Most Overrated Jobs of 2011

Most Overrated Jobs of 2011

By: Victoria Brienza

This is our 2011 Most Overrated report
Click here for the 2012 report

There are so many aspects of our world that we can say are overrated. From reality stars (ahem…the Kardashians!) and movies (Avatar) to food (red velvet cake), fashion (hair extensions) and air travel (fees and crowds). We all have our opinions on whom and what just can’t live up to the hype.

So when thinking about our jobs, many of us enjoy careers that the rest of world perceive as great, even though we know the truth. For example, others may see your high salary and not have an understanding of the amount of work you’re required to do. Or perhaps they’re wowed by the prestige of your job title. Or maybe they’re impressed by the perks they think you receive.

To us, overrated jobs are those that on the surface seem to be outstanding, but in reality carry unrecognized downsides that can, at times, make them not so great after all. The jobs look terrific on paper, but tend to include more stress, environmental dangers and physical demands than are typically recognized, and their hiring outlook may be downright depressing.

For example, many of us would agree that senior corporate executives have a fantastic job given their power and prestige, and we have little sympathy for those who set sail with a golden parachute as their company fails. However, senior corporate executives rarely shirk their responsibilities to their employees and shareholders, and they work incredibly long hours and handle massive responsibilities that take a toll on their health and families. Thus, senior corporate executive is at the top of our list of the most overrated jobs.

See the list of Underrated Jobs of 2011

"Ultimately, it's my responsibility to run the company well enough to make sure my employees have a job, not only today but for years to come,” says W. Andrew Motsko, senior corporate executive of an Omaha communications company, who adds: “I get paid to balance the employee’s needs with those of our clients, vendors and shareholders. Even though I'm the boss, I answer to a lot of different people." Mr. Motsko says he feels his job can be overrated because it carries many responsibilities beyond his daily work at the office. “My family life and personal time many times have to take a back seat to the needs of my company.”

While a senior corporate executive takes top honors in our rankings, a job much more widely held - real estate agent – also qualifies for our overrated jobs list. "It's definitely overrated because the demands continue to be 24/7/365 to meet your client's needs," says Bill Dallman, an Arizona real estate agent who admits that the economy has taken its toll on his profession. "Sure, you may get a large paycheck for selling a house, but there's a lot more legal and financial risk to the job than just putting a sign up in the yard and doing home tours. I really enjoy the work and the people, but a person has to understand the demands of time and continuing education that are required to remain successful."

To be sure, a job that’s overrated doesn‘t mean it fails to serve an important function in our society. In fact, these jobs play an integral role in our workplace ecosystem. It’s just that the hype surrounding them sometimes makes these jobs sound much better than they really are. And, yes, we know there are plenty of people in these professions who love their jobs and couldn’t think of any other career they’d rather do. They’re simply willing to live with the fact that their job is overrated.

Our Methodology

Whether a job is determined to be overrated can be hugely subjective, and can vary due to the experience and perceptions of the person doing the judging. Of course, those factors are hard to quantify objectively. However, through our research and analysis, we’ve tried to mitigate the subjective nature of our report by basing it solely on our Jobs Rated data. We used our data to determine the criteria of what makes a job overrated or underrated. We then compared the numbers, sorted them according to our definitions and voilà…we compiled our list of overrated jobs, which is a companion to our ranking of underrated jobs.

See if you agree!

Corporate Executive (Senior)

1. Corporate Executive (Senior)

Overall Rating:
Projected Growth:
Median Salary:

Overrated Factors: high stress, shaky stability and long hours that effect family time.

Formulates the policies and directs the operations of private and publicly-held companies.

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