I’m a big believer that your job has to be fun! I can already hear some of you mumbling, “But work isn’t supposed to be fun—it’s work,” so let me clarify. You spend a third of your day at work which is a huge time investment, so what you do needs to be engaging and challenging, something that you’re passionate about, and a vocation that makes you grow as a person,
Of course, money is always an issue, but in the long run, you should strive to find a purposeful calling that also pays well. However, many jobs that people think are very enjoyable turn out to be fun only on paper and can be complete nightmares in real life. Reddit users have opened up about the dark sides of their seemingly ‘fun’ jobs in a viral thread on r/AskReddit, and we’ve collected some of their best answers.
Have a read, upvote the answers that you agree with, and let us know if we’ve shattered any illusions about some of these vocations. Want to share the main pros and cons at your own job? Drop us a comment at the bottom of this article.
Working in an animal shelter. For sure, it’s probably less intense than zookeeping, but the amount of people who apply or volunteer expecting to come in and play with cute puppies all day is absurd. We’re basically animal maids. You deal with animals of all sorts of behavioral and developmental stages [pooping] and pissing everywhere and then you look over and this dog named Chumbawumba swimming in his water bowl so you gotta fill that up six times and dry his kennel out and then you go and mop up the cat room around 10 kittens who want to eat your mop and also four children who are all yelling that there’s puke in the floor and I MUST clean it, NOW. Not to mention all the extra behind the scenes work that the public never sees. How in the summer, during kitten and puppy season, the shelter built to house 500 max has 750 and I didn’t take a lunch or sit at all for any of my shifts for the past six days. How the courts force us to put down animals that we know can be rehabilitated, but we don’t get enough funding to fight it. How animal control just showed up with the fourth pregnant stray of the week but intake is full and even double stacked in some cases, so your coworker fosters the cats on her own. Not even to mention the [awful] people who do dumb [stuff] and end up getting bit or scratched and the animal is the one who bears those consequences. I am the proudest shelter worker in the world. I adore my job, even at its hardest. I didn’t sit for 9 and a half hours today and I found a cat turd in the cuff of my jeans but it doesn’t matter because a bonded pair of adult cats got adopted today. I took six applications this morning and the cat in bank 4 with the goopy eye is already looking better, and we sent a mama out to foster. The hard work is always worth it for these babies.
Not like, hobbyist, but business-owning photographer. Sucks the love right out of your work.
Because you started the business to take pictures.
Then Karen doesn't like the way she looks in one of them so she wants the whole set for free plus a reshoot for free plus those images for free.
Then the two high school kids getting into a very ill-advised marriage at EXACTLY 18 years old wants to book you for their wedding but their budget is only $50.
Then Karen calls back because she loves your work and wants to pay for another shoot, but only if you agree to do her friend's daughter's destination wedding for free.
Then you get a call from your last bride. It's been two weeks since their wedding. WHERE THE [HELL] ARE HER PICTURES?
Then you get no leads from a bridal expo.
Then a client finds out you don't support their candidate and tries to take you to court to get her money back.
Then some insta thot who thinks she's influencing people offers a "collab" where you take pro photos of her and she adds insta filters to it and claims her friend took them. And she's not gonna pay.
And then you get some entitled mom who wants you to photograph every day of her newborn's first year of life for $100.
I went back to being a hobbyist.
Redditor Bwee21’s post on r/AskReddit was incredibly popular. The thread was upvoted nearly 90k times and even got the ‘Top Post’ award. What’s more, the intriguing question about which jobs aren’t as fun as they seem got a whopping 30.5k comments. That just goes to show how much people resonated with the post (and how much some of them wanted to vent about their jobs!).
Sometimes, it’s not the actual job itself that’s the problem but the stressful workplace environment that you spend your days in. Previously, I spoke with life coach Lindsay Hanson about what to do when they realize their workplace is toxic. According to her, we’re all responsible for setting the boundaries for what we’re willing to tolerate.
I'm a marine biologist. I spent the last week measuring defrosted fish heads.
Video game tester.
You aren't spending your time playing completed fully realized games. You are playing the same level of a game over and over seeing if there are bugs.
"If you feel that there's nothing you can do to change the situation and the company or people involved are unwilling to change, then you have to decide whether you're willing to stay in that environment or not," coach Lindsay explained to Bored Panda earlier.
"A good question to ask yourself is, even if this toxic situation were to change, would I still want to work here?" she said that the ball’s always in your court and you make the final decision about whether to stay or to move on.
Being a chef. All the flare and awesomeness they show on vice and Netflix is far from what actually happens in the industry. It’s not all fancy plates and tattooed/cool haired guys doin their thing. It’s a drug infested, law breaking work environment that only benefits the owners of a restaurant
People see it as an anonymous figure typing a few lines of code and gaining access to top secret files.
