Best jobs for people who love to work autonomously
Don’t like being micromanaged? Take ownership of your career in one of these industries.
It can be pretty hard to do your job when you have someone hovering over your shoulder, watching your every move.
You were hired for a reason, and your employer should trust that you can do your job with minimal supervision. After all, you’re an adult—you don’t need to be babysat to do your job.
Recently, Monster partnered with employee-review platform kununu to identify the workplace factors that workers rate as most important to their job satisfaction. Using kununu's star rating system—1 (low) to 5 (high)—we identified the top industries for autonomy and then rounded up jobs hiring on Monster within those industries.
Tax consulting and auditing takes the top spot on our list, receiving the highest rating for autonomy. If you don’t like being micromanaged, check out the full list below to see which jobs people said allow them to work independently.
1. Tax consulting/auditing
Why it ranks so high: The people you trust with your money to do your taxes are the same people whose boss trusts them to work autonomously. Regardless of whether you’re just starting out as a junior accountant or are at the top of the totem pole working as a CFO, in this industry, you’re counted on to ensure the accuracy of financial records, assess the financial operations of a business, and provide insight to work within tax codes. According to one kununu reviewer at HR Block, “everyone is trusted and encouraged to work independently and ask questions if necessary.”
2. Human resources/staffing and recruiting
Why it ranks so high: Companies put a tremendous amount of confidence in their HR department. In the hiring process, HR workers are trusted to make the right decisions when recruiting for open positions, and that trust doesn’t go away after a job has been filled, either. Additionally, HR is often be responsible for holding employees accountable for their actions. As one Adecco employee wrote on kununu, “I am allowed to take ownership of my projects. It’s one of our core values, and I feel it. NO micromanagement, and I get a lot of trust.”
3. Information technology and services/network security
Why it ranks so high: Not many people like when someone hovers over their computer screen. Need confirmation? Just ask your IT department how they feel about it. Working with computers all day, information technology specialists don’t always get much human interaction (unless you count talking to Siri) and that’s what these workers love most about their jobs. One employee at Convergys Corporation even wrote on kununu, “The autonomy of this job is one of the most attractive characteristics…there is no one looking over your shoulder and, by and large, you are on your own.”
Why it ranks so high: Consultants are experts people trust for their advice. No matter what type of consulting it is—operations, marketing, management, sales—consultants don’t need to answer to many people because they’re the ones making the calls and are, essentially, in charge of their own career success. As one kununu reviewer at World Financial Group put it,” You are in complete control of your own success. Your team is there to assist.”
Why it ranks so high: The Internet can be a lonely place—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While you might have to submit your work to an editor or director, the bulk of your job is done independently, and many in this industry even work as freelancers. Whether you’re a blogger writing from your own personal experiences, a graphic designer creating custom images, or a web designer coding away at your desk, these roles tend to offer you the freedom to be as creative as you want and are built around trust that you can deliver on your work.
Why it ranks so high: Ever heard of a one-man band? While some people may prefer to work as part of a cast, crew, or ensemble, many artists and entertainers would rather march to the beat of their own drum. Luckily solo projects and freelance opportunities are extremely common in this industry. One kununu reviewer at Olan Mills wrote, “Everyone has their separate tasks to perform, and we were trusted to work alone as needed.”
Why it ranks so high: There probably aren’t many people you would trust to go shopping for you—just think about all of those horrendous outfits your parents dressed you in as a kid. And those we’re your parents. So if you’re being hired to make purchases for a company, it’s safe to say they’re putting a lot of trust in you to swipe the company credit card with confidence. On kununu, one reviewer who works at Security National Group said, “One of the things I enjoyed most about [this job] is the fact you can work independently. No one is standing over your shoulder checking on you. Once you’ve proved you can do the job, you’re on your own unless you need help.”
8. Research and development/sciences
Why it ranks so high: Whether it’s in the field, in the lab, or at the computer, scientists spend a lot of time working alone. Sure, there are opportunities to work with other scientists, but for the most part, you’ll be the only one wearing a lab coat. In fact, many scientific studies have found value in alone time—even Isaac Newton believed silence could be a precondition for a breakthrough.
9. Market research
Why it ranks so high: In monitoring trends and gathering and analyzing data, this job involves studying market conditions to examine the potential sale of a product or service. There’s a lot of trust involved here, as companies put down big money to run campaigns. One QuoteWizard.com reviewer posted on kununu, “I was trusted to make my own decisions, even when I wasn’t entirely sure I should have had the authority to do so.”
Why it ranks so high: Pop quiz: Who really runs the school? We’ll give you a hint: It’s not the cheerleading squad or the captain of the football team—it’s the teachers. As the head of the classroom, teachers are the boss of their students, as it’s up to them to create their own lesson plans, teach lectures, and grade papers…just maybe don’t show too many movies in class, OK? Apart from the scheduled check-in with the school principal, no one’s actually looking over your shoulder—instead, you have dozens of eyeballs staring up at you. But no pressure; it’s just you and your students all day long, so you can really hone your teaching style as you inspire young minds. One kununu reviewer at Johns Hopkins University said, “I am trusted to work independently and make changes for myself and my department as necessary.”