What Profession Lives Up to its Hype?

ThatOtherGuy's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,418

So we all know that expectations usually don't meet reality:

  1. Banking -> PE isn't the multi-million dollar promised land
  2. Academia to professorship is a nightmare process with slim chances of tenure
  3. Becoming a doctor won't get you a job 'till 30 and residency can actually be worse than banking + debt
  4. Lawyer life is just as much of a grind if not worse than banking
  5. Hedge fund isn't land of riches unless you're the 5% beating your benchmark or have a large AUM
  6. Lots of my friends in non-profits feel like their efforts are futile because special interests override their impact

All this said, those who like their jobs, or are good at it don't mind the struggles but the reality is that this is at best the top quartile. Most of us aren't outliers.

If you are middle-of-the-pack in your profession (or even top 50%), what profession would actually live up to its expected trade-offs?

My vote is programming/coding. Personally not my cup of tea but it seems like the job that best meets surface level expectations of the role regardless if you're top 10% or not. Even if you are (likely) not at FB or Google, you are likely able to find a job that pays $120k+ a year and work very reasonable hours (if not 40/week).

This is just meant to generate discussion as we know most expectations of dream jobs aren't met but I'm inclined to believe there are some that do :P (also meant to help out the risk-adverse homies on this forum)

Comments (86)

Nov 15, 2018

Data Science (and for that mater, ML and AI) jobs are pretty sweet if you're the type that enjoys playing around with numbers and discovering stuff. One of my favorite consulting gigs was to gather data (weather, energy prices, on-board sensors, etc.) and build pricing models for ships and their fuel usage. Basically trying to predict when and where the ships should re-fuel. And then build dashboards, automatic reports, etc. to the clients.

The pay was very, very good. You had a lot of freedom, and compared to other consulting gigs, there weren't a lot of dead-weight stuff associated to it. And since you get to work close with actual real-world data - often propitiatory - you also see the inner workings of the machinery that is vial to their business models.

I hate the term "data nerd", but if you're a typical data nerd that loves to build models or just fuck around with excel, then Data Science could be a very nice career.

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Nov 20, 2018

Very much agreed with this - I'm coming up on my 3rd year within Data Science for an F100 consumer brand and am still enamored with my work/surrounded by people who are extremely sharp and all engaged/work horses.

The integration of tech into all components of large businesses over the last ~5-10 years is resulting in basically a convergence of DS/Advanced Analytics and Strategy/Planning teams within a lot of bigger corporates, which has resulted in the type of people that companies need performing analytics changing. It's just as much about your ability to put together pages of waht you're doing as it is the ability to shred through data via scripting & querying languages - a lot of ex-bankers on the Strat/Planning side & ex-MBB consultants/core-quants who train/skill them up on the analytics side.

Comp obviously isn't what it would be in IB or even MBB consulting but is still very solid and if you like it, your work feels like living in a tech toy shop and you just get to play in it all day to solve difficult problems in cool ways.

Nov 26, 2018

Any recommendations for a current banker looking to transition into Data Science? Just learn how to code?

Nov 15, 2018

Entrepreneurship

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Most Helpful
Nov 15, 2018

I think it's the exact opposite. People romanticize entrepreneurship. They don't realize how difficult it is to build a business from scratch. I'm reading Shoe Dog right now. It's amazing the challenges Phil Knight and Nike faced even decades into their existence. 10+ years in and these guys are still selling shoes out of the back of their cars at track meets.

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Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Nov 15, 2018

That really is a fantastic book! They were growing so quickly they had cash problems!

Nov 16, 2018

Entrepreneurship is brutal. It looks great for the few people that make it, but in the beginning its one of the worst jobs you could have. Endless stress, most founders don't pay themselves for years, and most businesses don't end up making it.

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Nov 17, 2018

The question is what job lives up to its hype. If you actually look at what people talk about with entreprenuership besides the billion dollar exits is how fucking hard it is and how fulfilling success is. If the hype is centered around difficulty then it absolutely lives up to that. If you look at the responses to my comment it is clear that the hype is how difficult it is. Remember that hype isn't just upside, it's about what people are talking about.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Nov 16, 2018

Agreed, entrepreneurship is absolutely brutal. It can be fulfilling in its own way, but don't go into it thinking about selling your company for a billion dollars. Massive selection bias if you view entrepreneurship only through the media lens. Find a niche in the market and figure out how to provide value to people. Whether its overrated or not comes down to what you want to get out of life and your ability to deal with uncertainty.

