Remember when you were a kid and grown-ups would ask you “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember my answer changing throughout the years, but usually I would pick a career based on what I thought sounded like fun…like a teacher or a doctor or an animator at Disney (I really loved everything Disney growing up). 

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell whether or not a job is “fun” until you’re actually in that job. There are many, many jobs that sound like they would be a dream come true until you actually deal with the reality. For example, if you like to take pictures, you might daydream about becoming a professional photographer and turning your hobby into a career. If you like playing with kids, you might think being a preschool teacher would be a dream job. 

Reddit user bwee21 asked, “Which job is a LOT less fun than most people expect?” The answers are pretty eye-opening. Scroll down to read about the reality of 13 careers as told by Reddit users who have actually worked in or are currently working in these fun-sounding jobs.

  1. Park Ranger

    Shared by RangerRudbeckia:

    Park Ranger. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but a lot of days it was less “talk about cool animals while wearing your ranger hat” and more “the toilets are overflowing again, go clean the septic tank filter and stir the tank with a shovel.” With a little bit of “hey there’s a methed out guy down by the bridge, can you convince him to leave without killing anyone.” All for the low price of $26k/year with a college degree!

  2. Photographer

    From Reddit user TheNerdyMupton:

    Professional photographer. 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 FUCK 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 shitty 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.

  3. Preschool Teacher

    Reddit user sociallyawkextrovert adds:

    Preschool teacher. Especially with new COVID-19 regulations. Ever try social distancing 3 year olds?

  4. Closed Captioning

    From jessjess87:

    I do closed captioning. While I joke that yes, I get paid to watch TV, it’s actually very tedious. And if you don’t actually enjoy the programming you’re being forced to watch something you don’t care for. Or worse, if it’s something I do enjoy like a long form drama, we usually chop those up into 15 minute increments and split between everyone so I only see chunks and not always even in order it actually ruins the show for me.

  5. Florist

    Reddit user ZakkiraJuneAiko94 wrote:

    Working in a flower shop. It’s just like any other retail job, but people constantly tell you how fun your job must be. Also helping grieving families chose funeral flowers is not fun.

  6. Scientist

    Shared by JeremyTheRhino:

    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.

  7. Pediatric Nurse

    ZacktheWolf explains:

    A pediatric nurse, being a nurse for children and adolescents. Everyone in nursing school talks about how much they want to work with kids. The reality is that a pediatric nurse sees more cases of abuse and neglect than any other specialty. Doesn’t matter where you are in a pediatric hospital, it’s the thing you see most. I’ve seen so many DCS (Department of Child Services) caseworkers that I’ve gotten to know some of them and became acquaintances with them. Sure working with children and adolescents is great, but people don’t think about the most essential piece of that puzzle which is their families. It doesn’t matter how good of care you give to those kids, if you don’t loop the parents in to that care you may as well just not be doing anything for them.

  8. Producer

    KazaamFan adds:

    TV/Film production. I think most people dream of being the actor, the director, the people making the creative decisions, or the big shot producer calling the shots, but most of the people working in tv and film production are part of a machine, the grind, working in a system, trying to climb up to wherever they want to be. Many don’t get to actualize their creative vision. Also the industry can be project based (job security concerns) and location limited (NY/LA, maybe other cities). Pay can be low starting out too, though it can be good if you work way up. But I did enjoy the type of people that work these jobs, a little more fun than the business folk I work with now.

  9. Baker

    From haireypotter:

    Baker. Coming into work at 3/4 am so you can have a six am baked goods is miserable.

  10. Animal Shelter

    Shared by highschoolvevo:

    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 shitting and pissing every fucking where and then you look over and this fucking 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 shitty fucking people who do dumb shit 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.

  11. Flight Attendant

    Reddit user y0r0bin shares:

    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.

  12. Character Performer at Disney

    From Reddit user TheMarvelPrincess:

    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.

  13. Archaeologist

    Shared by Reddit user xenedra0:

    Archaeologist. Did it during my twenties and that was more than enough. Long, hot days… living out of cheap motels on shit pay, and you typically find nothing more than some pieces of glass and broken pottery. Every once in a blue moon you find something cool, but those items generally end up getting stored away in a box full of other artifacts never to be seen again.