10 'dream' jobs that aren't as glamorous as you might think
- As kids, we wanted to grow up to become astronauts, taste-testers, professional athletes, and travel the world taking wildlife photos.
- These "dream" jobs looked glamorous on the surface, usually promising a life of luxury, travel, and fame.
- But some of these jobs can be isolating, physically taxing, and can have negative, long-term effects on your mental and physical health.
- Professional gaming can be isolating and stressful, while taste-testing can be highly repetitive and mathematical.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
One of the most common questions children are asked in school is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Dreams of becoming professional sports players, astronauts, or even fashion designers are popular for a reason. These careers promise a lifestyle filled with excitement, fame, fortune, and the chance to explore the world.
But while "dream" jobs may appear glamorous on paper, there are plenty of reasons why they are so hard to achieve and sustain.
Models may flaunt their luxury lifestyles, but the reality is lots of hard work, a highly demanding schedule, and not as much money as you might think.
Models seem to be constantly jet-setting around the world, enjoying luxury vacations aboard yachts, and flaunting designers' best pieces. But they have to follow a demanding schedule and deal with constant pressure to stay in shape.
In an interview with Vogue, Bella Hadid confessed, "I would cry every single morning, I would cry during my lunch breaks, I would cry before I slept. I was very emotionally unstable for a while when I was working 14-hour days for four months straight as an 18-year-old. I think I just wanted to breathe a little bit."
Plus, they don't earn as much as you might think. In New York, models earn $48,130 (R765,000) on average a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's only a third of the average annual Manhattanite salary, Business Insider previously reported.
Being a professional taste-tester isn't just getting paid to snack. The reality is that the job is repetitive and highly skilled.
As a kid, everyone fantasises about getting to sample ice cream and cookies as a full-time career. The reality is the job is very detail-oriented and very repetitive.
When evaluating a product, testers can't just label it as "good" or "bad." Instead, a mathematical score has to be given for every aspect of the food, with testers identifying the strength of each specific flavour.
"It requires such a high level of concentration," one taste-tester told TODAY.com.
Sometimes a tester will have to sample a specific product, such as a cookie or cracker, for weeks on end.
"You're getting graded on what you do, so it's kind of stressful. You want to do a good job, and it's totally quantitative. You go into test-taking mode," the taste-tester added.
Anyone who grew up watching "Sex and the City" dreamed of living like Carrie Bradshaw, but in reality, you need plenty of personal funding to support a career as a writer.
"Sex and the City" painted a romantic version of a writer's life. Viewers watched Carrie Bradshaw parade around New York City in designer clothing, sipping champagne, and living off a writer's salary.
Unfortunately, it's rare to be able to support this lifestyle (or anything close to it) on a writer's salary alone.
In a 2018 Author's Guild Study, the median income of all published authors for all writing-related activity was $6,080 (R96,000) in 2017, down from $10,500 (R167,000) in 2009.
Oftentimes, writers have to work multiple jobs, copy edit, or rely on a partner or family's financial support to follow their dreams.
Neville Frankel, author of the historical novel "Bloodlines," recommends writers "live in the attic or the basement; do whatever jobs you need to make ends meet. If you're fortunate enough to have a partner or spouse with a job, make a deal to support each other financially."
In an article author Lynn Steger Strong wrote for the Guardian, she explains that plenty of writers don't openly discuss how they are funding their careers, creating an illusion that making a living off writing is possible, as long as you put in the work. But at the end of the day, she says writing simply requires a lot of time and space - two factors that a person of privilege has way more access to.
Playing video games for a living is probably every kid's dream, but the career can be extremely isolating.
Getting to play your favourite video game for a living sounds like a dream come true. However, once it becomes a full-time career, the lifestyle can be isolating and stressful.
Professional gamer Sean Gallagher, aka "Gladd," told Business Insider that gaming can cause you to lose sight of your loved ones and prioritise subscribers, which help boost your income.
In an industry where some gamers are playing for 12-14 hours a day, there's also pressure never to leave your screen. Ryan Wright, aka "True Vanguard," said the gaming community is a very "out of sight, out of mind" kind of industry. When he decided to take a week-long vacation after three years of growing his community, he lost almost two years' worth of growth on Twitch, a live-streaming platform.
