Career Development

Is an Obsession with “Sexy Jobs” Holding You Back?

→ Has the allure of sexy jobs distracted from more practical considerations that could advance a rewarding, fulfilling, and lucrative career?

Americans have long believed that there is dignity in work. We have also believed that its purpose has been to add value to society and impact real people in positive ways. Through this contribution, we individually make the world a better collectively. This tradition and ideology has in no small part made the United States an economic superpower. 

Now that barriers to entry are more equitably distributed, exposing oneself to the world has never been easier. Success through status, prestige, and popularity may feel as if it is within reach. And why not? With the advent of technological innovation and social media, the ability for an average person to reach massive audiences has never been more possible. 

For many, a yearning for extrinsic notoriety and a ‘sexy job title’ may take precedence over the desire to contribute to society, or even to earn an above average income. Oftentimes, money is not even a primary motivator to the seekers of sexy jobs. They would rather ‘live out their dreams’ than ‘waste their life.’ After all, they only have one life to live and they would hate to ‘waste it.’ 

Even people with reasonably prestigious, well-paying, corporate jobs with great benefits may complain or indicate that this is not what they ‘picture themselves doing.’ In their mind, they were meant to do something more meaningful.

What is a ‘Sexy Job?’

Sexy jobs are not necessarily jobs that increase someone’s sex appeal, although they may do that. These are primarily jobs with an allure so tempting that people may experience an constant dreams of acquiring one. 

Here are a few job types that most people could only dream of holding. Included is the average salary according to the article. These are examples of jobs that hold enough ‘sex appeal’ to capture the devoted attention of a dreamy-eyed career explorer. 

  1. Video Game Designer – $21,528 per year
  2. Actor – $22,069 per year
  3. Musician – $22,872 per year
  4. Illustrator – $27,607 per year
  5. Athlete – $28,912 per year
  6. Wardrobe Stylist – $31,907 per year
  7. Event Planner – $35,838 per year
  8. Author – $36,421 per year
  9. Artist – $36,462 per year
  10. Fashion Designer – $37,294 per year
  11. Personal Trainer – $45,240 per year
  12. Personal Shopper – $49,911 per year
  13. Model – $49,941 per year
  14. Interior Designer – $61,826 per year
  15. Entrepreneur – $66,922 per year

Additional job titles that come to mind but are not included on the above list are college professor, screenwriter, publishing editor, copywriter, thought leader, and licensed mental health counselor. 

Why Sexy Jobs

Some people are dreamers and some are achievers but evidence shows that people tend to believe that their lives will be better in the future. According to a survey by the financial information resource, GoBankingRates, 29% of the Americans who were surveyed expect to be millionaires. As you may suspect, this percentage is nowhere near the number who actually become millionaires.

Optimism like this is crucial to having a positive mental attitude and it is better than being pessimistic. However, it indicates a disconnect between expectations and reality. According to information from Spectrem Group’s Market Insights Report, 11.8 million, or 3.5% of American households have net worths in excess of a million dollars

With 29% of Americans expecting to be millionaires and only 3.5% actually getting there, optimism clearly overrules reality. What does this disconnect tell us about the path toward sexy jobs? Well, we may believe a sexy job allows us to feel fulfillment and live happily ever after but these dreams can often paint a cloudy picture around more practical considerations.

Dreams are fine. In many respects, they can add spice to our life that helps us come alive. The trouble is when we judge ourselves through the lens of our dreams. We forget that acquiring any of the above sexy jobs tends to require a certain progression, and it takes more than a degree, credential, a whim, or a prayer to get there.

When we fixate on a sexy job, we may lose sight of the trees and only see the mountain ahead. This can be demoralizing and mentally draining. Especially when climbing the mountain comes with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and 4, to 8, to 10 extra years of schooling.

The simple reality is that most of us would be far better off making a habit of deep diving into our practical reality and living our dreams as a hobby, or better yet, as a side business.

Practical Considerations

The “insight” you may feel you have into yourself that you like to “help people,” is not enough to attempt a career change into human resources or to become a licensed mental health counselor. It is short-sighted logic. All jobs help people in some capacity, unless you are a scam artist or a career criminal.

Here are some questions worth asking that help us uncover what truly matters to us, beyond our dreams. These questions provide the basis for depth of understanding. It could save you years of your life, thousands of dollars, and lots of stress.

What are you better at than other people?

What do you enjoy doing? Why?

