10 Careers for People Who Can't Sit Still

Lots of adults enjoy fast-paced careers.
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When kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up, they tend to rattle off the types of jobs that are on this list of restless roamers. Children often admire public servants like firefighters or police officers and aspire to become them. Others may have "hoop dreams" -- imagining a life as a professional athlete. Still other youngsters dream of acting, dancing or singing stardom.

But as people grow older, they often turn to a sedentary 9 to 5 gig, until they discover they're antsy, impatient and constantly watching the clock. In short, they want to let that inner child loose to run free. Maybe you too have realized the office jockey life just isn't for you. If you cringe at the thought of sitting in one spot all day, then one of the following career fields may be just what you need.


10. Entertainment

There are many different types of entertainment and most inolvement near constant movement.

The performing arts come in many forms: a good movie, a live theatrical performance or a rocking concert by your favorite band. And everyone, it would seem, loves to be entertained. So why not become one of the people who entertain the masses? If you're the high-energy type who knows how to woo a crowd, then pursue your passion. You certainly won't be sitting still. Snagging a spot on the world-famous Radio City Music Hall Rockettes team, for example, can be the culmination of years of rehearsals, recitals and competitions. After doing 300 kicks per performance and traveling from one city to the next for years at a time, some retired Rockettes continue to stay on their feet by teaching dance, or even owning and operating dance schools.

But you don't have to be artistic to entertain. There's another demanding field that can offer a fast-paced and exciting lifestyle.


9. Sports

There's not a lot of sitting around in the world of sports. Even if the closest you've come to playing professional sports is quarterbacking the remote control on Sundays, there may be a place for you in athletics.

Jobs in sports go way beyond being a player. It takes a lot to put on a sporting event, and there can be hundreds of people behind the scenes working to pull it off. Think of a NASCAR pit crew or a professional baseball team's apparel merchandiser. As a sports agent, coach, personal trainer or even back-office management, you'll always be on the go. Athletic trainer, sports medicine doctor, physical therapist, sports photographer and journalist are also important sports-related jobs that provide a lot of action.


Then there's another industry that, by its very nature, is constantly moving. Click to the next page to learn more.

8. Transportation

Flight attendants are never in one place for long.
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Careers in the transportation industry run the gamut from local and long-distance delivery driver, mover and rail conductor to shipping agent and pilot. In any of these roles, you'll find that no two days are the same, offering adventure and challenges that people who can't sit still thrive on.

  • Flight attendants can start the day off in Atlanta and close out their shift in Mumbai.
  • A truck driver can pick up a load of fresh oranges in Florida one night and get them to market in New York the next morning.
  • Garbage collectors keep things moving. Sure it's a dirty job, but hauling waste is also time-sensitive, so you've got to work fast and smart to come out smelling like a rose.
  • School bus drivers have to be able to manage dozens of children while safely driving, one route at a time.

Do you like to provide others with a sense of security? Click over to the next page to learn about a fast-paced industry that may be just right for you.


7. Military and Law Enforcement

If you're serving in the military or law enforcement, you have to be prepared for anything, which is why the restless can find careers in either field fulfilling. Crime, war and disaster require someone who can bring a sense of order. During emergency calls, police officers race to the scene of emergencies as first responders. In wars, military personnel may be on the front lines of battle, operating heavy artillery, parachuting from airplanes or helicopters, or caring for sick and wounded soldiers.

Even during peacetime, members of the military or police have plenty to do just to stay prepared. There's physical training like running, swimming and calisthenics, as well as classroom training. Depending on your job, you may need to inspect land, buildings, property or people. You may also participate in maintaining vehicles and equipment. Then there's the community education and outreach like the air shows put on by the United States Air Force Blue Angels. Police officers take part in meetings with citizens and community leaders, and regularly testify at trials.


Speaking of medics, you don't have to be in the military or law enforcement to enjoy a fast-moving career in health care.

6. Health Care

You have to be on your toes to care for the needs of others.
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Careers in health care offer endless opportunities that require stamina and lots of energy. Many jobs center on taking care of sick people and getting them healthy. Hospital nurses typically work 12-hour shifts, sometimes making hourly rounds on a dozen or so patients throughout the day. A doctor's day can start at 6 a.m. and last into the night. After medical school -- when a novice physician serves his or her residency -- the new doctor actually stays in the hospital for several days at a time, on call 24 hours a day, catching naps here and there between seeing patients.

Pharmacists also put in long hours, standing and walking to prepare and dispense prescription medicine and give advice to customers. Paramedics often work side by side with firemen, pulling three and four day shifts at a time.


The wheels of your mind have to constantly turn in the next profession we'll be looking at.

5. Education

Keeping up with children is demanding. Careers in education offer physical and mental challenges that can be a winning combination for people who can't sit still. Caring for and educating children means constant supervision and hands-on interaction.

