The Most Overrated Careers

U.S. News has also highlighted 13 occupations with a mystique that exceeds reality.

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It looks glamorous on TV. Or you've got an uncle who loves it. Or you heard you could earn a lot of money at it. People pick careers for many reasons, including some bad ones. So in addition to identifying the Best Careers for 2008, U.S. News has also highlighted 13 occupations with a mystique that exceeds reality. This list is subjective, and, indeed, many people are happy in those careers. But these conclusions are derived from a review of books, articles, websites, forums, and blogs about people's experiences in careers, supplemented by confidential counseling sessions with 2,600 people over a period of two decades.

 

Attorneys and advertising executives, for example, often find their work is more tedious than outsiders would guess. People enter such careers as teacher or nonprofit manager to make a difference, only to encounter frustrating roadblocks at every turn. And most chefs and small-business owners will find that it's much more difficult than they imagined to achieve others' storied success. New to this year's list are three of the most prestigious careers: physician, medical scientist, and architect. They, of course, are not bad careers, but they have downsides that many career seekers are unaware of, and those drawbacks are becoming ever more serious. That's why, for each of the jobs on our list, we list an alternative career that might be more rewarding.

The most overrated careers: