They may look glamorous on TV or in movies, but these jobs are a lot less exciting than you might think
Some jobs seem as though they have PR firms working to promote them. The people who have them always look good, if sometimes disheveled, on TV or in movies. And there are a few that may be. But a number are anything but.
As the Telegraph put it, there are seriously overrated jobs out there that seem like dream positions until you're actually in the throes of doing them. Maybe the conditions are tough, the hours long, or the money not everything that you might think. Or perhaps it's just a lot more dull and routine than you would expect.
The Telegraph started with a list of five. We added a few more. Take a glance--and then, next time you're watching a movie or program, remember that you might already be better off than you think.
People often tell travel writers that they must have the most amazing jobs anywhere. You get to go to exotic places, eat amazing food, and get paid to do it. On a good day, maybe. But quite often you'll stay in iffy hotels and lament for home cooked food. Getting publications to lay out money for expenses has become increasingly difficult, and many writers look for freebies from tourism and visitors bureaus and PR firms. That means being shuttled from one place to another in a short timeframe and having to be nice to those who can cut off your access. It's not a vacation, it's a forced march.
If you're a freelancer, as many are, to keep your editorial independence, plan on paying a lot of the expenses yourself and deducting them from your taxes. That means you'll be covering your own benefits, like health insurance and sick days plus double the Social Security tax, as an employer no longer covers half.
You watch all the Food Network shows, to say nothing of Top Chef. Impeccably dressed in white, delivering orders to the people under you, and hobnobbing with celebrities, right? Not for the average working chef. The hours are really long, the conditions hot and difficult. You're on your feet for many hours a day, there will be no Hollywood types hanging out with you, and cuts, burns, and falls will become a fact of life. Hours include early mornings, late nights, weekends, and holidays, and the 2012 median pay was $42,480, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Admit it: You've been watching Mad Men. But, really, look at Don Draper. Is that the life you actually want? Creativity gets hammered into the ground all the time -- not by the agencies so much as by the clients. They always know better (not really), expect you to be available whenever they want (often at the last minute), and can too frequently be completely unhelpful, having you run this way and that for no apparent reason. Or you might work in-house and be blamed every time sales aren't what someone decreed they ought to be, no matter how bad the product design or customer service. The only good news is that the amount of alcohol swilling has dropped over the decades.
The median pay may sound good at $73,090 a year, but getting there is a lot harder than it looks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. First there's a five-year bachelor's program, rather than the usual four-year for most professions. After that, to get ahead you might need a master's, which means another one to five years of school. Then there's state licensing that will require at least three years of experience before getting your license. What can we say? The Mike Brady life it probably won't be.
Junior investment banker
Can you make big bucks as an investment banker? Oh, yeah. Wall Street has an efficient system for vacuuming cash out of most business done in this country, and eventually the investment bankers get their share. Even starting as a first-year analyst, the pay can run from $70,000 to $150,000, according to WallStreetOasis. After that, you quickly get into the hundreds of thousands to millions range.
Bad news: Either you'll live in New York City, in which case you'll see how quickly that money can evaporate, or you'll spend plenty of time commuting. That doesn't count working 80 to 120 hours a week. Some banks have been telling their employees to start taking Saturdays off, as the New York Times reported. But did anyone say anything about Sundays? It's tough to get away from the office when the pressure to perform and deliver is massive.
Get into court, tear into the flimsy story someone offered, relax after work, and make median pay of $113,530 a year. But you'll be working "long hours," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and forget about courtroom repartee. Most of the job involves reading through difficult and usually dull material, writing difficult and usually dull material, and then worrying whether you'll make partner and trying to pay off the massive student loans it took to get through law school.
On cop shows and in the movies, the detectives dress well and usually get the perpetrator. In reality, the work can be challenging, but also depressing when you spend day after day seeing the worst humanity has to offer. It's physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts it. Rates of alcoholism are high, according to Law Enforcement Today, as is the suicide rate, as related by PoliceOne.com. And the median pay is $56,980. Not a lot of money for the apparent level of pain.