Online salary database PayScale.com took a look at $100,000 earners with more than 10 years of experience and surveyed them about their schedule flexibility and typical level of education. With the jobs on this list, you can have your six-figure cake and eat it at your own pace, too.
Typical Degree: JD
Median Annual Pay: $181,000
Lawyers in a general counsel role work at corporations or other entities where they advise, strategize and provide legal guidance. They typically enjoy high pay and plenty of control over their schedules.
“Besides being the boss of their department, general counsels are technical experts so they don’t need to work in the office all day,” says Al Lee, director of quantitative analysis at PayScale.com. “They get called in on specific projects or are asked to review a contract by a certain time. This means they can get away to their kid’s soccer game if they want to.”
Senior Tax Manager
Typical Degree: Bachelor’s or master’s degree. (A nonbusiness degree may still get you the gig.) A CPA license is required in addition to your degree.
Median Annual Pay: $128,000
Some senior tax managers work for corporations providing year-round oversight, while others work for firms that focus on personal or small-business returns. Their schedule can vary widely depending on the time of year.
“The majority of my work is concentrated in the first four to five months of the year,” says Erin Gilman, a senior tax manager in Seattle. “Once tax season is over, I am able to take time off. Rather than a requirement to be in the office for a set amount of time, I have deadlines and financial goals to meet, and I set my schedule accordingly.”
Typical Degree: Bachelor’s degree
Median Annual Pay: $124,000
At this level of pay, sales usually refers to business-to-business sales. In an executive or director-level sales role, the focus is typically on ensuring that subordinates meet sales quotas or sales goals. A senior sales executive teaches, mentors and trains junior-level employees on the product as well as sales techniques.
Having monthly or quarterly quotas and goals, as opposed to having work that needs to be done right away, essentially means “that if you want to play golf on Monday, as long as you meet your quota by the end of the month, you can play golf on Monday,” Lee says.
Typical Degree: Bachelor’s or nonbusiness master’s degree
Median Annual Pay: $123,000
Software engineers are known for relating better to computers than humans, but principal software engineers rely on strong interpersonal skills to head up departments and lead teams.
Scott Pogue, a principle software engineer at a Seattle tech startup, has eight years of experience. His work involves designing and building Internet-based applications and Web services.
“I work from home every Wednesday, and then there is my baseball habit,” Pogue says. “Whenever the Mariners have a game during the workday, I cut out of work to go to the game then finish up work later that night.”
Typical Degree: A bachelor’s degree may suffice if you have eight or more years of relevant experience, but an MBA is best.
Median Annual Pay: $118,000
Management consultants are essentially business infrastructure therapists. Companies hire management consultants to help with organizational strategy or issues arising from interpersonal conflicts.
Whether they are self-employed or work for a major consulting firm, management consultants consistently report high flexibility in their work schedules. Lainie Neiman, who has a background in psychotherapy, specializes in management consulting with privately held, family-owned businesses that are experiencing organizational discord. Neiman says that, in addition to her flexible work schedule, she has the freedom to handpick clients that “are very much in alignment with [my] core values and skills.”