We’ve got to hand it to the television and film industries, because they’ve done a wonderful job of glamorizing professions that are otherwise dull and often lacking when it comes to the beauty of its practitioners. Teenagers who wants to be doctors or lawyers when they grow up have seen those professional roles played out a million times on TV, and they look so, so cool.
We hate to break it to you, but these shows and movies often leave out the most difficult and trying parts of elite careers. Going to law school isn’t as “fun” as Elle Woods makes it look in Legally Blonde. Supply-room sexual romps à la Grey’s Anatomy aren’t part and parcel of a career as a doctor. There’s a reason why they don’t show you all of the time spent researching and writing motions that goes into trying a case on Law & Order.
If you still think these are dream jobs, then you haven’t been paying attention to anything that’s been going on in the world, especially if you want to be a lawyer…
U.S. News & World Report recently released a ranking of 5 Dream Jobs That Aren’t So Dreamy. The article begins with this preface that’s nothing short of a punch in the face for would-be lawyers (emphasis added):
On the big screen, some professions capture the imagination through their portrayals of fame and fortune. But perception doesn’t always match reality. Years of difficult training, finding steady work and racking up exorbitant amounts of student debt are some of the drawbacks associated with jobs in the fields of entertainment, law and medicine.
According to the ranking, “lawyer” comes in at No. 4. It’s apparently much worse to be a musician, a professional athlete, or an actor, because not everyone can be famous and make a lot of money. On the other hand, ANYONE can be a lawyer these days, and we’ve got a glutted job market to show for it.
As far as this ranking is concerned, being a lawyer is a nightmarish proposition because of all of the schooling and debt involved. U.S. News kindly reminds us that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the market for lawyers is not expected to boom over the next decade,” and that while the average salary for lawyers is $130,880, the average debt is $108,293. For entry-level lawyers, the median salary is $61,245. Go ahead, try servicing your six-figure debt with that salary.
If we haven’t driven the point home, take a look at these quick facts from the U.S. News ranking of the 100 Best Jobs, where lawyer somehow comes in at Number 35 (between medical assistant and accountant):
No wonder lawyers have the unhappiest job in America. But if your dream is to be drowning in debt and possibly unemployed, who are we to deny you? Go on, dream the dream, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.