It was a few hundred years ago that Benjamin Franklin made the observation that time is money. The same is still true today, and workers are constantly trying to strike the right work/life balance to get as much as they can of both.
According to the 2008 American Time Use Survey (conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), we're still working an average of eight hours a day. And the most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the median annual income per household member is $26,036 per year.
There are some jobs, however, where you can work less and make more than the averages. The hours may not be significantly less -- generally between 35 and 38 hours a week -- but these jobs offer more value in both time and money. They all pay salaries that exceed that $26,036 median income.
Here are 20 jobs we found that let you work less and earn more. These jobs require less than 40 hours of labor in a work week, but exceed the median annual income level in pay.*
1. Aircraft pilots, copilots and flight engineers
Annual earnings: $119,658
Annual earnings: $65,329
3. Biochemist and biophysicist
Annual earnings: $69,681
4. Bus driver
Annual earnings: $26,107
Annual earnings: $59,595
Annual earnings: $30,895
Annual earnings: $36,858
Annual earnings: $48,243
Annual earnings: $50,075
Annual earnings: $35,262
Annual earnings: $63,157
12. Interpreters and translators
Annual earnings: $35,853
13. Law clerk
Annual earnings: $46,539
Annual earnings: $38,698
Annual earnings: $103,375
Annual earnings: $59,543
Annual earnings: $53,499
Annual earnings: $29,877
Annual earnings: $35,644
By the numbers
All of these jobs allow you to work less and earn more, but some of these careers clearly give you more bang for your buck.
At the top of the list: Pilots, copilots and flight engineers, who average $98.48 an hour. Law teachers are close behind, averaging $96.32 an hour, followed by optometrists, who average $52.77 an hour.
Make it work
Obviously these jobs are not for everyone, but if you're looking to strike a better balance between work and home, you may be able to approach your employer and negotiate alternatives to your current schedule.
Among the possibilities:
- You may be able to arrange to work from home on a recurring basis, or on days where you may have an appointment or personal commitment.
- Your manager or supervisor may also be willing to create a flexible scheduling arrangement, where you work four days a week to and have the fifth workday free.
- Companies may be willing to negotiate with workers who want extra vacation time, particularly unpaid time.
Discuss your ideas with your company. If time is more important to you than money, your employer may be very receptive to providing more time off for you versus financial compensation.
*All job descriptions are as defined in the National Compensation Survey, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2006 -- January 2008. Data taken from the survey are the mean hours and annual earnings. Actual earnings can vary based on a number of factors, including regional job market demands.