Nov 21, 2018

"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week."

Not sure where its provenance, but true nonetheless.

Nov 16, 2018
heister:

Entrepreneurship

I am 7 years into starting a healthcare tech company. It is magnitudes of order harder than IB with zero guarantee of a successful outcome while getting paid a fraction of what I made in IB. I am making what I made as a second year analyst at a BB at 40 years old. On paper my equity is worth a lot and rising as we are doing well, but we could still fail and then I will have burnt a bunch of my prime earning years for nothing.

Nov 20, 2018

Amen. Been in the game since the summer I graduated from high school and I've done everything from sex toys, arms transport (for the US gov) to conservative woman's clothing and you perpetually feel like you're going to get wiped out no matter how well you do which is why I like to live relatively frugally compared to my income... You never know when a company will need an emergency cash injection or an opportunity requiring cash will come up. IE we just locked an awesome deal in on a co. with ~$1.5M EBITDA (only 3.3x for it!!!) so I suddenly have to write a cheque for a chunk of the equity. If living la vida loca like most of my friends, I wouldn't be able to leverage that opportunity.

It gets worse the "better" your companies do too fwiw. It just means you're suddenly responsible for the well-being of your employees and if you fuck up they lose their jobs. Throw investors in the mix and things get even more interesting... I love it though, can't really see myself doing anything else to be honest. The rush you get when something finally fucking works is unbeatable and I've had the opportunity to work with so many amazing people I would never thought would care to talk to me even just 2 - 3 years ago.

Nov 20, 2018

Entrepreneurship is full of survivorship bias. You don't hear a bout the thousands or millions whose business went down the drain.

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Nov 21, 2018
patiencepays:

Entrepreneurship is full of survivorship bias. You don't hear a bout the thousands or millions whose business went down the drain.

Yeah exactly.

Even hearing 1 person talk about their 10 failures while they are parking and walking away from their lambo ... just doesn't resonate.

When at some point they might have been broke on the street with those sad puppy dog eyes with Sarah McLachlin singing ... they were in that ditch at some point in their career, but got up and then failed again and again ...

until finally getting above water again and getting oxygen again and being in the right place at the right time to get the momentum for what many people around them think was an easy, surefree success, when it wasn't. But, life isn't about talking about the failures too much, its about the future.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Nov 15, 2018

I don't imagine any job really lives up to its hype. The best you can hope for in most of these careers is that you are compensated appropriately for the amount of time you have sunk into it.

Being self-employed offers great satisfaction assuming things are going well, but you have to deal with a different set of issues that can be insanely stressful compared to being an employee.

I agree with you on the computer engineering front. My best friend is very pleased with his job working for a large start-up. End game there is to make CTO or work entirely from home on around 250k and coast.

Nov 15, 2018

Dog walker--Plenty of poop and furry friends if that's you thing.

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Dec 2, 2018

At least it's honest and right up-front that you're going to be shoveling sh*t.
Most jobs are, this one's got it in the title.

Nov 15, 2018

futures prop trader absolutely lives up to the hype...if you are in the top 50%

just google it...you're welcome

Funniest
Nov 15, 2018

None of them really. At the end of the day it's work and you hope to make enough to one day not need to work.

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

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Nov 15, 2018

I actually think Venture Capital (mainly the firms that make the largest impacts and raise the biggest funds) really does live up to the hype. Especially Healthcare VC.

I'd also say professional athlete is pretty solid.

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Nov 22, 2018

Depends on the athlete... I'd argue most nonqb's in the nfl will say it doesn't live up to the hype once they flame out in 3 years

Nov 26, 2018
ElliotWaveSurfer:

Depends on the athlete... I'd argue most nonqb's in the nfl will saynit doesn't live up to the hype once they flame out in 3 years

And off themselves in another 20 after that due to CTE

Dec 2, 2018
Nightman Cometh:

I actually think Venture Capital (mainly the firms that make the largest impacts and raise the biggest funds) really does live up to the hype. Especially Healthcare VC.

I'd also say professional athlete is pretty solid.

