Most reviews of careers have a positive bias. That’s largely because most of the reviewers are in those careers. Those unhappy with it have left before being asked to describe it in an interview. Also, cognitive dissonance causes a positive bias: People have devoted years to the career, so it’s hard to acknowledge that it has been a poor investment of time and money.
To provide a bit of counterbalance, in my PsychologyToday.com article today, I offer downsides of nine popular careers. I am not subject to the aforementioned biases because I’m only in one of the nine careers nor do I represent an association of people in that profession. My claim to offer valid downsides is that I’ve been career counselor to 5,000 professionals in a confidential setting and thus have a large sample of people who have discussed a career’s downsides. In addition, my long-standing interest in careers has yielded many candid career discussions with colleagues and friends. I’ve also read many articles on careers that go beyond the puff pieces, both to inform my career counseling practice and in creating U.S. News’ Best Careers package. And of course, I’ve limited myself to commenting only to popular careers on which I have a sufficient fund of information.