Looking for a Desk Job? Have a Seat in One of These 15 Roles

professional working a desk job

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k

When you were little, you dreamed of being a dancer. Or, you watched a lot of Law & Order and thought crime scene investigation seemed like a cool job. Maybe you thought about teaching.

Now that you’re an adult, the idea of moving around all the time is less appealing. You’re looking for something stable and a bit more predictable, where you can earn a regular salary, interact with colleagues and come home from the office to wind down every day. If this sounds like you, then a desk job could be the answer. 

What’s a desk job?

A desk job, sometimes used synonymously with office job, refers to working in an office environment rand often literally sitting at a desk and computer. While some people prefer jobs that keep them on their feet, others prefer desk jobs, which often have regular hours (though not necessarily the cliched 9 to 5 of the past) and are somewhat predictable. 

If it’s not a desk job, then what is it?

The alternative to a desk job is a profession that involves moving around and not sitting at a desk for all or most of the day. While many desk jobs come with certain perks, some people want jobs that don’t require them to stay at their computers or work in an office environment. Just a few examples of these careers are medicine, teaching, and crime scene investigation.

15 highest-paying desk jobs

Think a desk job is for you? Here are some of the careers with the highest earning potential

1. Actuary

Salary: $102,880 (Bureau of Labor Statistics/BLS)

Actuaries assess the financial risk and uncertainty of events that concern the activities of businesses. They work with organizations and clients to develop procedures to minimize the impact of financial risks that may occur. This is a good profession for math- and business-minded people.

2. Attorney

Salary: $120,910 (BLS)

While attorneys do sometimes appear in court (this frequency often depends on the kind of law they practice and where they are in their career) and meet with clients, they also perform much of their work at a desk, advising and representing businesses, people and others on legal matters.

3. Business operations manager

Salary: $73,694 (Glassdoor)

Business operations manager focus on a company’s goals and objectives and develop plans and strategies for meeting them. They are exactly what they sound like: professionals who deal with the ins and outs (in other words, operations) of a business, taking on responsibilities such as hiring (and sometimes firing) employees, creating budgets and strategy and dealing with the general structure of organizations.

4. Chief development officer (CDO)

Salary: $111,114 (PayScale)

Working with nonprofit organizations, CDOs coordinate fundraising efforts, gift programs, volunteers and other aspects of development. They also spearhead campaigns and manage proposals. The position is a C-suite role.

5. Engineering director

Salary: $139,795 (PayScale)

High-level engineers may advance into director positions, in which they plan activities and projects that will meet the goals of a business. They provide oversight on engineering projects and processes and develop ideas for new projects and initiatives, as well as oversee engineers on staff.

6. Environmental economist

Salary: $112, 860 (BLS)

Studying the relationship between the economy and the environment, an environmental economist look at environmental protection issues, considering how we use, obtain and return natural resources such as water, land, air and renewable energy. They also work to create sustainable solutions and policies.

7. General manager

Salary: $104,980 (BLS)

Depending on the industry, a general manager is a high-level professional who manages many or all aspects of an organization, establishing policies and procedures concerning people and operations and carrying out plans. 

8. Human resources manager

Salary: $113,300 (BLS)

A human resources manager organizes and develops policies and programs related to personnel at an organization. She works with upper management to keep employees engaged, design programs that meet the goals of the organization, and contribute to the business’s overall success.

9. Information systems director

Salary: $103,454 (PayScale)

This position involves managing an organization’s business systems, while generally entails updating, monitoring and implementing software and equipment. The information systems director also establishes system requirements for the business, maintains and stores data and records and analyzes the security of these systems. 

10. Investment fund manager

Salary: $94,073 (PayScale)

Working with businesses and individuals, an investment fund manager creates and plans investment strategies for assets. 

11. IT manager

Salary: $142,530 (BLS)

Responsibilities of an IT manager include creating strategies for troubleshooting, installing and updating equipment, establishing security systems and generally overseeing all information technology systems, such as computers, at an organization. 

12. Marketing manager

Salary: $147,240 (BLS)

Marketing managers establish and oversee marketing efforts, analyzing the demand for products and creating pricing and campaign strategies to meet the needs of customers and the overall goals of an organization. 

13. Mathematician

Salary: $101,900 (BLS)

Conducting research and gathering data, mathematicians use their findings and apply their techniques to solving problems in fields such as science, business, engineering, healthcare and others.

14. Public relations manager

Salary: $114,800 (BLS)

A PR manager crafts and implements strategies to enhance her client’s image, whether an individual or organization. Tasks include pitching stories, creating media kits, facilitating press conferences, writing press releases and handling crises and negative publicity. 

15. Software developer

Salary: $105,590 (BLS)

Software developers create computer programs, applications and systems, writing code for programmers to implement and upgrading and modifying products to meet user demand.

How to tell if a desk job is right for you

A desk job is not for everyone, but it could be a good path for you if:

• You like being around coworkers.

• You appreciate order and stability.

• Predictability in your career is important to you.

There are some health risks associated with sitting at a desk all day, however. According to Scientific American, studies have shown that being idle for much of the day can put you at a greater risk for weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and varicose veins. If you do have a desk job, make an effort to get up and move around every so often!

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