We live in modern societies which are obsessed with career and profession.
“What do you do?” is generally the first question we often ask someone new.
So what do you do if you’re just not that ambitious?
Speaking as someone who’s always had modest goals and considered career ambition fairly unimportant, it’s a thing I’ve thought about a lot.
Thinking about the way our society prioritizes career, I’ve come up with the best jobs to do if you’re not looking to lock yourself into the 9 to 5 rat race.
20 careers for people with no ambition
When you’ve seen enough other people end up burnt out and traumatized from unsatisfying and exploitative jobs, you realize the benefits of not being an ambitious person.
But we all need to eat. That’s why I’ve put together these top careers for those of us who just aren’t interested in getting that corner office and VIP valet service.
1) Sleep around for money
Am I advising you to become a sex worker? Not quite.
I’m actually suggesting the career of literally sleeping for a living.
Many upscale resorts and hotels hire people to sleep in their rooms before renting them out to guests. They want to know how the beds rate.
Your job is to get a good night’s sleep and see how your back feels the next day.
Was your sleep a dreamy and bliss-filled experience or does it feel like Captain Hook went spastic on your lower ribs?
Variations of this job include sleeping for university and somnology studies. Sleep and get paid.
The rest of the world can stress out over corporate contracts and building bridges. You’re just catching some Zzzs.
2) Become a park ranger
The great outdoors is our most valuable heritage in society, and it requires folks to protect and maintain it.
As a park ranger, forest ranger or lookout observer watching for wildfires, you have a valuable service for society that doesn’t include the same jostling and competition as many other careers.
These types of jobs are also especially well-suited to those who enjoy solitude and spending a lot of time alone.
In particular, lookout observers often spend weeks alone in remote lookouts to make sure we stay as safe as possible from huge wildfires.
3) Watch Netflix
Streaming services like Netflix hire people to “tag” their shows and films.
Your job is to Netflix (and chill, if you insist) while categorizing programs and tagging various aspects of them including the genre, the character traits, and so on.
This helps people decide what to watch and keeps them on the platform for longer.
It’s valuable to online streaming services like Amazon, Netflix and Roku, so they pay you for it.
Variations on this include getting paid to watch movies and rate them.
Remember when your parents told you that you’re going nowhere because all you like to do is sit around and watch junk?
Joke’s on them!
4) Work for the government
There are few careers quite so stable as working for the government or as a civil servant.
If you live somewhere like Venezuela or North Korea it’s the opposite and you should probably skip to the next item in this list.
But for many people around the world, a government job is the perfect place if you have no ambition.
Whether you are filing papers, typing in spreadsheets or handling phone calls in some minister’s office, your job is basically to be dependable and do what you’re told.
My friends who work as civil servants tell me there’s only one real thing that can get you in trouble if you work in government:
Being overzealous and too ambitious in a way that upsets the apple cart. You heard it here.
5) Try your hand at standup comedy
This is a past goal of mine. I failed after there was a sudden city-wide food shortage from people throwing eggs and vegetables at me during a show in Chicago.
Just joking. (This is the part where you laugh).
Standup comedy. It’s got plenty of ambitious people in it for sure.
But you don’t have to be ambitious.
You could just be like … funny.
And make people’s lives better. And take the mic at small dive bars and clubs nobody’s heard of. And get paid for it.
6) Get your office on
You know what I love? Offices. Just joking. I’m generally not a huge fan.
But offices can be fun and vibrant places, as we know from the sitcom The Office.
They can also be an ideal place if you’re feeling like ambition isn’t for you.
A job such as an administrative assistant is ideal here. Just do your best to avoid promotion and stay away from the ass kissers who are constantly looking for a leg up.
Do your job and go home. You don’t need to be a slave to the rat race when you can be a willing participant in the rat walk.
7) Alleviate your anxiety
For those of us with serious struggles with anxiety and panic disorder, there are certain careers that can be ideal.
One of those is being a plumber, mechanic or electrician.
This job has very sizable salaries and includes a dependable stream of work.
Particularly as more people retire, plumbers and other trades become in higher and higher demand.
If you are a person who suffers from anxiety, a job in the trades can be especially healthy.
You have your routine, your set duties, your tools and your schedule. You go about your day, take your lunch break and go home at the end.
There’s no pressure to expand or live up to someone else’s expectations other than your client. You do your job and get paid, and you work solo or with coworkers depending on your preference.
8) Become a handyman or handywoman
There’s one form of work which will never run out: repairs and maintenance.
That’s where you come in: as a repair person around the house.
You can learn to do basic renovations, fix appliances, try your hand at basic machine repair or any other aspect of being a handyman or handywoman.
This is often a great way to start working in your own neighborhood.
Start by fixing your mom’s sewing machine and move on to fixing appliances for work and repairing fences.
As Canadian psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson advises here, if you don’t have any goals you should do your best to start with improving the things right around you.
It’s not always necessary to dream big or have grand plans. It’s often far more important to take action and begin with small steps.
9) Try your hand at career advising
One of the best careers to try out if you don’t have a lot of ambition is to become a career counseling.
Whether at high school or at an agency, this is a way for you to help others find their dreams and goals without having to worry much about yours.
