TV and film characters like Don Draper from "Mad Men" and Gordon Gekko from "Wall Street" may have you thinking that their professions are enviably glitzy, but the truth is, they're not all that glamorous.
"It's all about perception. It's the perception that it's a great job," said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast. "Every one of these overrated jobs, people think of as, 'I've got huge autonomy. I'm in control of my day and I manage everything the way I want to manage it,'" Lee said.
"The reality is that either due to a poor hiring outlook, falling salary, rising stress or a number of other criteria, it's not as great as it appears," he said.
Stress, in particular, is among the biggest factors that land a job on the overrated list. You may think being a CEO is a glamorous world of corner offices and private jets, but in fact, it's a lot of stress. It's overrated.
Lee said these lists are among the most subjective that CareerCast puts together, compared to some of their other lists like the best and worst jobs. Still, the economy has played a huge role in jobs on both the overrated and underrated lists.
When it comes to the impact of the economy on overrated jobs, perhaps some of them lost perks like expensive client lunches, experienced a shift in the type of work they were getting, or have not yet seen their hiring outlook bounce back even though the economy is improving.
To come up with these lists, CareerCast takes a look at 200 jobs, using Labor Department and other statistics. On average, Lee said, hiring in those jobs are expected to increase by about 12 percent during this decade. What's particularly encouraging, he said, is that CareerCast has found more job openings for each one of the occupations on the list than in at least the last five years.
Click ahead to check out the 12 most overrated jobs of 2013.
By Cindy Perman
Posted 17 Sept. 2013
Median salary: $67,650
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 22%
If you're a psychologist, you get paid a lot of money to study how people think and behave, and if you have a private practice, you get to make your own hours, right?
"Psychologists are on the list because they're responsible for other people's lives and well-being," Lee said. "It's a much more stressful job than people realize because of the nature of the folks you're dealing with," he said.
Median salary: $91,860
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 6%
Here's a case where the economic improvement has actually had a negative impact on a job and ironically, it's economists themselves!
"They have a very high salary but because of how rapidly the economy has been changing, the stress level is very high," Lee said. "It's perceived as a job where you're sitting in an ivory tower, but in fact,you're on the front lines trying to figure out what happens next."
And you might think that economists would be in demand after all the economic hardship we've been through. But in fact, they have the second-lowest hiring outlook of all jobs on the list at 6 percent.
Median salary: $74,280
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 12%
This one is perhaps the most surprising—how is any computer-related job overrated?
"The reason we think it's overrated is that it's been talked about for so long as a great field that demand has started to trail off for programmers," Lee said. "There's still a need for more but not as much—the hiring outlook is down to 12 percent," he said.
Plus, the stress level has gone up for programmers to churn out code even faster.
To be clear, Lee said, "We're not saying it's not a great choice. It's just not as great as everybody thinks it is."
Median salary: $113,530
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 10%
This is one of those "childhood hero" jobs, Lee said, and with apologies to moms everywhere who want their kids to be lawyers or marry one, it's overrated.
Sure, they get paid well and there will always be demand for lawyers. But the key to why they're overrated? Job satisfaction—or lack thereof.
"People who become attorneys tend to not like being attorneys!" Lee said. Plus, the hiring outlook is waning and the stress level is high.
Median salary: $114,200
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 11%
This is another one of those "childhood hero" jobs, where many a kid dreamed of learning how to fly. Sorry kids, it's overrated.
You might think that with the economy improving, and more people spending and taking vacations, that demand for pilots would increase, but alas, it hasn't.
Plus, the hours are long and pilots are often away from home for long periods of time.
"It's not as glamorous as many people think," Lee said.
Median salary: $73,090
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 24%
You might think of architects as artists with a dream job of seeing their visions become reality. And, while that is likely for some, Lee said, the stress level for architects has gone up dramatically with the changing economy.
Where once they used to have a lot of individual clients, now they're doing projects tied to commercial and government construction. There are more regulations on those type of projects and a greater stress level.
"They're being held accountable for everything—from timing to materials and all aspects of construction like never before," Lee said.
"If you're an architect, the hiring outlook is higher than average but you don't have the freedom that you used to," he said.
Median salary: $45,810
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 44%
Being a wedding planner may seem dreamily romantic and being a concert promoter may seem cool, but event coordinators are definitely overrated jobs. The reason? High stress, low pay.
Think about whom you're working with when you're planning a wedding , concert or whatever, Lee said. "It's the most important day of their lives. So, if it goes well—that's expected. If it doesn't, boy are you in trouble!"
"People burn out pretty quickly," he said.
Median salary: $168,140
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 5%
"It sounds great. The perception is flying in corporate jets and conferences in Bermuda," Lee said.
They pay is great but the truth is, it's a high-stress job. "You're responsible for the lives of all the people who work for you 24/7—it's nonstop," Lee said.
Plus, the hiring outlook is terrible—less than half the average of 12 percent—and with the recession, a lot of the perks have dried up.
So, you're left with the stress and a weak hiring outlook.
Median salary: $95,450
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 21%
Like event coordinators, PR is a thankless job. If it goes great—hey, that's what we expected! If it goes badly, oh boy.
"There's more downside than upside," Lee said.
On the plus side, the hiring outlook has stayed pretty consistent—around 21 percent, but the stress level has shot up. Managing bad news is more stressful than managing good news and let's face it, in the past few years, we've had a lot more bad news!
Median salary: $71,720
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 15%
"If you look across the New York Stock Exchange, how many stockbrokers do you see compared to a few years ago?" Lee asked.
A lot fewer, that's for sure.
"Most trading is automated, staring at a computer screen. Compensation, while good, is not phenomenal—they're not rolling in money," Lee said.
But wait, you say. The market is at an all-time high!
In fact, market volatility has taken an already high-stress job to meteoric levels of stress. And you know what the biggest complaint from clients is now in this market?
"They're not making enough money!" Lee said.
Plus, they don't have the budgets they used to, so there aren't as many steak dinners with clients as there used to be.
Median salary: $166,400
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 24%
"Everyone thinks you should become a doctor or marry a doctor but it is outrageously stressful," Lee said. "Extremely long hours … on call 24/7 … But talk to a surgeon in their 40s and they're ready to retire!" he said.
Sure, the pay is good and the hiring outlook is twice the average, but the stress and long hours land surgeons squarely on the overrated list. Plus, they now have the added stress of health-care reform.
"Now, you're fearing you're not going to get compensated the way you used to," Lee said.
Of course, if you're the mother of a surgeon, your outlook hasn't changed: You can still say, "My son, the doctor!"
Median salary: $66,913
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 14%
Congratulations, all you Don Drapers of the world, you have the most overrated job for the second year in a row!
"People think of 'Mad Men' and this glamorous world of coming up with ideas and taking clients to lunch," Lee said. "But the turnover rate is the highest of all professions and it's a mentality of 'What have you done for me lately?' "
You're constantly under pressure to bring in a new client,come up with a cool new campaign, and if you haven't, well there's someone waiting in the wings ready to take your spot.
You've probably never heard a mother brag, "My son, the biologist!" but maybe she should. Check out the 12 most UNDERRATED jobs of 2013.