In this economy, every job opening has a huge candidate pool. In 2013, for example, one new Wal-Mart in DC received 23,000 resumes for 600 spots, which Business Insider noted meant Wal-Mart applicants had worse odds than those of students applying to Harvard.
A Wal-Mart employee’s day-to-day work isn’t fanciful, and they’re not making a six digit salary, but that’s no surprise to the average American. Some careers that are considered much more glamorous than a gig at Wal-Mart, however, have shockingly similar wages. The cashier who rang out your new lawn chairs might not be making much less than than some of the jobs that are glamorized on TV. Read on to discover what “dream jobs” that are well recognized and extremely hard to make it in, have shockingly low pay.
6) Disney Park Princesses
Every little girl dreams of being a Disney princess, and although most grow out of this phase, for some it carries on to adulthood. The most extreme of those adult princess fanatics take a chance on their fantasy, by registering for a Disney “face character” audition. Hundreds of young women show up for each of these try outs, which Disney holds all over the country, all year long, for a chance at portraying their favorite royal heroine. Although thousands audition every year, only a few dozen walk away with a part.
Working as a Disney princess isn’t all smiles and fairy dust, though. The actresses start at $12.40 an hour and quite possibly, have to move across the country to work the position. There’s little job security, too, because the girls are expected to maintain the “look” they had when they were hired. That means weight gain, tanned skin and visible aging are all acceptable rationale for turning the role over to a younger, prettier and more suited candidate.
5) Animal Trainers
Being a trainer is a coveted job for animal lovers who want to spend their days with pets, but don’t want the heartache and gore of being a veterinarian. Some trainers will be lucky enough to work at animal parks or zoos, training the animals how to cooperate for veterinarian procedures. Others might train service or search-and-rescue dogs for the police force. Most animal trainers, however, are self-employed and travel from place to place, training privately owned pets like dogs, cats or horses.
These trainers will have to compete with other more experienced ones in their area when starting out. Despite the fulfillment you can get from this career, don’t expect to have an easy time paying off the loans from your animal science degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage of an animal trainer is $12 an hour, which means those just starting out are likely to make even less.
Shows like Cupcake Wars and Cake Boss glamorize the life of a baker, showing smiling, young people in fashionable aprons competing for celebrity judges, tasting testing to achieve the perfect pastry and decorating extravagant cakes. Although Buddy from Cake Boss has a net worth of $10 million, the median wage for a baker is $11 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Besides a modest wage, don’t expect a 9 – 5 job as a baker, either. Jonathan Eng, the head baker at Superba Food & Bread in California, for example, arrives to work at 2:30 a.m. every morning to have the quiches, buns and breads ready for when the doors open at 7:00 a.m.
3) Broadway Actors
Every theater kid dreams of someday being on Broadway. After all, Rachel Berry makes it look so easy on Glee – graduate high school, move into a flat in New York City, and land a starring role. Contrary to the television show, though, making it on Broadway is extremely difficult. Casting directors receive hundreds of resumes for each role, and of course, only one person gets the part. The lucky (and talented) actors that obtain these roles have to attend many hours of rehearsals and performances, plus spend their off days with vocal or dance coaches, or hitting the gym.
The average Broadway actor is paid $1509 per week, which is quite a good sum. It would come out to about $70,000 per year, except that there’s no guarantee of how long the show will run for. Carrie stayed on Broadway for only 5 regular performances, and Glory Days was nixed right after the opening night. After a show ends, actors could audition for months before booking another gig. Despite the prestige attached to acting on Broadway, for the majority, it’s a financially rocky road.
The world of dance is extremely competitive, and becoming a professional ballerina is quite possibly the hardest goal there is. Dancers must begin taking classes at a very young age, which is physically and mentally straining for girls who are also attending school full time (not to mention the strain on their parents’ wallets). At one particular dance school in the UK, White Lodge, 1000 11-year-olds audition for 24 spots in their rigorous ballet program. Of those 24, only a quarter of them will complete the program.
Dancers who beat the odds and become professionals work long hours, have to maintain a particular body type and stay in tip-top physical shape. Plus, ballet puts so much strain on their bodies that they can only maintain a career for 15 years tops, before they’re out on the street with few hard skills that will transfer to a new job. For some ballerinas, though, it’s all worth it for that rush of performing on stage. Including the physical challenges of being a ballerina, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they’re also only paid $8 – $15 per hour.
Shows like America’s Next Top Model prove how coveted a modeling career is – thousands audition but only one wins the title. Watching the series sure makes the life of a model look glamorous, too. Working with celebrities, having your hair and make-up done professionally everyday, wearing beautiful clothes and seeing yourself on magazine covers; who wouldn’t want a life like that?
After a model goes home from a photo shoot, her life becomes a whole lot less luxurious because she’s supporting herself on a median wage of $9 an hour, according to the BLS. Sure, the top of the top like Tyra Banks and Kate Upton might be dirty rich, but many models are dirt poor. That doesn’t stop thousands of young woman (and young men), however, from seeking the life of a fashion model.