Disappointing photos show what 9 supposedly-glamorous jobs look like in real life

Alexander Hassenstein / Getty ImagesSome of these glam-sounding jobs come with trade-offs.
  • Some jobs have a reputation for being particularly exciting, glitzy, or lucrative.
  • Occasionally, that’s partly because of inaccurate media depictions.
  • Other jobs do boast a number of major perks, but they also come with trade-offs.

Glamorous jobs might seem enticing, but, at the end of the day, work is work.

And sometimes, jobs that sound especially fancy or thrilling turn out to have a less-than-luxurious side. Many have hidden tradeoffs, at the very least.

Here’s a look at the reality of certain glam-sounding jobs:

What’s more glamorous than getting paid to travel? That’s the job description of a flight attendant in a nutshell, which comes complete with perks like flying standby for free or discounted prices and getting to explore exotic locales during layovers.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider, Travel and Leisure

But the job isn’t a constant glitzy adventure, even if you’re working in first class. The job can be frustrating, as many passengers dismiss flight attendants as “waiters and waitresses on a plane,” according to longtime Delta flight attendant Danny Elkins. The reality is flight attendants are trained to ensure everyone’s safety aboard the aircraft.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider, Travel and Leisure, Business Insider

And, while frequent travel is a great perk, many flight attendants don’t necessarily get to see the world on a regular basis. “Most layovers are short, and you barely have time for food and a good night’s sleep,” a flight attendant previously told Business Insider’s Rachel Gillett.

Source: Business Insider

Another flight attendant added, “We spend most layovers in bed with wine and Netflix.”


Source: Business Insider

Modelling is probably one of the most luxe-sounding jobs out there. The perception is that models simply have to look gorgeous and striking, as well as show off fancy clothes and luxury products. That idea is also fuelled by public interest in the glamorous lifestyles that well-known, financially-successful super models lead.

Eduardo Parra / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

But many models struggle to make ends meet. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, models made an average annual salary of $US22,900 in 2017. “I never made good money as a model,” former model Kelly Mittendorf told The New York Times. “I went into debt with every single one of my agencies at one point or another.”

Eduardo Parra / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: The New York Times, Business Insider, Bureau of Labour Statistics

Despite the fact that many brands have pushed to become more inclusive toward people of colour, plus-sized models, and disabled models, many models must contend with a distinct lack of diversity in some parts of the industry.

John Phillips / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

And the intense pressure to look a certain way can have an adverse effect on the models themselves. “The girls at castings that were getting selected were all very, very skinny,” model Renee Peters told Business Insider. “And so I put a lot of pressure on myself to be that girl because I wanted to succeed. And I developed anorexia and bulimia.”


Source: The New York Times, New Republic

As America’s foreign intelligence service, the Central Intelligence Agency is renowned for its influential, controversial, and secretive work. The public’s fascination with the cloak-and-dagger world of spies has made the organisation’s activities and agents a popular subject in various media.

Source: Business Insider

And it is true that espionage can be dangerous. There are 129 stars carved into the agency’s memorial wall, each reflecting a CIA employee who lost their life in the line of duty.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Source: CIA

But, according to former CIA employees, the job isn’t usually non-stop danger. Former CIA employee Brian Goral previously told Business Insider that most fictional depictions of the CIA rely on “completely ridiculous elements.”

Pool / Getty Images

“It’s long hours of cubicle living, going through the same files everyone else in the office has gone through, hoping to catch a missed lead,” former CIA officer Robert Baer wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.


Source: The Washington Post

Designing clothes for a living is quite literally a fashionable job. Dreaming up designs for garments and accessories is creative work, and people tend to admire those with an unforgettable sense of style.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Source: Technical-Designer

But the job can also be stressful and exhausting. Designer Kellie Sands told The Daily Telegraph that she frequently worked late nights, staying up as late as 2 a.m. to sketch out new ideas.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

“The fashion industry is not glamorous,” a fashion designer wrote in a blog post for The Business of Fashion. “I know everyone would love to believe that we work in fabulous buildings with fabulous interiors and dress up every day like we’re ready to walk the runway. Unfortunately, that’s usually not the case.”

