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Everyone dreams of a job that they can do without even thinking twice.
But while some dream jobs might sound really exciting and fun on the surface, if you actually take a closer look, they are filled with pitfalls and potential for disappointment.
From artist to social media influencer, there are certain types of careers that may seem like a great fit at first but will eventually end up leaving you unfulfilled and regretting your decision in the long run.
In this article we’ll discuss 21 of those dream jobs so you don’t make any mistakes when it comes time to choose the right career path!
Table of Contents
Becoming a professional athlete sounds like a dream.
But many people don’t realize all the sacrifices that come along with it.
You will be spending hours every day training, eating a strict diet, and missing many family milestones.
Sure the money is good, but with a pro career not lasting very long, you can easily outspend your earnings if you aren’t careful.
#2. Marine Biologist
A lot of people want to work with animals when they’re younger, especially those that live in the ocean.
But there’s a vast difference between what you hear described as the job that you get to do and the job that you actually do.
One person who decided to go into marine biology as a career discovered that it wasn’t quite what it was cracked up to be.
As they describe, “I’m a marine biologist. I spent the last week measuring defrosted fish heads.”
Where’s the fun in that?
Many photographers said if you love to take photos, do not become a professional photographer. The job quickly turns into a headache 99% of the time.
One person mentioned a common theme they experience all the time.
“I take pictures for a family, and then Karen doesn’t like the way she looks in one of them so she wants the whole set for free plus a reshoot for free, plus those images for free. Then the two high school kids getting into a very ill-advised marriage at exactly 18 years old wants to book you for their wedding but their budget is only $50. Then Karen calls back because she loves your work and wants to pay for another shoot, but only if you agree to do her friend’s daughter’s destination wedding for free. Then you get a call from your last bride. It’s been two weeks since their wedding. She wants to know where her pictures are.”
#4. DNA Specialist
TV shows like CSI, NCIS, and many television crime documentaries have glamorized this job. As a result, people go into it thinking they will solve cold cases and bust criminals. But many people in the field say 99% of the job is doing swabs daily.
It is not glamorous. It’s actually mundane.
That’s a big letdown for anyone looking to go in and be the next Columbo.
#5. Movie Extra
Being a movie extra also sounds like a lot of fun. You get a small role in a movie and get to tell everyone you are an actor. But no one understands what happens as you wait to film your part.
Here is how one person described their experience.
“Often we have to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to get to holding, and if you’re a minute late to check in sometimes they’ll kick you out. Then we sit around in holding with sometimes hundreds of other extras, and we’re usually sitting there for a good three or four hours before they start telling us to get ready to film. During this time, we go through long wardrobe, hair and makeup lines where they reuse clothes (unless you bring them yourself), brushes and makeup without washing them.
When we finally get to film, it’s often the same mundane motions over and over (exceptions of course, and those are always fun). Then we either get shuffled around or go back to holding. Several more hours pass, we go film again. Hungry? You get lunch six hours after your call time, and a usually meager supply of snacks. In between takes it’s more standing around, often in heat or rain or we all get shuffled into cramped spaces to wait.”
#6. Video Game Testing
If you love playing video games, testing out new games sounds like a dream come true. But every tester commented the job is nothing that you think it is.
You don’t get to play the game at all. You are looking for mistakes, so you have to keep making small moves repeatedly in different combinations.
Then the developer will fix an error, so you have to test the same part all over again.
#7. Pediatric Nurse
Working with kids always sounds good, but it isn’t as rewarding as it’s advertised to be.
Those who went into medicine and became pediatric nurses found that they had to deal with many disturbing situations, often related to the abuse or neglect of a child.
Even though nursing is seen as a field that’s enriching, what instead occurs is that pediatric nurses have to see a host of things that do a number on their mental health.
#8. Working at Barnes & Noble
The love for books is something that hundreds of thousands of people share.
As such, getting a job where you’re surrounded by books sounds like a good idea.
For example, working at Barnes & Noble might be something that interests you.
But those who have worked there before advise against it.
There are a lot of perks for working for B&N, but the job doesn’t really have a lot to do with books.
Besides stocking, you’ll primarily be responsible for either working the register or trying to help people figure out where books are or what books to read (and they generally don’t know what they want to read either).
#9. Flower Shop
Working in a flower shop sounds fun, but it’s not ideal. Many owners responded, “people constantly tell you how fun your job must be,” which gets old fast.
Also, while people come in looking for flowers for their wedding, many try to haggle over price.
Then there is working with people buying flowers because someone passed away, which takes the joy out of the job.
Programming sounds like fun. You get to develop new software and games. But as one person said, “In reality, it’s 10% coding and 90% searching your problems on Stack Overflow.”
