Overrated Career: Nonprofit Manager

Many of your employees end up being volunteers—some are competent and reliable, but others aren't.

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The Appeal: A lot of people want a career in which they can "make a difference." For many, that means a career helping manage a nonprofit organization that works, for example, on environmental issues or children's rights or antipoverty campaigns.

The Reality: Many of your employees end up being volunteers—some are competent and reliable, but others aren't. Also, much of the job also involves fundraising, which many people dislike. Plus, you're often expected to be so dedicated to the cause that you're willing to work long hours for little pay. Despite all that, nonprofit management jobs are difficult to find.

Alternative: Do what Bill Gates and Warren Buffett do: Earn your pay in the private sector, then donate time or money to your favorite nonprofit cause.