Why is Mass Media Trying to Get Me to Take These Jobs?

Something I’ve noticed after watching many movies and TV shows and reading airplane paperbacks is that the main characters almost always have pretty awesome-sounding jobs in medicine or law or advertising or publishing.  They also often have pretty awesome hours and perks that are no way related to reality.  So here are some jobs that I have seen portrayed in mass media that are nowhere as good as they seem (regardless of pay grade).

  1. Lawyer. Too many movies and television shows are convinced that lawyers can do whatever they’d like in the courtroom (and that they spend most of their time there).  But that’s just not true.  There are enough protocols in the courtroom to make your head explode.  And it seems there’s always a sassy defense or prosecuting lawyer with a noble mission, while in reality you are probably going to be defending someone you know is really guilty and who just happens to be paying you.  And if you’re not in the courtroom, you’ll be working 75+ hour weeks trying to convince Mr. and Mrs. Uncooperative that the house cannot literally be divided in half.
  2. Doctor.  George Clooney made this one look good in ER.  And look at Scrubs – all fun and games!  Maybe if you like staying up all night covered in blood and irritation, or enjoy little children flicking their boogers at you.  What about the pressure to prescribe certain medications, or the hassles of dealing with payments and insurance?  I’d rather sell snake oil.

    This is not real life.
  3. President.  This job is all Air Force One and deep voices.  Or saving the world from aliens.  Nope.  Just travelling all the time and ensuring that at least half the world hates you.  And never having privacy again.
  4. Advertising.  Thanks, Mad Men, for convincing me that advertising is fueled by bourbon and drunk ideas on cocktail napkins.  Or a sudden magical ability to see what women want.  Actually, it’s lots of failure and dumb copywriting that takes a lot of time and often involves an entire team.  So you probably won’t be able to walk into your boss’ office and demand a raise after nailing American Airlines.
  5. Crocodile Hunter. Self-explanatory.

I’ve been working ‘service’ jobs my entire life and have had a great time.  Granted, the pay isn’t great, but they’re full time (and often full time means ‘full time’ – my latest job involved working four hours each day and relaxing the rest of the time).  I have been able to drive huge tractors, learn how to cook professionally, inventory books, and teach people to swim and play baseball – and I’m not even twenty-two yet.  I’ve met many interesting people who have offered their inputs as to where I should take my career – and while I’m not really ready to have a ‘career’ yet, I will keep all options in mind as I prepare to make my contribution to the world.