These days, many of us are reinventing ourselves, learning new skill sets to become more versatile (read: more valuable) or changing careers and taking on entirely new responsibilities. If you’re considering a career change, you’re probably aware of what may be in store for you: additional education or training and a possible cut in pay, among other possibilities. Before investing a great deal of time and effort into switching gears professionally, do some digging to make sure that your dream job doesn’t turn out to be a nightmare.
A leading job search site interviewed three professionals holding jobs that sounded fantastic until reality set in.
The aspiring restaurant critic who fantasizes about dining at the finest restaurants, sampling extravagant dishes, and penning the review from the comfort of his couch could be in for a rude awakening. Charyn Pfeuffer, the food, wine and travel editor for Valley Lifestyles magazine, shared that not only is the pay less than desirable, but dieting is a near impossibility. When your job description involves regularly eating multiple course meals, you’d better make room for copious amounts of gym time. Pfeuffer also mentioned the pressure she feels in judging others’ talent and creativity. She said, “It’s a tremendous amount of responsibility to play a role in how the public perceives someone else’s livelihood.”
Likewise, the job of a vineyard and winery owner – which may bring to mind images of lush hillsides, lazy mornings surveying your crop, and unending carafes of wine – isn’t actually a walk in the park. It’s farming, a job that affords no vacation days and about as much certainty. When you deal in fruit, you’re subject to the whims of Mother Nature. Frosts, hail storms, fire, pests – all can decimate your yield in no time. Jeff Pipes, the owner of California-based Pipestone Vineyards and Winery, cautions against jumping into this line of work without knowledge of surveying, soils, chemistry and biology, as well as at least multiple years of savings on hand. It can take that long for the venture to become profitable.
Former senior fashion merchandiser at Abercrombie & Fitch, Carolyn Williams, offered insight into a role that many might consider terribly glamorous: “People have the misconception that fashion merchandisers just play with clothes all day long, when in reality you are running a multimillion-dollar business.” While the aim is to set hot new trends and hob nobbing with models and designers, a fashion merchandiser’s day-to-day is more likely to involve poring over spreadsheets, crunching numbers, evaluating manufacturing costs, supervising production and setting retail prices. And it’s your neck on the line if the product you’ve developed bombs.
The moral of the story isn’t to lower your expectations career-wise, but to approach new opportunities with your eyes wide open. As appealing as a specific job may seem, there may also be reason to take pause.Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.