As well as taking on this mental strain, players can end up hurt physically, too. Some have reported carpal tunnel syndrome or injured wrists, according to CBS News.
Anyone who has been involved in the service industry has probably fantasised about opening up a restaurant of their own, but many struggle to stay afloat.
There are more restaurant failures than successes, and that's because succeeding in the industry is no easy feat.
Thrillist spoke with multiple restaurant and bar owners and asked them the hardest parts about the job. Among their complaints were a nonexistent social life, 18-hour days, no income, gruesome dirty work, a constant stream of questions from the entire staff, and knowing that continued success is never guaranteed.
If you've ever scored a game-winning goal or home run, you've definitely dreamed of going pro. But travelling, training, and injuries make this dream job tough to stick out.
Watching professional athletes, we only see the glamorous side: the game-winning goals, celebration dances, endless sponsorships, and team bonding. While the job can come with fame and fortune at its top levels, it also comes with an enormous amount of pressure and public scrutiny.
First, you have to beat thousands of similarly talented athletes for just a few coveted spots.
You dedicate your life to conditioning your body, while also knowing that one small injury could ruin your career. This battle is both physical and mental, and many athletes struggle with their mental health as a result.
US Alpine skier Tim Jitloff told the Deseret News that some of his fellow athletes have worked with mental trainers to help them handle the pressure.
"There have been at least three points in my career where I was going to hang it up," he said of his own experience. "At the low points, there have certainly been times where it is hard emotionally and mentally to be feeling not that great about yourself."
A life spent exploring space and working for NASA would be a dream come true. But astronauts experience physical and mental side effects that could stay with them for the rest of their lives.
While there is no doubt about the importance of astronauts' work, they sacrifice their long-term health for their missions. For example, low gravity can accelerate osteoporosis, and after a year in space, astronaut Scott Kelly didn't perform as well as his twin brother on cognitive tests.
Even in the short term, astronauts battle a variety of obstacles for the sake of science. In low gravity, your inner ear isn't working as well and is unable to match with the spatial information of your eyes, causing motion sickness. Alongside feeling dizzy and uneasy, living in confined and isolating quarters with limited food options for long periods of time can start to wear you down.
Working on a luxury yacht seems like the perfect way to get paid to travel the world. Unfortunately, the living conditions can be one-star and the hours are long.
Anyone with wanderlust has probably thought about working on a luxury yacht. It seems like the perfect chance to make money and visit the world's dreamiest spots while travelling in luxe style.
While days off can be fun, the job itself is intense. Business Insider spoke with superyacht crew members who revealed they usually wake up before dawn and stay up through the middle of the night.
One crew member said he faces "very, very long days with little rest and expectations to perform at the highest levels of service while not losing your cool under pressure."
Plus, guests come on the boat with endless demands. Another yacht crew member described her day: "Food and beverage service three times a day. A lot of plans and schedules change on the fly depending on the owners and their wants and whims, which can be a bit frustrating."
If you ever watched "Project Runway," you probably dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, but the fashion industry can be a tough one to crack.
Debuting your own fashion line at Fashion Week is a goal of every aspiring designer. Unfortunately, achieving big success is extremely rare, and most designers spend years living paycheck to paycheck while working long hours to finish the collection.
The reality is that competition is fierce and you need to be able to handle constant criticism. While making it big promises a highly respected, lucrative career, designers who don't get recognised must continue to struggle to keep their dreams alive on little money and support.
Travelling the world to photograph nature may sound amazing, but the reality of being a wildlife photographer is not as whimsical as it seems.
Any aspiring photographer has probably spent hours scrolling and flipping through National Geographic's photos, daydreaming of when they will also be crouching in the wild waiting for that perfect shot. But the road there is treacherous.
If you do land a job as a wildlife photographer, you sometimes put your life at risk. Photographers trek through unknown areas of the world and risk animal attacks, disease, and injury to capture a photo.
Plus, you need a tremendous amount of patience. Award-winning wildlife photographer Richard Peters told Afar that he has had to "burrow in a forest ... for 10 hours at a time, two days in a row, and wait for a lynx that never reveals itself."
And if this scenario still seems dreamy to you, he reminds aspiring photographers that he usually spends the majority of his time editing photos on the computer, not travelling the world.
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