3 Jobs Where the Long Hours Actually Pay Off

Did the thought of walking back into work from the weekend make you sink back into your bed just a little deeper this morning?  We are finally evolving from the notion that the more hours you put in at work the greater your personal satisfaction and the more money you make. These days, work-life balance is infinitely important, however, there are some careers where this balance is almost impossible…at least when you’re just starting out.

It just happens that these jobs also tend to be very glamorized, especially when we think of earning potential. Here are the top three jobs where working long hours might actually pay off, financially.


You probably knew that this occupation would be on the list. Many people with the hopes and dreams of becoming doctors have to look at their time as a long-term investment. Some doctors in their residency work the longest hours of their career. These can be anywhere from 80 to 100 hours of work at a generally low salary. Medical residents might actually make less money than custodians who keep the hospitals clean.  This goes on for a full year or even multiple years depending on what specialty the doctor is going into.

When the doctor is finally hired by a hospital, the hours get shorter by an incremental amount. The pay is the one thing that increases immensely after the residency is over. Nurses also experience the plight of working long hours, which nearly always rise well above and beyond 40 hours per week. This can range anywhere from multiple 12 to 16-hour shifts during the week.

Nurses get paid well, although this may be overlooked because of the amount that doctors tend to get paid. These jobs are different in the sense that the minds of these workers always have to be sharp because their patients’ lives depend on it. I don’t know that they’re adequately compensated for the level of stress that they must endure every single day.

Investment Bankers/Stockbrokers

This is much like the doctors and nurses in the sense that they have a couple years of long hours with pay that may not be matching performance. Once an investment banker has paid their dues and has climbed up the corporate ladder, though, the pay goes right through the roof! Depending on what time zone these brokers are in, they can start their days anytime – whether it be in the middle of the night or after the common day job has just ended and go through the night.

Although we aren’t talking the 100-hour weeks that residents in the medical field go through, it isn’t uncommon to hear about 80 to 90 hour weeks. Don’t feel bad for them just yet, however — they’re compensated amply with bonuses and commissions. You can find out much more on this website for investment careers or even by doing a little bit of research.

I had the pleasure of working in investment banks for the first 8 years of my career outside of college. If you can survive the first three years or so as an investment banker, your earning potential is quite substantial.


This is a career that you have heard of the long hours that have been logged by the straight-out-of law school worker. These hours can range anywhere from 80 to 100 hours weekly with little pay. This can go on for a couple years as the attorney establishes a place within their law firm.

Climbing up the corporate ladder is essential to be getting the shorter hours that come with being a partner or subject matter expert at a law firm. Unlike the careers listed above, the hours drop immensely after you have made a name for yourself at a firm. The long hours pay off with some of the highest salaries in the country for the top lawyers in their respective fields.

As you can see, there is always somebody working long hours. These careers have long hours but also incorporate large pay scales within these fields. Putting in the grunt work of attaining an education is first and foremost of the grunt to even being considered for these jobs. If you have a great work ethic and can see the long-term goal ahead of you, one of these careers is definitely for you. If you want money quickly with short hours though, I would look elsewhere as far as it goes for careers.

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