By chance, is VC what you do?

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Dec 3, 2018

Unfortunately it isn't, but I do get to see the work they do fairly closely and am blown away by how ridiculously intelligent they are. Truly the smartest people in the room.

One day tho, VC would be the dream. Probably not gonna happen for me tbh.

Nov 15, 2018

Being unemployed.

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Dec 2, 2018
SponsorPromote:

Being unemployed.

Awesome job!
Pay... less so.

Nov 15, 2018

Financial Advising. Doesn't live up to the hype, but actually exceeds it. It is true getting started can be rough, but once you have the foundation it can be quite enjoyable.

Cultivating mass and wealth since '95

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Nov 15, 2018

Do you speak from personal experience? I'm trying to start down that path myself.

Nov 15, 2018

I've been in the industry for a little over four years. 3.5 of them interning for a MD at a wirehouse. Once I graduated I moved to a boutique FT that I believe will provide me with more opportunity. Definitely still have much to learn, but I believe it would be fair to say I have at the least a decent understanding of the industry.

Cultivating mass and wealth since '95

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Nov 15, 2018

Really though

Cultivating mass and wealth since '95

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Nov 15, 2018

deleted

Nov 15, 2018

I feel that a point no job lives up to the perceived hype. Mainly because the perceived hype is just the glamorous parts of the job, not the ins and outs of doing that job everyday.

For example, look at Le'Veon Bell. Theres probably ~100 people in the country who won't play football for one year for $14.5mn, but he just couldn't find a way to do it.

  • ij29824DE
  •  Nov 15, 2018

.....

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Nov 16, 2018

Astronaut.

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Nov 17, 2018

Nah, astronauts get the spotlight, but they actually don't get paid very well, or like what you might expect..

Nov 16, 2018

socialite?

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Nov 16, 2018

NEET LIVING

(not in employment, education or training)

Nov 17, 2018

You'd get bored after a year of binge-watching Netflix and basement dwelling.

Nov 17, 2018
cdnbig5:

You'd get bored after a year of binge-watching Netflix and basement dwelling.

most likely tbh

Nov 18, 2018

Only worthwhile jobs are tech and hard science related.

All these business and finance jobs will be automated in 50 years anyways so you better start learning to code.

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Nov 20, 2018

I thought the theory behind AI is that the computer has learned to write its own source code.... soooooo.....

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Nov 20, 2018
REPESailor2020:

I thought the theory behind AI is that the computer has learned to write its own source code.... soooooo.....

In theory AI will surpass humans in everything except relationship building. Businesses that NEED relationships to function are safe. Until AI teaches itself how to do that.. then I have no idea what would happen.

Nov 20, 2018

I'd argue that the problem with most of the above listed fields is the hype itself and not the job. For example, in my opinion private equity does not live up to the hype if you're expecting to make 500k a year at 24, attend society events every weekend, and fly around on private planes with 500 CEOs. However, you can certainly expect to clear 200k a year (assuming we're in the US) and have a very comfortable lifestyle (if you're okay with working until 8-9pm every night). Moreover the possibility of making partner or founding your own fund still exists which can surely satisfy the 'multi-millions' part of your question.

People fail to realize that entrepreneurship is the only way to make money and finance allows you to do so within an existing institution, that's the main benefit, in this context, in my opinion.

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Nov 20, 2018

Is hype is financial, then I agree with what has been said above but some jobs have non-financial hype to them and can be as interesting as they seem on paper e.g. surgeon, A&E doctor and airline pilot (with all the added benefits of international travel and being paid to stay in amazing places - met a KLM crew aged 24-28 in Panama who were staying for a week all expenses paid).

Nov 21, 2018
ThatOtherGuy:

What Profession Lives Up To Its Hype?

  • Accountant
  • Trash Collector
  • Secretary
  • Professional Cigarette Boat Racer
  • NFL Quarterback
  • Professional Canadian Curler
  • European Soccer star

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Nov 22, 2018

ecommerce mogul. Ohhh yeaaaa

Nov 23, 2018

I'd say being a a special operations forces operator. These are the most balls to the walls guys who fight for nothing but their brother right next to them and love what they do. Sure they can be killed in action but these are guys who live life beyond your average person. Death doesn't scare them as much as it should. I'm talking about Navy SEALs/Green Berets/PJs/Raiders type shit.

