15 Types of People Who Aren’t Cut Out for a 9-To-5 (Are You One of Them?)

Slackers, loners, and altruists, unite: It’s time to quit the office job and blaze your own trail.
Updated May 2, 2024
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Some workers love the steady assurance of cubicle walls. They find deep comfort in the 9-to-5 grind and climb the corporate ladder with dreams that they will move beyond living paycheck to paycheck.

But others are not cut out to be a weekday warrior. They are destined to blaze a more unconventional path. Here are the 15 personality types who shouldn’t work a 9-to-5 job.

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The serial procrastinator

Lazy_Bear/Adobe woman procrastinates at home workplace

Some workers have their own internal clock: Projects get finished when they get finished.

Fortunately, some jobs are more procrastinator-friendly. Consider freelance writing, drop shipping, selling photos to stock photography sites, blog writing, walking dogs, affiliate marketing, or transcription work.

In all of these jobs, the work needs to get done if you hope to collect a check and earn money. But you typically have a bit more flexibility to plan your schedule in a way that suits you better.

The trust fund baby

Drobot Dean/Adobe emotional woman holding money

Perhaps you're lucky enough to have inherited serious silver-spoon wealth and have never worked a day in your life. If so, a 9-to-5 probably isn’t for you.

Instead, pursue philanthropic ventures or volunteer abroad. If you “have to work” as a trust-fund stipulation, there are plenty of fun jobs you can do, such as launching a foundation or doing something that isn’t very demanding.

The naysayer

Halfpoint/Adobe colleagues arguing in office

Naysayers bristle at authority and hate hierarchy. If this describes you, look for a freelance hustle where you call the shots.

Upwork, Guru.com, Toptal, or Fiverr can offer a steady stream of unconventional work.

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The do-gooder

Syda Productions/Adobe african american female volunteer making donation

Time is fleeting, and those with a heart for good causes often don’t want to squander their days doing busy work at a for-profit company.

Such folks would rather pursue a nobler, heal-the-planet sort of profession and might want to consider AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, grant-writing, or social work.

The tycoon

Dragana Gordic/Adobe upset older man

Perhaps you want wealth and want it now, not after a decade or two of climbing the corporate ladder.

If so, consider other unconventional avenues to wealth, such as becoming a social media influencer, starting a dropship business, or some other venture.

Entrepreneurial life is high-risk, but it also has the potential to offer high rewards.

The egalitarian

Malik E/peopleimages.com/Adobe angry businessman finger pointing

Workers who hate injustice and find traditional workplaces inequitable might prefer to work for a company that values collaboration and transparency.

So, consider employee-first, inclusive workplaces such as Patagonia or Lululemon. Unlike many retailers that give better benefits to corporate employees than frontline retail workers, Patagonia offers the same benefits to all employees at all levels.

Meanwhile, Lululemon famously gives all employees up to six months of paid parenting or adoption leave.

The health buff

Jasmina/Adobe exercise bike in gym

A 9-to-5 job is much too sedentary for some people. Such workers don’t want the health issues that come from sitting all day at the desk, including obesity, back pain, and high blood pressure.

Instead, they might prefer to opt for a non-office job such as a teacher, fitness instructor, event planner, or nurse.

The guru

dusanpetkovic1/Adobe leaning on box in warehouse

Idealists who seek truth and crave purpose in everyday work might find ‌the corporate hustle too impersonal. They should consider working in social services, teaching, social justice reform, or journalism.

The nomad

Liubomir/Adobe tired man working at a computer

Being tied to a desk all day feels too confining for those who want adventure. These are the type of people who would rather sleep in a tent than at the Four Seasons on a business trip.

Such folks should choose a career that flexes to their nomadic lifestyle. Think tour guide, travel journalist, or cruise line worker. Or perhaps teach English abroad or work in foreign service.

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The wealthy vagrant

Courtney Haas/peopleimages.com/Adobe happy tourist photographer

This type of person is like the nomad but has enough independent wealth to not have to work. They can pursue other interests — such as art, writing, or photography — while soaking up the international scene.

Even if you’re not wealthy by U.S. standards, moving to an area with a lower cost of living can make this dream possible.

The artist

BullRun/Adobe artist drawing sketches of new clothes

Creative types often need new adventures for inspiration.

There are plenty of options for such people, including work in animation, architecture, interior design, graphic design, copywriting, or editing.

The diplomat

Yuliia/Adobe upset businesswoman sitting on table

Diplomats hate office power struggles. The drama is exhausting.

Some workers would rather apply their diplomatic powers to something more uplifting, such as medicine, social work, academic research, labor rights, consumer safety, or counseling.

The perfectionist

Valerie M/peopleimages.com/Adobe businessman with headache

Perfectionists might lament that no one ever gets it right and feel that people just get in their way. While perhaps not loners, they prefer working alone.

Careers to consider include cosmetology, accounting, coding, consulting, or public safety.

The sourpuss

Studio Romantic/Adobe upset businessman sitting at workplace

If you’re a self-avowed grumpus, the workplace can be a traumatizing place — for both you and co-workers who have to endure your crotchety nature.

Consider loner-type careers: coroner, detective, veterinarian (not at pet clinics), or jobs related to training and interacting with AI models.

The insomniac

fizkes/Adobe Bored at office work

In a world of early risers, some workers appreciate a good snooze button. Assuming there are no underlying medical conditions, there are plenty of jobs for night owls.

Opportunities include rideshare driving — either as a side hustle or main career — home health, medicine, building security, warehouse management, public safety, or freelance writing.

Bottom line

Southworks/Adobe pet dog on sofa

Personally, I hated my morning “commute” of trudging from my bedroom to my basement office for my remote job. And before that, I dreaded trekking across town to a sad, beige workspace.

Eventually, I got some good advice from my office friend, Amber: “Embrace your inner weird — get out before it’s too late.” Soon, I took her suggestion to heart and went freelance full-time.

Fortunately, there are plenty of careers and gigs for people like you and me who can’t hack a normal 9-to-5. So, no matter your foibles or idiosyncrasies, grab hold and don’t let go. You can still find a job that helps you boost your bank account while allowing you to work in a way that makes sense for you.

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Author Details

Stacy Garrels Stacy enjoys writing about fintech, consumer deals, the side hustle economy, and random tomfoolery. She's personally tried more than 100 different gigs, including being an Uber driver for one afternoon.

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