According to a Glassdoor report, around 60% of new hires said their job was different from their expectations. Luckily, in most cases, the difference was not substantial and was related only to some aspects of the position (e.g. the slight difference in the scope of duties or approach to some tasks). But sometimes it happens that our job expectations have very little to do with the reality of the role. I list below some “dream jobs” whose daily tasks are a bit different from what people usually expect.
#1 Wildlife conservationist
You’ve always been eco-conscious and known that fighting for animal rights is your life’s mission. You need to be aware that wildlife conservation is a way broader term than, let’s say, saving a Giant Panda. The majority of conservationists work for local or federal government to preserve the habitats of plants and animals. A significant part of their job is studying soil or water and then writing voluminous reports on their findings.
Even if you land a dream job at WWF and are assigned to the team protecting the snow leopard, your job will be mainly to watch endless hours of material from the camera traps placed in some remote, snowy places where, most likely, you won’t encounter any animals. Usually, nothing happens there, so it’s a bit like watching a fuzzy screen all day.
#2 Kitesurfing instructor
Sun, water and wind in your hair while dashing through the waves – if you think that’s what the life of a kitesurfing instructor is all about, you’re right! Still, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. If you take a closer look at those guys, you’ll notice their job is actually more about standing long hours in the water in full sun and screaming “Loose the bar!” to course participants. From time to time they need to dash through the waves to rescue a student from trouble if they hit one of the pro-riders after losing control of their kite.
And if you think that they can finally kitesurf on their own after they are done with teaching, think again. The season is usually so short that the schools aim at serving as many clients as possible so if the instructor is not teaching at a given moment, that means the weather conditions are not good for surfing at that time. Soon you realize that standing the whole day in hip-deep water in full sun and yelling at some rich kids who apparently don’t understand your instructions is not that much fun after all.
#3 Fund accountant
Everyone has different dreams and needs. Some of us are reasonable and down to earth and have never wanted any of those fancy jobs that everyone else seems to aim at. Their dreams are simple, for instance, they just want to be an accountant (personally I know two such cases).
If you belong to this group, the career path very often looks as follow. Right after graduating, you find a job posting about a junior fund accountant role in a large, well-known investment bank and you decide to give it a shot, after all, you are a master of T-accounts and always know exactly which entry should be credited and which debited. But you might be surprised by a fund accountant’s scope of duties.
Due to computerization, no one is actually filling in T-accounts anymore. Today accounting in huge corporations is more about checking if specialized software processed the data correctly. Instead of booking entries on relevant accounts you will be instead responding to automatically generated alerts and checking if the computers have done their tasks correctly. In around 90% of the cases, the alerts are false and your job is basically to say “yeah, it’s ok.”
#4 Rock star
Sooner or later everyone has a moment in his life when he wishes to be a rock star. But is it really as cool as everyone thinks? Let’s take a look. First, you are closed for months in a recording studio listening to variations of the same tone all day long in order to pick that perfect combination that will make the crowds go crazy. After you set up all the sounds correctly it’s time for the big tournée.
Now, finally a bit of fun and ruining fancy hotel rooms! Or is it? Do you really think you will have the energy for partying hard after that long-haul flight, then too few hours of sleep, then an interview, then having lunch with local fans who paid for it, then a bit of rehearsing and finally a draining 2-hour concert that ends in the middle of the night? Don’t forget you need to wake up early the next day to give another interview just before you get into the bus that will take you to the airport so the whole story can repeat in a city 600 miles away.
#5 Research can save lives
There seems to be a pattern. The more we dream about a certain position, the more probable it is we are idealizing it and our expectations have very little in common with the reality. So next time you’re about to land the job of your dreams, do your homework. Use google, speak to someone who already does the job, ask questions during the job interview and make sure you know exactly what your day-to-day routine is going to look like.