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Quora Column

The best jobs for smart, but lazy people

For those who prefer to "lean away" rather than "lean in" (Thinkstock)

For those who prefer to "lean away" rather than "lean in" (Thinkstock)

Relax lazy bones. It might be time to embrace your inner underachiever.

In a world where work-related stress has rocketed could the most intelligent option be simply to find the least-taxing, most lucrative job on offer? Could the smartest choice for a future career be the path that requires the least amount of effort?

And what’s so wrong with applying yourself to seeking out a low stress option anyway? We looked to question-and-answer site Quora for some suggestions for the best jobs for smart but lazy people. Here’s what the masses had to say:

English, anyone?

Computer game designer, Andy Lee Chaisiri wrote: “Perhaps one out of every three English teachers I've met in Beijing describe themselves as intelligent, but very lazy.”

He wrote that teaching roles in China are often lucrative and high demand means ” entry standards are not restrictive”. In some cases, the only requirement is that an applicant was born in an English-speaking country.  

Chaisiri explained that because English teaching has flexible hours “lots of people are English teachers only part time ― they are there to supplement [their education], or a brief vacation, or find another job ― which means that if you do decided to turn English teaching into your career, you will be steadily moving up.”

He added: “Your income levels will match the middle class college graduates that work 50 hours a week and do overtime until they die.” And Chaisiri wrote: “So go forth and teach English, you lazy guy!”

Keyboards and pyjamas

If you’re disinclined to venture far from your home office, Paul Denlinger suggested: “Computer programmer: It is a continuous learning process, but you really don't have to work that hard , and gradually you learn that many of the challenges are repetitive.”

Even the nature of the work itself lends itself to doing less, he indicated.  “Good programmers write as few lines of code as possible, and it is one of those professions which pays well, while at the same time, encouraging laziness, Denlinger wrote. “At the same time, you get to work with other reasonably intelligent, technical people, while the investors throw money at you for their next great idea.”

However, Chris Leong a programmer in Sydney suggested “working for the government — most roles have 35-hour weeks in Australia — unless you become senior. “

Ask me, I’m an expert

Matthew Kuzma wrote: “My personal opinion is that the best possible job for someone who is intelligent but lazy would be to be a professional ‘expert’ at something, to get paid to just share your thoughts and opinions about things with people who will do the heavy lifting.”
He advises the idle to “identify the activities you don't consider work and find a career that will pay you for those.  Chances are, the things you consider fun and easy are things someone else finds so hard that they're willing to pay you to do them.”

There's always Windows

As it happens, taking a laid-back approach to tackling a project is not always a negative either. Arvind Krishnan quotes billionaire Bill Gates as saying "’I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job, because he will find an easy way to do it’."

So lazy-but-intelligent people of the world:“Looks like you have a shot at Microsoft,” wrote Krishnan.

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