Where do you want to live? Who would hire you there?

How many hours do you want to work?

How much money do you want to make?

How important to you is it that you make this much?

How many hours are you willing to work to acquire this much?

How much stress are you willing to sacrifice for this money?

How can you build upon an existing career skill-sets to increase the amount of autonomy and satisfaction on your career path?

The last question is especially useful because it deals with the concept of leverage. Beyond a sexy job title, what could make our working lives more enjoyable? If we fail to ask questions like this, we may waste valuable time and resources chasing a dream.

Even worse, we may find that we don’t even like our dream job if fortunate enough to get there. This can happen if we spend too much of our time dreaming and too little thinking practically. Making dreamy perfection the enemy of a good career and well-lived life is not advised.

In Demand Jobs

According to CNBC, the below jobs are the most in-demand as of the Summer of 2020. You will notice that only a few of these would be on anyone’s dream list.

  1. Home Health Aide – $11.98 per hour 
  2. Nursing Assistant – $28,454 per year 
  3. Construction Worker – $31,616 per year 
  4. Physical Therapy Aide – $33, 238 per year 
  5. Medical Technologist – $56,368 per year 
  6. Truck Driver – $57,616 per year 
  7. Operations Research Analyst – $61,457 per year 
  8. Financial Advisor – $61,083 per year 
  9. Health Services Administrator – $70,147 per year 
  10. Registered Nurse – $70,366 per year 
  11. Web Developer – $72,672 per year 
  12. Physical Therapist – $74,672 per year 
  13. Information Security Analyst – $81,555 per year 
  14. Statistician – $83,291 per year 
  15. Software Developer – $105,090 per year 

In day to day life, career movement is rarely something that can be planned out and executed in any way that resembles the original plan. We can and should choose what we want to do, but we must choose wisely.

Be What You Can Be

If we cannot design nor commit to a plan that forges a path toward developing new skill sets that build upon our existing skill sets, we should re-frame this in our minds by asking some of the above questions. Dream jobs are nice but the path towards one is far from a dream if it comes at the expense of your career progression.

There is nothing wrong with taking what we can get. It is not selling out. Athletes understand this as they develop. They learn that they cannot make something out of nothing. Instead they must read the defense, identify the weak spot, and improvise a plan of attack. Our lives work similarly.

There is nothing wrong with taking what we can get. It is not selling out. Athletes understand this as they develop. They learn that they cannot make something out of nothing. Instead they must read the defense, identify the weak spot, and improvise a plan of attack. Our lives work similarly.

Career development is not like world travel where we can toss a dart at a map and go wherever we want. Consider that the most dreamy, or sexy, jobs tend to have the most competition. Going where there is less competition because you possess a unique, attractive blend of skills and experience can be extremely beneficial.

When chasing sexy jobs becomes the priority, there is the most competition and if you go in unprepared and unskilled, you are likely to get roasted. In a competitive landscape, you better stand out. Like any great athlete, it is far wiser take what the opponent gives you. In other words, take the best opportunity that you can find or create to leverage your skills.

If you don’t stand out in pursuit of your dream job, you better either find a way to separate yourself from the competition. If you aren’t there yet that is okay. Better you realize it now because you can get practical and leverage existing strengths on your way up the career ladder.

Always think about ‘being what you can be’ as much as you think about ‘being what you want to be.’

Use Leverage and Build Momentum Instead

A change in attitude toward our work is usually the most healthy approach, but few thought leaders and influencers ever write about this. Instead, they perpetuate the myth that you must live out your passion, in order to be happy. 

Many will even say that if you do not find the crossroad between passion and skill, your working life will be obscure and mediocre. However, just like with most things, if we believe something, it is typically so. Be careful what advice gets past your filters.

If you start on one path and you have developed skill, you must recognize that staying on that path has its benefits, namely skill development and leverage. With leverage comes momentum. Soon, more money and a better, more autonomous job will follow.

It may not be perfect but if you live in an industrialized nation with a reasonably prosperous economy, your experience will be far better than what most people on planet earth. That is, of course, as long as you avoid being blinded by dream-inducing, sexy jobs.

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7 thoughts on “Is an Obsession with “Sexy Jobs” Holding You Back?”

  1. I think you have hit upon a mega truth in this blog. If people take the time to search their deep thoughts on this subject they will see that you have hit a home run. Thanks for digging not this important chunk of most of our lives.Bravo Ryan.


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