Romanticising your dream job

Landing your dream job can come with downsides, especially if your passions involve jobs with routine day-to-day tasks that you are less passionate about.

For example, you may expect to create fascinating algorithms in artificial intelligence jobs that will solve big problems but end up doing routine data collection and cleaning tasks.


When your dream job is a nightmare

A recent study named the gap between expectations and the day-to-day reality of jobs as "glossy work." The glossy work dissonance can cause employees to change jobs. Another problem is how to present the work and themselves to other people.

  • For example, when talking to outsiders, they may focus on the more glamorous aspects of journalism.
  • When speaking to high-status writers, they focus on their own expertise.
  • To an insider, they present a more complete view.

This can cause prospective employees to end up with false expectations.


"Glossy work" comes at a cost to employers as they have to manage discontent and staff turnover.

How employers can stop the "glossy work" cycle:

  • Showing a fair balance of the exciting and mundane aspects of the job.
  • Assembling tasks so that the less pleasant tasks are spread across employees and jobs.
  • Openness to employee efforts to tweak their jobs.
  • Taking caution when listing passion as a job requirement, then providing work that doesn't fit that passion.


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