these casual positions, offering temporary employment (particularly during holidays). Check it out for extra spending money.
Yes, a teacher. If you like to be in-person, you can teach at night school. For an at-home option look at companies like Reasoning Mind. Sharing your knowledge and know-how with students proves fruitful for both of you.
No, the days of operators have not gone by us. Online companies such as Voice Log hire Live Operators working from home.
16. Pastry Chef or Baker
Remember the old Dunkin Donuts commercial, “Time to make the donuts?” Well, those freshly made, first light of the morning treats do not appear by themselves. For those with a love of flour or just needing extra dough (I had to…), baking late in the night might be your calling.
17. Expert Question-Answerer
Well, that falls short of the official title, but it sums up the job. Companies such as Cha Cha need night owls to respond online or in real time to questions.
18. Repossession Agent
Taking possession of property during the night sounds like a job that could get you arrested. But, it’s legit when your title is Repossession or Recovery Agent. Pay will vary and work may be temporary.
19. Security Guard
The nightly strolls of a security guard can offer quiet and versatility. Depending on the job, it can also be very exciting and challenging. These positions usually need a high school diploma, college degree, and training.
20. Taxi Driver/Uber Driver
The city never sleeps. Driving a taxi or for Uber can be lucrative if you’re in the right spot. Are you willing to transport the nocturnal to the next happening spot or wearily home at the end of the night? If so, this might be for you.
In other words, a funeral director. Death pays no heed to time. Providing this comforting service to the grieving (whether night or day) proves rewarding.
22. Virtual Assistant
Companies like Fancy Hands asks hires to do all sorts of tasks for others. Virtual assistants do things like proofread documents, complete online research, and book services. This is often for busy professionals, but anyone can hire a VA these days. Freeing time for these men and women earns you dollars.
23. Freelance Writer
In our growing reliance on technology, even the pen and paper prove obsolete in this job. Creatives who love to write will enjoy this job. If you can network with potential clients, you’ll be even more successful.
24. Social Media Evaluator
Oh, how we love to tweet and ‘Insta’ our lives. Social media evaluators capitalize on this growing trend in the wee night hours. A company like Appen Butler Hill is a great starting point to getting into this job.
No paycheck proves worth a zombie-like existence during the waking hours. Care for yourself, do your job well, and you may find yourself among those loving the world of night owls.
Chris is the founder of Money Mozart, a blog about personal finance. He discusses frugality, minimalism, and achieving financial independence by living well below your means. He’s also an avid craft beer lover and an aspiring minimalist.