Is Your Dream Career Really Worth Pursuing?

Source: Yahoo

Dream career or nightmare?

Find out if these jobs will meet your expectations - or fall drastically short.

As children, we're primed to think about what we might want to be when we "grow up." For most, aspirations like astronaut or movie star are often given up along the way into adulthood for more practical, achievable options.
Then there are those who are still imagining the day they can make it big in their dream gig.
Perhaps you've held on to fantasies about certain careers, because they're flashy or highly respected. But how do you know if it's time to charge ahead or move on?
"A career is always worth it if you are honest with yourself and feel in your heart that it's right for you," says Danielle Mund, certified career and entrepreneur coach at "That said, all careers - even 'dream' careers - take a lot of hard work."
To help distinguish between fact and fiction of these so-called dream careers, we talked to career experts to get their take. Read on for five dream jobs - and how they stack up in reality.

Dream Career #1: Fashion Designer

Find Degree Programs Have you always dreamt about dressing the celebs you see strolling down the red carpet? Sure, it sounds glamorous and exciting. But what's this job really like?
Reality Check: Well, fashion isn't all about dreaming up pretty clothes and playing dress-up. There's a lot of hard work in fashion design that most people never see, says Tracy Brisson, founder of The Opportunities Project, a talent development, coaching, and recruitment consultancy agency.
"A career in fashion design may not be worth it if you are not eager to spend most of your time on business and marketing issues," Brisson says. "The best designers are people who are creative, but also spend a lot of energy branding themselves and building a profitable business," she adds.
Not to mention, employment of fashion designers is projected to decline three percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, so competition will be fierce.
Alternative Career: Graphic Designer. Not interested in the fashion rat race? Graphic design is a great alternative to fashion design, says Ben Yeargin, a corporate recruiter for Craig Technologies, a system design company. In fact, graphic designer positions are predicted to grow 7 percent from 2012 through 2022, according to the Department of Labor.
"Graphic design is a career where you can still express your artistic freedom," says Yeargin. "Graphic designers enjoy many different roles, including making a website or marketing material really stand out."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Graphic Design Program.
How to Prepare: You'll usually be required to have a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related field, says the Department. If you already have a bachelor's degree in a different area, you could pursue "technical training in graphic design" that could allow you to meet most hiring qualifications, according to the Department.

Dream Career #2: Chef

Find Degree Programs With celebrity chefs popping up all over the small screen recently, you may have imagined yourself in this dream job, too. But what are the ingredients that make up this career?
Reality Check: Like fashion design, this career is much more work than it seems on the surface, says Brisson. "Becoming a well-renowned chef requires years of training and requires you to develop an expertise in a specific cuisine to be marketable and earn what you deserve."
Along with all the training, there are some other drawbacks. Your work environment is always hot, you're working long hours, including weekends, and you rarely get to see the reaction of those that you're cooking for, Brisson adds.
"Shows like Top Chef make this career look incredible, but as Anthony Bourdain will tell you, it takes a certain type of person to love a career as a professional chef," says Brisson.
Alternative Career: Restaurant Manager. Not ready to give up your weekends to make someone else's dinner? Then, you may want to consider pursuing a career as a restaurant manager, also known as a food service manager.
Restaurant managers can work at different types of restaurants in many locales and earn a high salary as they build a reputation for being good at the business reputation, says Brisson. "They also have the opportunity to influence the guest experience in more ways than just through designing a meal," she explains.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Hospitality Management Program.
How to Prepare: While it's true that the U.S. Department of Labor says a bachelor's degree isn't required, some type of postsecondary education is increasingly preferred for many food service manager positions. Bachelor's degrees in restaurant and hospitality management or institutional food service management are offered in many colleges and universities.