Nov 23, 2018

One of my investors was an ex-something secret in the military. He had to leave after he was in a helicopter crash and hurt his back but the guy is a total badass. After fucking his back up (severely), he ended up becoming CFO of a fairly large construction company that does gov deals exclusively. Subsequently he started his own quant fund. Pretty wild, but the guy managed to do it with seriously FUBAR levels of chronic pain. He just keeps going and for fun I text him at random times to see if he's asleep but he always replies within 20 minutes...pretty sure he is a cyborg.

Nov 23, 2018

Lmao dude for fucking sure he's wild. Those guys are just savage af and are probably bored af in the finance world. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes out into the wild alone just to camp and hunt by himself while simultaneously responding to emails.

Nov 30, 2018

I actually don't think this career lives up to the hype. Special forces guys are deployed alot which creates stress on personal relationships. And there is still bureaucracy to deal with even if you are in a door kicking role.

Nov 30, 2018

Yeah but again these are guys who don't care for any of that stuff. They're in their own little world of war, politics, espionage, primal nature, and life & death. I highly recommend reading warrior soul written by Chuck Pfarrer, he was a seal in the 80s and fought the communist forces and narcos in LATAM and was in Lebanon. His story is wild and you come to see why he doesn't care for all the shit we would normally care about.

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Nov 23, 2018

I work as an associate in investment banking. At least at my firm VP and above you are a millionaire and often are not working more than 40 hours a week. This is not in NY. Pretty nice life. Even at analyst and associate you are normally working no more than 40hrs a week and make six figures. This may not be the case for everyone just from reading this forum.

Nov 23, 2018

Lmfao what bank & are you hiring...

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Nov 23, 2018

I'm only in undergrad rn, but seriously y'all hiring?

Nov 24, 2018

What city is this in?

Nov 23, 2018

Data science.
I'm biased (because I jumped ships) but still:

  1. It's a huge and underdeveloped field where you can make a lot of difference and be compensated accordingly
  2. It can be as technical as you want. While I was in IB and did distressed investment later, I never used anything more complex than Excel and a Bloomberg terminal. There were no advanced concepts involved; just insane amounts of repetitive work. In data science, you are able to work hard, think about complicated issues without burning out
  3. It's more diverse in general. You get to deal with PhDs who can be not very sociable (not every myth is purely a myth) and with product/finance/marketing people that are usually approachable, nice and not Murray Hill type of bros.
Nov 24, 2018

Nothing ever lives up to the hype, that's why I have a knee jerk anti-hype response. I hate when people hype stuff. By definition a job is work done to receive money, so I'm not even sure why liking one's job is even necessary considering the vast majority of people don't like their job, but they have bills to pay.

Nov 25, 2018

Totally depends on the person. Nonsensical question.

Nov 25, 2018

Porn. Just seems like it would be awful to be one of the casting couch guys

Nov 26, 2018

Professional Athlete

Nov 28, 2018

lion whisperer

Nov 28, 2018

MBB while staffed on assignments that one's actually interested in - right at the threshold of "living up to the hype".

Nov 28, 2018

Most code monkeys (the overwhelming majority of programmers) maintain legacy code...this guys was a code monkey - the growing bureaucracy is what makes even the most enjoyable jobs unbearable.

Nov 29, 2018

Yep especially tech at banks -- SO much legacy code and inefficiency from what I've seen dealing with them and seeing the "talent" they hired from my college

Nov 28, 2018

Equity Hedge Fund gets my vote. I wasn't making an insane amount of money as is fantasized here per se but everything else was pretty sweet and the culture was the absolute best. It was a billionaire-backed family office fund who had a stomach for high risk so that made it fun. I came in as an analyst, but, as a small entrepreneurial team, I got to run my own trades/ideas and come up with ways to find information. It was exciting to uncover and get access to a lot of information and see things unfold at the forefront, regardless of whether or not you have a trade in play. For those who ask if it's like the tv shows and movies, I can say yes to a certain degree. So I guess that is somewhat of a validating point to whether or not it lives up to the hype on that front. It definitely is cool to be able to extract/manipulate data to find insight on companies and take the right position before the street is aware.

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Nov 29, 2018
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