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Having devoted years of tireless effort to actualize your career aspirations and attain the coveted position you’ve yearned for, discovering a genuine dislike for your job and the absence of expected fulfillment can be a profoundly disheartening revelation. This unexpected turn of events may evoke feelings of disappointment and even a profound sense of failure, especially when you’ve invested significant time, education, and financial resources into achieving this goal, only to realize it doesn’t align with your ideal fit.
An online community shares their biggest disappointments when it comes to career choices, answering the questions: “Did you ever obtain your “dream job” to realize it wasn’t actually what you wanted- why did it not live up to expectations?”
1. Flight Attendant
One woman shares, “I always wanted to be a flight attendant. Then I actually was one. No thanks ever again, but for a few years it was fun, then it just became a series of indistinguishable hotel rooms and it wasn’t worth putting up with the passengers anymore.” Passengers can be brutal, and it seems sleeping in a different bed gets old each night.
2. An Easy Desk Job
“I worked a lot of physical demanding jobs during my 20s and had these recurring fantasies about working in a store, sitting all day waiting for people to buy something, and have all that free time
Well a couple months ago I found that job. Great pay, some benefits, great bosses, but every day it’s slower than the last, and weirdly enough I come back home tired from doing almost nothing all day long. Now sometimes I fantasize about going back to my old job, where I would end up covered up in sweat and dirt but at least there was a feeling of accomplishment.”
3. The Music Industry
One user said he wanted to be in the music industry, so he went to school to be a sound engineer. He loved it at first but realized it was a bad fit for many reasons, including low pay for the crazy hours he worked.
“In order to do the job consistently you have to basically be homeless and miss everything that happens at home. It wasn’t like I was miserable and being held hostage, but after missing enough birthdays and holidays with family and instead spending them with other random stage techs that you aren’t super close to, it gets hard to rationalize.”
“My first job out of college was as a forestry field tech. Turns out camping is way less fun when you worked 10 hours, don’t have cell service, are on a random flat spot you found, and there’s no one to talk to. Now make that 8 days in a row, your only water is in jugs in the work truck, and you’re covered in grime and wearing the same clothes for the entire time.
Now I get to stay in a cabin during field season. Having running water, a bed, and four friendly people on the crew is a godsend. I am so much happier just having company and running water, “adventure” be da**ed.”
A lot of people dream of being a pilot. One writer says, “Never really enjoyed driving but always wanted to learn to fly. Dropped 10k on a pilot’s license and found out flying was just driving with up and down added. Weird was how quickly a childhood dream turned to meh.”
6. Railroad Dreams
What kid doesn’t love trains? One man dreamed of working on the railroad for the high pay and being nears trains. But the reality hit him hard as an adult.
“Permanent nights, working every weekend in all weather, with equipment that weighed an absolute tonne that had to be loaded up dark embankments. I was working with thermite and explosive gases, usually after pushing all the gear about 3 or 4 miles down the track. One Christmas, I worked a shift on a site where a guy was killed the previous weekend after getting his arm chopped off by an excavator. They had a collection box in the site cabin with a picture of him and his young kid on it.”
7. Working with Animals
“I dreamt about working in Veterinary Medicine my whole life. When I finally did, I ended up traumatized. It wasn’t the blood, the abuse, or even the euthanasia. It was how we just didn’t talk about it. Bad day? Don’t talk about it. Got hurt? Don’t talk about it. Rude pet parent? Don’t talk about it. Burnt out? Don’t talk about it. I felt so alone in situations where having support was essential.”
8. Working with Celebrities
One woman had dreams of styling celebrity hair but says she dodged the bullet before she reached it.
“[I got] close enough to see what that life would actually be like. And it sucked. It turns out, I don’t like working on celebrities. They’re kind of annoying clients. It’s not fun and glamorous. It’s unnecessarily stressful. And I don’t want to be a famous stylist or famous anything. It makes people weird. Mark Ruffalo is only normal because he hasn’t figured out he’s famous yet.”
9. Medical Doctor
Many medical providers get burned out due to paperwork, high patient volume, and the need to see people as “quickly” as possible. One resident shares, “Currently working 7am-7pm 6 days a week for months at a time. 4 weeks of vacation a year. I am getting paid about $12 per hour when you do the math out.
That is residency. I wanted to help people but this field takes advantage of that and the hospital CEOs and decreasing insurance reimbursement takes advantage of that.”
10. Other Healthcare Work
Whether a nurse, physical therapist, psychiatrist, or beyond… working in a setting with shortages, loads of paper work, and grumpy patients can be physically and mentally exhausting.
“Working as a chemist in an academic research lab.
Academia is full of narcissistic nutjobs that pretend like their research is the holy grail of their field when it’s actually practically inconsequential. The stakes are so low that the results don’t matter and everyone is just scavenging for what little funding they can pull together for something nobody really wants or needs. The amount of pettiness, sabotage and frankly fraud is rather pathetic. But they face little to no repercussions because, again, nobody cares.
Which is why I now do research in a corporate lab.”
12. Teaching Our Youth
“Teaching. Thought it [would] be nice but was totally not suited to it, was dreadful at managing behaviour and just couldn’t understand how to plan or deliver lesson. I sucked. It amazes me how much teaching is promoted by the mass media and society as a “anybody can do it job.” It certainly isn’t and I met some unhappy colleagues who hated it too or that weren’t suited to it either when I was there but were trapped in it.”
These stories show that we aren’t all suited for the same career path. Before diving to far into a career, it’s a great idea to test it out or shadow someone so that you don’t end up stuck in a career you hate.
13. Freelance Designer
Someone writes the reality of freelance work in two true sentences, “Yes I wanted to be a freelance graphic designer because I heard you work for yourself. Turns out you can have 18 a h*le bosses at once.” So much for getting away from “working for the man.”
14. Professional Athlete
While the idea of playing sports for a living may seem fun, the intense training, competition, and physical demands can be grueling. Many professional athletes face injury risks, intense pressure, and short careers- turning a sport they once loved into a chore.
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