Henry Ford changed the world with the invention of the Model T, the automobile that made cars available to the common person. He also changed the world of work by developing the modern assembly line, which he used to build those cars quickly and cheaply. The Model T is now a museum relic and today's assembly lines are so advanced, Ford wouldn't recognize them. His third major innovation, however, had much more staying power.
In 1914, Ford broke away from the 48-hour workweek, which was common then, because he believed too many hours sapped worker productivity. He shaved off eight hours and introduced the now standard 40-hour workweek, which he split into eight-hour shifts spread across the five weekdays between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. It was a game-changing innovation that made a job at Ford one of the most prized gigs in the working world.
One hundred and five years later, however, the 9-to-5 model is an antiquated relic from a bygone era, yet most of America is still shackled to classic rat-race hours. The once revolutionary 9-to-5 format makes no attempt to consider the needs and schedules of the millions of employees who are still bound to it. It makes a healthy work-life balance difficult to achieve and compels the masses to spend their lives working in anticipation of the weekend. It also makes commuting a predictably soul-crushing grind—like the classic, grumpy old man story having had to walk to school uphill both ways, 9-to-5 commuters endure rush-hour traffic both to and from their jobs.
Changing attitudes and priorities are now sending the 9-to-5 grind the way of the Model T, and legions of modern employees are pursuing work that offers flexible scheduling and the option to telecommute even at the expense of lower salaries. Many others are going for freelance work that doesn't require a commitment to an employer at all. For those who have never known anything but clocking in at 9 a.m. and clocking out at 5 p.m., the hardest part of breaking the mold is knowing where to start.
Here's a list of attainable jobs known for offering flexibility and independence in scheduling. The list includes salary data from career site PayScale, but pay is listed here by median hourly rate because many of the jobs are not usually salaried positions.