Not only can you make a big difference in the lives of others, you’ll also tend to be well paid and have reasonable expectations.
You listen and give good advice. Sounds fair to me!
10) Plant trees
Planting trees is one way to get “outside of society and into a different world.”
As this documentary from my home province of British Columbia explores, tree planters get a very unique experience with a lot of different priorities than those in the corporate high rises.
Tree planting tends to be difficult and physically taxing. But it’s also not very competitive.
You’re part of teams of planters and you head out to also plant on your own during the day to plant.
But at the end of the day you’re sharing the same goal as everyone else: to replenish mother nature and get those trees planted.
11) Help out with hugs
A job that’s growing in popularity is professional cuddling.
In a world that seems to be getting more detached and cruel by the day, you’re an antidote to the chaos.
You hold someone close for money.
The job isn’t sexual, and is generally fully platonic. But it involves giving someone closeness in return for a very decent wage.
It is a job, but it’s also a way of life.
YouTuber Kai Cenat tried it out for a day and made over $700. Not bad at all!
12) Be a dealer in a casino
Another one of the great careers for people with no ambition is to be a dealer in a casino.
Your job is fairly demanding and requires a lot of attention to detail and perfectionism, but it’s not ambitious.
Your job is your job, and it generally pays a decent but not amazing wage.
You deal cards, follow the rules, learn your way around the casino and work the schedule you’re given.
There is some room to move up, but there’s no need to be ambitious.
As long as you do your job well, you’re good to go!
What are your values in life?
When you know your values, you are in a better position to develop meaningful goals and move forward in life.
Download the free values checklist by the highly acclaimed career coach Jeanette Brown to instantly learn what your values really are.
13) Learn your way around insurance
I have a friend who works in aviation insurance. It’s a competitive industry, generally speaking.
But there are jobs within the insurance industry that are much less ambitious.
One example is being a claims adjuster. The average US national salary for this is $59,000.
Your job is to figure out how much someone gets on a claim. You may be asked to interview the person filing a claim, look back through evidence and financial details and help negotiate how much to pay out.
Your job is important, but it’s fairly stable without a lot of jockeying for position.
Also, worry not: this job does not require a degree!
14) Drive a truck
Becoming a truck driver can be a very good choice if you just want to do your thing, improve your skills and get paid for it.
There’s no need to work your way up or buy your own rigs and expand your business.
You can lease a truck or buy one and just get the job done, doing deliveries in a range you choose and going home on the weekends.
This is an especially good job choice if you tend to be more introverted and like your privacy.
In terms of earnings, you can look forward to starting at around $50,000 to $100,000 and possibly more.
Driving a truck is a great career and it’s perfect for those who aren’t interested in climbing the corporate ladder.
15) Set yourself up for success
Remember in the movie The Lost City with Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock where that guy drinks a cup of tea while they’re all shooting at each other?
But I can tell you one thing: he got paid for drinking that tea, and you can too.
Becoming an extra in Hollywood films is a good career for those without ambition and it can also be a lot of fun.
Plus, you don’t need to have no ambition. You could go from sipping tea to speaking a line or two down the road, possibly while also having a mustache and wearing a tophat.
If you ask me, that’s a pretty cool career trajectory.
16) Smell perfumes and colognes
One unique and interesting job for those who don’t feel like running in the corporate world is to become a fragrance chemist.
You will work for perfume and cologne companies to smell new fragrances and give your input and opinions.
This job generally pays quite well and is very interesting. Related fields including actually helping choose and craft the chemical components for perfumes and fragrances.
If you have a nose that can smell very fine details and love fragrances this could be the perfect career for you.
17) Walk the line
Another career that you can try out if you’re not particularly ambitious but love to be out in nature and working physically is to be a road line painter.
You’ll get to work with various road-painting equipment and walk long distances every day, so in addition to seeing some interesting places, you’ll become very fit.
This career is creatively explored in the 2013 gem Prince Avalanche.
18) Become a teacher
Teachers are an integral part of our society, helping mold young minds for the future.
The great thing about academia is that it doesn’t require you to be ultra ambitious.
You can do your job and grow in your job, but your task is to help shape and guide others, not to outdo them.
You’re a mentor and a leader, but without the toxic aspects that can often arise in the business world.
19) Work as a physician’s assistant
Physician’s assistants perform a valuable role in assisting doctors do their job.
They help save lives and ensure people’s health, but don’t need nearly as many years of training and education as a doctor.
Becoming a physician’s assistant is a great idea for a job that’s not ambitious but that’s highly valued, respected and necessary.
20) Learn your way around a laundromat or tailor shop
Clean clothes are great, and laundromats are an important part of that.
Tailors who do alterations and dry cleaning services are also very valuable and will continue to be in demand.
This is particularly true with more and more folks buying shoes and clothes online only to find that they don’t fit and it’s cheaper to have them altered than return them.
Helping clean clothes and alter them is a great career, and there’s no corporate jostling involved!
There you have it
My list of career suggestions for those who aren’t looking to climb the corporate ladder.
What do you think? Is there anything else I should add or something which you feel doesn’t belong?