In reality it’s 10% coding and 90% searching your problems on Stack Overflow.
FLIGHT ATTENDANT. 1) You are on call (on reserve) forever, have a terrible schedule, have no life, and make no money for 5-10 years. 2) While you work for peanuts, you can’t afford to use your flight “benefits” in any substantial way. 3) Then, when you finally get a chance to use your benefits for a trip, you have to fly standby which means you aren’t guaranteed to get on the flight you want. 4) Then, if you do make it out of town you better have like a week off so you can make damn sure you’re back in your base city in time for your next work shift. 5) Did I mention there is an act of US legislation (Railway Labor Act) that allows airlines to exploit so you don’t get paid for certain work hours that you actually need to be working? For example, FAs don’t get paid for boarding, or any time the plane is at the gate. WORST JOB EVER.
According to Lindsay, everyone has two options available to them. The first is choosing happiness (or at least contentment) in the job position you’re in. The second is searching for a way out of your current predicament.
“The idea that you can't change your situation due to the pandemic is very limiting. There are still companies hiring. There are still ways to make money on your own. There is always a way to change your current situation—telling yourself you're stuck feels very limiting," the coach said.
"Again, it comes back to what you're willing to tolerate. You can do everything in your power to bring attention to the toxic situation and attempt to change it. And at the end of the day, you always have control over your own mindset, how you're reacting to the situation, and how much you let it affect you.”
TRULY shocked that nobody has said this one yet. We have the highest suicide rate of any profession.
It’s a lot more talking to people about money and a lot less doing medicine and saving animals than people hope going into it. Not all of the animals are grateful, some of them want to bite you because you’re hurting them and they don’t know it’s in their best interest. Clients can be hugely manipulative jerks. There’s lots of student debt. And don’t get me started on near constant exposure to low levels of anesthetic gasses.
Dog hotel. Thought I’d get to play with puppies all day. Instead I cleaned diarrhea off kennel floors for 5 hours a day and stopped tiny dogs from humping each other for the other 3.
Librarian. It’s not all books and being quiet. There are also spreadsheets.
Being a Character Performer at Disney.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing perks and truly magical moments. I know I’m super lucky and tons of people would love to be in my shoes.
But the day to day work is EXHAUSTING in ways I never thought possible. Guests are ridiculously abusive...I’ve had things said and done to me I never would have imagined. The company isn’t always great - it highly depends on your leadership. And there’s so much focus on your body and face (good and BAD) that it can be incredibly depressing and difficult emotionally.
Plus, you have to accept that there’s very little upward mobility. Most people “grow out of it” and it’s rough to know that one day you’ll get “too old” or “too fat” and you will have to start all over in a new career field. So you constantly are thinking either, 1) what you’re going to do when you leave, 2) how you’re going to keep yourself there. I personally knew it would be temporary, and I now only work there seasonally while I have a “normal career”. But Disney has a way of sucking you in.
Don't get me wrong, it's awesome to be around so many amazing animals and care for them...
But the smells are ridiculously, insanely foul.
I have a really strong stomach and it's still tough for me...we've had some interns quit over it.
I was warned about the smells when getting into the field, but thought "oh I've volunteered at animal shelters, I know what animal stink smells like"
Nope. Not even close.
Baker. Coming into work at 3/4 am so you can have a six am baked goods is miserable.
Gamemaster at an escape room.
It's the same repetitive script, resetting the same stuff, giving clues and hints about the same things. The patrons are often competitive families who argue, obnoxious impatient 13-year-olds, college students who have been drinking, idiots who break [stuff] and touch [stuff] that I SPECIFICALLY TOLD THEM NOT TO. They never remember your initial instructions. If something gets broken during one group, you have to hurry and fix it before the next group.
I'm a Forensic Scientist and it's literally the only thing people ask me about on dating apps. It's very technical work and it's extremely routine.
programming. please help me. I need a hug. why did I need to be such a nerdy kid when I was younger.
Lifeguarding. Everyone expects baywatch, act, saving lives all the time. But It’s usually just sitting there blowing your whistle telling little kids to stop [messing] around.
Well I’m a scientist. I don’t know if people usually think of that career as fun, but I think people think it’s a lot more “Eureka!” and a lot less “this data’s has to be manually processed for 600 hours before I can analyze it.
Everyone wants to break [stuff] with a sledgehammer. Everyone is tired of lifting that sledgehammer by 5 swings.
Nobody wants to load the broken stuff into bags or a wheelbarrow and take it to the dumpster.
Paleontologist. You don’t get to work with full dinosaur skeletons and do all kinds of awesome expeditions. You’re mostly sitting at a desk looking at some pictures and logging stuff on your computer, maybe examining a fossil occasionally. If you’re lucky you can go on a real dig, and OMG SPEND HOURS IN THE HOT SUN DUSTING OFF ROCKS!!!
Google Street View driver.
