20 People share why their ideal job didn’t live up to their expectations

They often say to be cautious about your desires because the universe can work in strange ways, granting your wishes or not, and occasionally, the result may not be as impressive as you initially expected.

Oftentimes, we keep chasing a dream that seems magical but when we finally reach the goal, we realize that it was just “meh”. People are sharing the disappointing reality of their dream jobs in this honest Reddit thread. Scroll below to read some of their grievances.

“I dreamt of working at Disney World for YEARS, finally got hired at 23. The first couple of years weren’t that bad (I had blinders on). Year 3 I realized I was literally paying to work there I was getting paid so little. Took me 4 more years to get out of the mouse trap but once I was gone I’ve never looked back.”

“For sure! Worked in forensics and while the gruesome parts didn’t affect me directly, I kinda lost my smile? It’s a dark world, yet exciting. Worst part was for sure the work place and how it was managed.”

“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.”

“All throughout childhood and college I wanted to be a zookeeper.

When I was finally offered the internship though, it took me less than a week to realize I couldn’t stomach it.

It’s a lot less “playing with and training cute animals” and a lot more “cleaning up the vilest messes and being bombarded with the absolute worst smells on planet earth” than I imagined.”

“Yes I wanted to be a freelance graphic designer because I heard you work for yourself. Turns out you can have 18 a hole bosses at once.”

“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.”

“Sort of. I got close to it. 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.

I still enjoy doing hair. And I still like people, for the most part. So I went with a more low key path. I’m very happy with my choices. Sometimes on the way to your dream job, you have to make adjustments.”


It’s one of the most soul crushing jobs out there.

A kid in the pediatric intensive care unit with severe injuries while his parents tell conflicting stories on how he got injured.

Knowing and seeing what “teratogenic” is.

Children getting severe infections and getting declared brain dead and then you have to tell the parents that their kid is now just a living meat bag.

Pay is good at least.”

“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, tf with that?

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

So dumb, I hate it.”

“Never really enjoyed driving but always wanted to learn to fly. Dropped 10k on a pilots license and found out flying was just driving with up and down added. Weird was how quickly a childhood dream turned to meh.”

“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 damned.”

“Teaching. Thought it 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.

Also if you can’t control a class don’t expect management to understand,they won’t. They’ll see it as your fault. To them, the school is their business and the kids and their parents are their customers they want kept happy. Parental complaints look bad on you so don’t expect management to side with you or have empathy. They often see it as your fault and you as the problem.

It definitely is a marmite profession that comes back to your personality type. Just being able to manage kids alone isn’t enough, it’s so much more that requires a massive array of skills and talent. You either have the knack or you don’t and in my new profession now I’m often asked why I left such a “cushy job/ handy number” like teaching. The same people won’t believe me when I try to tell them and believe it’s an easy gig. People appear to think because the holidays are good it makes it a dream job and negates everything else.”

“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 dont 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.”

“Yes I did. I went to culinary school, worked my way up in restaurants (as a woman) washing dishes, being the fry cook, closing two stations without a change of pay at a couple places, and finally made it to an up scale restaurant in DTLA where the owners had, STILL have, a great reputation in the industry. We were nominated for two Michelin stars while I was working for them (I was a pastry cook and worked directly with the owner/head pastry chef). I finally had that job I worked so hard for, but I was extremely unhappy, unfulfilled and burnt out. I came to realize that it was always going to be “go go go” and I was never fully going to be able to rest and spend time with family. I knew it was a laborious job going in, and I was ready. What I did not expect was that I was never going to be properly compensated. Cooks are extremely underpaid, over worked and undervalued. It was a huge disappointment finding out that I would never make enough to live on my own, let alone start my own business which was my end goal.

I do not regret taking that path though. When I began I was shy, quiet, and didn’t know how to speak up for myself. It doesn’t happen with everyone, but working those 8 years in the industry toughened me up, and gave me the confidence and courage I needed to accept that I was unhappy and had the option to change careers.”

“I got to work on 3d models in a large game studio.

Turns out I hate working in an office setting, I can’t stand office culture, and they don’t pay living wages for new employees.

Now I get to help sick and injured people while living in a small mountain town, making enough money to buy a house and travel when I want.”

“Being a professor. The academe is full of know-it-alls and stuffy experts with attitude problems. Hard to work when it feels like you’re walking on eggshells every time you approach a senior faculty member. Plus, they exploit the living hell out of the younger faculty members, saying that this is for experience when it is clearly just running tasks that they don’t want to do.”


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.

I chose to do diagnostic radiology because this internal medicine lifestyle and workload is just ridiculous.”

“Teaching at a college

I ***love*** my field and I love research. It’s easy to ramble for hours on end about a topic. The passion and curiosity I held for my discipline, I thought, would make me a good instructor. What I did not expect was how much hatred, contempt, jealousy, and sabotage would come from administration.

* “Oh, you’re enjoying teaching an entry level class with 30 students? We’ll raise the cap so it has 75 enrolled. Have fun grading until you cry each week!”
* “Oh, you want to be an expert educator in one area? Then you get to be the (unpaid) consultant on *all* department exams on that topic. Enjoy re-writing 7 midterms for your colleagues with one week’s notice!”
* “Oh, you haven’t had a raise in six years? The football coach *needs* to be highest paid person in the state. If you ask for a cost of living increase again we’ll set the students against you by claiming inflation adjusted raises for instructors would result in doubling tuition costs for students!”

And so many of the students see the courses as box checking and are burnt out from previous bad educational experiences. I don’t blame them, but no matter how hard I tried to be kind and share my excitement for the subject it felt like throwing a dandelion into the grand canyon of despair.”

“I’ve worked at a few nonprofits. I like my current job well enough but some things I’ve noticed:

1. They tend to be filled with overdramatic people. More so than other jobs I’ve had like retail or fast food.

2. The pay ranges from sucks to poverty.”

“Yeah. I always wanted to be a part of the music industry but didn’t want to be a performer. I went to college for audio engineering, and was a live sound engineer/stage tech/guitar tech for about seven years. I did love the job and I’m glad I did it, but it was pretty clear after I started touring that it wasn’t feasible for me as a lifestyle.

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.

The days are long but the pay doesn’t reflect that. If it was a show day, I’d usually work like 16 hours straight. I was working with pretty big-name acts but my day rate was still about $175 a day and if I asked for a raise they’d call someone else. Everything I did was also as an independent contractor, so my taxes were f****d to begin with. That was actually what forced me out of doing it full-time, the change to the tax code in 2017 pretty much ruined my career. I went from paying in $600 per year to paying in $4,000 in one year.

When I quit, I still kept doing it on the side for a few years with some of the local audio companies I worked with coming up, but it paid way less than touring which already didn’t pay a lot. After about two years and the beginning of COVID, I walked away entirely to focus on my career as an electrician which is a much better fit.

I miss the experiences but I don’t miss the lifestyle. Again, I’m glad I did it, but I’m glad I don’t do it.”

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