Zak Kaczmarek / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: The Daily Telegraph, Key Coaching, The Business of Fashion

Thanks to the American public’s craving for police procedurals, The Federal Bureau of Investigation maintains a ubiquitous presence in fictional stories about crime. And many of those portrayals are quite off the mark.

Getty Images / Handout

Source: Business Insider

If real life was anything like TV or the movies, FBI agents would be shooting it out with organised crime and battling against serial killers on a regular basis. But, according to the former FBI agents Business Insider previously spoke to, the job’s not always action-packed.

Source: Business Insider

“People have no idea the incredible amount of paperwork the FBI has to do to get anything done,” retired FBI agent Joe Navarro previously told Business Insider. “It’s a mind-boggling amount of paperwork.”

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Just look at former FBI director James Comey’s penchant for note-taking, which came in handy during his 2017 appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The ousted director’s habit was not an aberration, but a part of the bureau’s “practice of keeping careful, contemporaneous notes.”

Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider, The New York Times

Who wouldn’t want to work on a luxury yacht? You get paid to travel around the world and live rent-free on an opulent seafaring vessel. And just think of the parties.


Source: News.com.au, The Guardian

But life on the high seas isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Former yacht employee Lizzie Irving told The Guardian that luxury yacht crew members “earn every cent. I found it unbelievably tough.”

Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: News.com.au, The Guardian

Snagging any time off at all can be rough, and conditions for crew members tend to be quite cramped.

Source: News.com.au, The Guardian

And, what’s more, yacht employees are pretty much at the beck and call of the yacht’s owner or the vessel’s charter company. One former yacht crew member told the Guardian about having to clean the ship’s toilets with “toothbrushes and cotton buds.”


Source: News.com.au, The Guardian

Archaeology is a crucial and fascinating field of study, and archaeologists help us understand and contextualize the past. That being said, it’s often butchered in works of fiction. So let’s be clear: archaeologists aren’t typically globe-trotting, whip-snapping adventurers who fight baddies and find treasure.

Source: Business Insider

Most archaeologists aren’t even focused on finding shiny, expensive ancient valuables. “Most artifacts are like broken glass or broken pieces of dishes, but when you put it all together, you can get at a story that has meaning,” Chelsea Rose, an archaeologist and Southern Oregon University faculty member, previously told Business Insider.

Source: Business Insider

Plus, many archaeologists don’t exclusively go on digs. They often have faculty positions at institutions of higher learning — although not all archaeologists are necessarily academics.

Source: Business Insider

Personal chefs get paid to concoct sumptuous meals for high-end clients. The gig sounds like a dream come true for anyone with a culinary bent.

Lucianna Faraone Coccia / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Cosmopolitan

Things can get a bit messy in the kitchen, though. Marc Jacobs’ personal chef Lauren Gerrie told Cosmopolitan that, “It’s not all food Instagrams, all the time. This job is not glamorous.”

Rich Fury / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Cosmopolitan

She described “labour-intensive” and “stressful” work that can feature kitchen fires, tough schedules, and major clean-ups.

Source: Cosmopolitan

Personal assistants also hold down a gig that might sound like it comes with a slew of perks, given that many of them work for the rich and famous.

Source: CNBC

But, in reality, personal assistants are usually tasked with all sorts of bizarre and stressful assignments. One assistant told CNBC about a time when they had to “keep a special healing mushroom alive by soaking it in goat’s milk as it grew to new and alarming sizes, and later reserving that mushroomy goat milk for her boss to drink (she never did drink it).”

Source: CNBC

Another personal assistant told Refinery29 about a time when they had to purchase an $US16,000 necklace for their boss at Barneys. “I certainly can’t afford that, so I had to ask for her card. She ended up giving it to me, like she usually does, but it’s always uncomfortable to ask.”

Michael Bowles / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Refinery29

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