A typical day can run from early morning to mid-evening to accommodate the schedules of working parents, but there's nary a dull moment between play, lunch and learning. High-energy types may find a career as an elementary, middle or high school teacher fulfilling, as well. Jobs in teaching involve rigorous schedules, plus the ability to juggle multiple projects simultaneously while patiently providing structure and guidance to children along the path of discovery. As a teacher, you'll probably have the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities outside the classroom, like leading extracurricular activities or coaching. You may even choose to take part in continued training to become an education specialist or principal.


If you're not interested in a profession building the minds of kids, you may be excited about a different type of building project. Find out more on the next page.

4. Construction

Lift, move, build, repeat.
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Construction work certainly isn't for everyone. The days can begin before sunrise, you can be outdoors all day in extreme temperatures, and there's always a risk of injury when working with tools and equipment or by just being on a construction site. But people who can't sit still may feel right at home in this type of work environment.

Electricians, plumbers, roofers, bricklayers, painters and landscape contractors all work a form of construction. Some jobs can be service calls that you'll complete within hours. Others are massive construction projects that take thousands of labor hours or even years to complete. You may be responsible for just one portion or the entire job. If you don't mind getting dirty, working up a sweat and constant change, then you may want to consider a career in the construction industry.


Or perhaps you're interested in a job that truly puts food on the table.

3. Food Service

Working at a fast-food restaurant or cafeteria may not sound attractive to career-minded folks, but cooking shows featuring celebrity chefs and bakers have sparked new interest in food service. Large operations like hotels, hospitals, airlines and cruise ships need people to fill various roles that work together to provide food to guests. In addition, grocery stores and retail dining establishments need food service workers.

Don't expect to sit around all day in any of these places. They're very demanding and offer career opportunities from entry-level to management. You may also consider becoming a personal chef or working in wholesale food distribution. If you're the entrepreneurial type, owning a restaurant will keep your blood pumping. Since food is a perishable good, time is of the essence when working in this industry.


Are you a planner by nature? There may just be a job for you on the next page.

2. Event Planning

Event planners handle everything from weddings to expos.

Do you have a knack for throwing great parties or get-togethers? Event planning takes both mental and physical energy. Parties, galas, premiers and receptions are just a few soirees that people hire event planners to coordinate. Even in a down economy, the wedding planning business thrives. Then there are corporate meetings, conferences and sporting events like the Olympics that can draw hundreds of thousands of participants and require teams of event planners to manage.

You may be a salaried event planner working for an organization or you may work for an event planning business and serve multiple clients. There are also dream gigs that include working as a personal concierge to a VIP, requiring you to fly your client's guests by private jet to a secret, undisclosed location, for example. Now that beats sitting still.


Dash to the next page to find out about a job that ties movement to money.

1. Outside Sales

Are you a high energy person? Then sales may be the career for you.
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Not everyone is cut out for sales. But people who can't sit still may thrive in outside sales careers. Sometimes referred to as an account executive, a salesperson may have a geographic territory for which he or she is responsible for gleaning business. That market may be local, regional, national or international. Depending on the size of the territory, a salesperson may go on a combination of scheduled or unannounced "cold calls" to see potential clients throughout the day. Then again, he or she may travel with a sales team representing his company, and make a several-days-long visit to a client to do onsite research, take the client out to golf or dinner, make a presentation and close the deal. It's not uncommon for salespeople to be paid on commission, so this type of job can be thrilling for some people.

For lots more information for people who can't sit still, turn to the next section.

Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Aguirre, Abby. "Career Transition for Dancers." The New York Times. Oct. 21, 2007. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/21/arts/dance/21agui.html
  • Farr, J. Michael et al. "Best jobs for the 21st Century." 1999. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://books.google.com/books?id=9sFPAAAAMAAJ&q=best+jobs+21st+century&dq=best+jobs+21st+century&hl=en&ei=yJP-TLa_JcOC8gaZwbXcBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA
  • Hager, Peggy. "Rockette-ing Ahead Ex-Dancers Still on Their Toes." Daily News. June 4, 2001. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.thefreelibrary.com/ROCKETTE-ING+AHEAD+EX-DANCERS+STILL+ON+THEIR+TOES.-a083597442
  • Tieger, Paul D. and Barbara Barron. "Do What You Are." Sep 1. 1995. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0316845221/borntoexplotheotA/#reader_0316845221
  • University of Maryland University College. UMUC's resident Rockette! FYI Online. September 2001. (Nov. 21, 2010)http://www.umuc.edu/fyionline/september_01/fyionline1.html
  • Vanderveer, Melanie. "Retired Rockette Pocono Record. Nov. 9, 2007. ( Nov. 24, 2010.)http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071109/NEWS13/711090301/-1/NEWS16