In other words, you are doing some data entry, and the rest of your time is problem-solving.
And problem-solving is complicated, so it’s not like a quick Google search will yield the answer.
You have to work hard to find it, and even then, chances are it won’t work, and you are back to square one.
#11. Flight Attendant
If you want to see the world, what better job than to be a flight attendant? However, the job doesn’t allow for as much sightseeing as you think.
Here is one flight attendant summarizing the position.
“You are on call (on reserve) forever, have a terrible schedule, have no life, and make no money for 5-10 years. While you work for peanuts, you can’t afford to use your flight ‘benefits’ in any substantial way. Then, when you finally get a chance to use your benefits for a trip, you have to fly standby which means you aren’t guaranteed to get on the flight you want. Then, if you do make it out of town you better have like a week off so you can make sure you’re back in your base city in time for your next work shift. Did I mention there is an act of US legislation (Railway Labor Act) that allows airlines to exploit so you don’t get paid for certain work hours that you actually need to be working? For example, flight attendants don’t get paid for boarding, or any time the plane is at the gate.”
There are many great things about being a bartender, especially if you love talking with people. But many people don’t talk about the not-so-great things about the job. These involve dealing with intoxicated people, working the entire night and having a messed up sleep schedule, and dealing with loud music.
Some bartenders said another issue was doing shots with the guests and having trouble doing their job as they were not 100% sober.
People go into demolition because they think breaking things and tearing down buildings will be fun. For many people, it is.
At least for five minutes. But the fun quickly wears off because you repeatedly swing a heavy sledgehammer, tiring you out.
This is just the start too. Once you demolish something, you need to clean up the mess.
This entails carrying heavy blocks or pieces of wood, using a wheelbarrow, and more.
#14. Music Store Employee
If you love playing instruments, you might think that a great job for you would be working at a music store. But many people are warning against it.
First, you have people coming in unsure of what instrument they want to play, so you are constantly discussing each item’s pros and cons.
Next, you have people trying out an instrument who cannot play it, so there is a never-ending stream of fingernails on the chalkboard sound or an animal in distress sound.
Finally, you have parents complaining about the instruments’ price. Some people said that the job took away their love of music.
#15. Park Ranger
Being in nature is what calls many outdoor people to this career. But it’s not all about being outdoors. Many times the job requires you to unclog toilets in the restrooms and deal with people who have issues with something about the park.
While you get to spend time outside, many rangers admit the job isn’t what they signed up for.
#16. Escape Room
Most everyone loves going to an escape room and trying to get out. That is everyone but the people who work there.
As one person said, “it’s the same repetitive script, resetting the same stuff, giving clues and hints about the same things. The patrons are often competitive families who argue, obnoxious impatient 13-year-olds, college students who have been drinking, idiots who break and touch stuff that I specifically told them not to. They never remember your initial instructions. If something gets broken during one group, you have to hurry and fix it before the next group.”
#17. Preschool Teacher
Working with little kids sounds like fun, especially if you enjoy children. But this job is exhausting.
Temper tantrums and poor listening skills are just the start. By the end of the day, you have no energy left.
#18. Closed Captioning
As a person who works in closed captioning, you type out the audio so people with hearing issues can watch TV and movies. But you need to type very fast, which means you don’t get to watch TV.
In other cases, the movie is divided into parts and assigned to different people.
This means you only get to see 15-20 minutes of the film. In other words, you aren’t watching movies all day, causally typing along. You have a quota to meet every day.
#19. Forensic Scientist
Most people get into their line of work because they’re excited by it.
Given the massive wave of interest and true crime, you might think it would be fun to land a job like a forensic scientist.
People in the field say that the work is very technical and extremely boring and routine.
They also say that it’s not such a great icebreaker, even though everyone will inevitably ask them about it.
#20. TV/Film Production
TV and film define our society, giving us something to keep us entertained throughout our daily lives.
Many who are both creative and deeply passionate about various forms of media think that it would be a wonderful idea for them to break into this field with a TV or film production job.
But as you can imagine, it’s not so desirable behind the scenes.
No matter what the role, there are numerous obstacles that make working in TV or film less exciting than it sounds.
Some of the biggest issues include not actually being able to flex your creative muscles, very low pay starting out, shooting locations that require constant moving, and low job security.
This can be a recipe for disaster for those who aren’t prepared ahead of time.
Many people who have worked in a Build-A-Bear workshop warn others about this job. Not only do you have to deal with kids, but parents too.
Most of them complain about the prices, and then instead of simply saying no to their child, they take their frustrations out on you.
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The trick is finding the right one for you.
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This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
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