You're all alone for 8+ hours a day, can almost never take a break, need to constantly be "on" and focused (lest you crash the $25,000 Subaru with $60,000+ worth of camera equipment on it), you end up becoming an amateur meteorologist to keep track of weather patterns and cloud cover, and in my experience there are a lot of people who just get insanely upset at you, at Google, and the job in general for a wide variety of reasons. I enjoyed myself when I did it, but it was nowhere near as glamorous or fun as I or my friends & family assumed.
Edit: Thanks to everyone who expressed an interest in my summer job from almost 10 years ago. I'll just answer the most asked questions here real quick:
Pay? $15 an hour, but contingent on hours driven, which were themselves dependent on clear weather to ensure optimal image quality
Why not drive every day no matter the weather? Google got around this problem by making you re-drive routes whose pictures turned out subpar. To prevent people double billing by driving the same easy route constantly, you also had a weekly quota of unique miles driven, so no double dipping.
What could you do in the car? As long as the camera and the napping software (Edit: MAPPING software, thanks for the heads up) was running properly I was on my own. I listened to music, the news, and lots of books on tape. I could stop for short bathroom breaks whenever I felt like it, and had an hour guaranteed for lunch whenever I wanted to take it, which usually amounted to eating in the car on the side of some lonely rural road 90% of the time.
Who would ever think this was fun or glamorous? All I can say is, back in 2012 most people I talked to were pretty excited, myself included, about getting the chance to do any work with Google, let alone this cool new project that would let you see what any place on Earth looked like at street level from the comfort of home. This was the era of Google Plus being a potentially exciting new thing, of Google Glass being the future of tech, and overall it was a different time. That's why everyone I knew thought this was a cool gig.
All the ones we see on TV and movies are the 0.0001% of incredibly lucky and talented people who managed to thrive in a hostile and overcrowded industry.
And even when you are working, the actual job itself is 99% sitting on apple crate in hot makeup waiting for some grips to move a lighting fixture. Then you say three lines over and over again for an hour, and then you wrap.
Lawyer, no it isn't like they show on TV.
Hey, finally case is before the judge, damn the other party didn't show up. Next date that judge has given is 3 months away.
Working in a music store ( musical instruments )
Your days are spent listening to 50 different people play 50 different riffs poorly simultaneously, as if they're all putting on their own concert.
Accounting isn't the adrenaline rush that most people think it is
Farming. At least in my experience it's a rough and thankless way to make a living with no days off and no management to cry to when there's a problem.
You: My dad is in the hospital and isn't doing well, can I take a couple days off? The plants:
Also everyone thinks you have the cushiest job ever. Everything is automated now, isn't it? You get tons of bailouts and subsidies and whatnot, right? You get 3 months in winter off, right?
Maybe out west where they're growing a billion acres of corn in one field so the robot tractors can't really get confused and such a machine would actually pay for itself.
Only if you're in Iowa growing ethanol corn.
It's 3 months of building and equipment maintenance with no pay. It's the exact opposite of a paid vacation but it goes for months. No we don't go to Hawaii.
Working in a thrift store? Well I always thought it sounded fun but it's basically just the retail experience but on top of that people think they can haggle with you. I specifically worked in a non-profit thrift store (charity shop) so it was extra infuriating when people tried to return things or talk us down from a $5 shirt. THIS ISN'T A GARAGE SALE.
Cyber Security. Bro, the movies do us no justice. Hacking is not as fast nor is it as easy as the media makes it. It's a great field but you spend a lot of time researching or watching paint dry, especially in the gov side.
Trimming weed, Idk why people think working with weed is like working in the willy wonka factory, it’s not. You literally get to make tiny cuts with sticky scissors for 8 hours.
Working at a Charles Dickens fair is... Interesting, but not incredibly fun. It is hard to stay in character, and people get so mad when they see the Alice in Wonderland area. Yeah, we know it's not Charles Dickens, but we can't have a kids play area in the world of Oliver Twist, okay?
Working at Victoria's Secret. People think it's a lot of hot women coming in to buy underwear, but it's mostly Karens.
I grew up loving planes and space travel and being interested in how things work. I loved cars and motorcycles and anything mechanical or electrical.
The reality is that you sit behind a desk likely making subcomponents at best, and dealing with issues that arise when it doesn’t work with another component for the final product. Most engineers will not use even half of what their degree was for.
Please note that of course there are exceptions, and many engineers get to do really cool things for their whole career, I’m just saying that most don’t.
Being a writer. I always thought it was my absolute dream job. But the only job I could get after college was working in a content mill as a blog writer. I used to work 70-hour weeks staring at the computer in a basement of an old bank writing nonsense articles about the dangers of mold, fence cleaning, and why you need a commercial awning and the dream turned into a nightmare.
While I still write occasionally, I am now working as a communications person so it is a bit less heavy.