Dream Career #3: Doctor

This is a classic dream career for children and often their parents, too. After all, the career seems to promise big paychecks and big responsibility. But what else does it prescribe?
Reality Check: Doctors are held in high regard in our society and for good reason, says Brisson. But that prestige comes with the high price of working long hours and giving up much of their personal lives to do their job well, she explains.
"Early on in your career as a doctor, you have to tackle the long commitment of a doctor's residency," she adds. "And even after that, you're always on call. It's impossible to walk away from the office or hospital and shut off completely."
Alternative Career: Registered Nurse. Does a career as a doctor sound a little daunting? Not to worry. Nursing is another way to get into the medical field that doesn't have to involve giving up all your free time.
"Registered nurses, especially those who specialize in specific areas such as high-risk labor and deliveries, are in-demand and compensated greatly for their expertise," Brisson notes. She adds that this is all without the harsh commitment of a doctor's schedule.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Registered Nursing Program.
How to Prepare: There are three common paths to pursuing a career as a registered nurse, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. You could earn a bachelor's of science degree in nursing, an associate's degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. You'll also be required to get your state license before you can work, says the Department of Labor.

Dream Career #4: Lawyer

Here's another typical dream career of kids and young adults alike that's often synonymous with high pay and prestige. But it takes hard work to make it to the top.
Reality Check: Getting a job as a lawyer in the United States is extremely competitive, with stories of new graduates defaulting on student loans due to lack of open positions, Brisson says.
The overall employment rate of lawyers has been on decline since 2008, according to the Association for Legal Career Professionals. For the class of 2012, it was 84.7 percent, which doesn't sound too dismal. But only 64.4 percent of those jobs required actually passing the bar, according to the Association.
Even if you do score a job, this career is a difficult one, warns Brisson. "Sometimes you're fighting on the side of someone or something you don't believe in, and just like doctors, the hours are sometimes unbearably long," she says.
Alternative Career: Paralegal. If you're not interested in a fancy law degree, paralegal is an alternative that still gets you into the legal field. Plus, it's a career that's projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than average, reports the U.S. Department of Labor. And the growth doesn't have to stop at getting hired.
"In addition to specializing in a specific part of the legal process, you'll grow more quickly within the firm in a role as a paralegal compared to lawyers who may wait decades to become partner," Brisson explains.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Program.
While the bulk of paralegals' work is research, you may still get to experience some of the thrill of the courtroom. "Because you're the one doing the heavy lifting in the office, it's often rewarding to see your hard work at work for the client when you join the lawyers in court," Brisson adds.
How to Prepare: Another perk - paralegals don't have to spend the same long years in an undergraduate program and then law school. According to the Department of Labor, most paralegals have an associate's degree in paralegal studies. Those with bachelor's degrees in other fields and a certificate in paralegal studies may also pursue this career.

Dream Career #5: Chief Executive Officer

Find Degree Programs OK, you got us. CEO isn't really a career, it's more of a title. "No CEO has exactly the same role as any other CEO," says Mund. The title signifies that you've developed the ability to run an organization, she says. So what exactly does a CEO do?
"CEOs do everything from fundraising and making shareholders happy to leading teams to being extremely detail-oriented," explains Mund. "Or they can be the exact opposite: dreamers who can carry the organization's larger visions forward."
Reality Check: This is the only career on our list that our experts agreed might be worth it down the stretch. One major reason is due to the high level of customization available with this career, says Brisson. You could be running a small company or a large international organization. Although it depends on whether or not you're willing to put in the work to make it to the top of your field, she says.
If you're still on board, here's some advice for reaching that CEO position: Take every opportunity to become a leader of a project or team in your current profession, says Brisson. Additionally, learn about the functions of other departments.
Also, "think about using your leadership skills on a bigger stage with more risk and responsibility," advises Brisson. "That will give you a sense of whether the CEO job is for you or whether it makes sense to stay a specialist in your field."
Next step: Click to Find the Right MBA Program.
How to Prepare: Although education requirements may vary by industry and positions, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree and a considerable amount of work experience to pursue a top executive role, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Many of these professionals have a bachelor's or master's degree in an area related to their field or in business administration.

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