15 Jobs Seen on TV You Wish You Had in Real Life
Do you ever wish you could try different careers without having to go through an internship? One way you can learn more about different jobs is through the magic of television. The depictions of different TV jobs might not be completely accurate, but it’s enjoyable to sit back and watch your favorite (or not so favorite) characters go through the ups and downs of a day’s work.
If you’ve ever thought about changing jobs or careers, there are plenty of other workers in the same boat. In fact, most people will have had four job changes by the time they’re 32 years old, CNN Money reports. So, if you’re not working in your ideal job, you can still dream about it and live vicariously through some of the characters you see on TV. Some of these jobs you could only get in your dreams, while other jobs you could get with lots of hard work and the right connections.
Here are 15 jobs seen on TV you wish you could get, and how much they really pay.
1. Secret agent: Angus MacGyver, MacGyver
If you like constant thrills and using your brain power to save the world, you’d probably want Angus MacGyver’s action-packed job. MacGyver is an agent for a clandestine organization housed within the U.S. government. He is a superhero of sorts, saving lives with his knack for problem-solving as well as an extraordinary knowledge of science. MacGyver does pretty well when it comes to salary. The average annual pay for a U.S. secret service special agent is anywhere from $110,00 to $142,240, according to Glassdoor estimates.
2. Co-head dreamer: Nelson ‘Big Head’ Bighetti, Silicon Valley
If you don’t like to work but you love making money, you’re likely pining over Big Head’s job in the series Silicon Valley. Nelson isn’t very talented, but one thing he has going for him is the fact that he’s generally good at everything. Nelson accepts a job offer at tech company Hooli, but his job description remains murky. Unsure of what he’s supposed to be doing, Nelson spends his work days hanging out on the roof. Despite his lack of direction, and consequently any real contribution, Nelson gets a big promotion: co-head dreamer of Hooli XYZ. Nelson’s salary is roughly more than $600,000 a year.
3. NASCAR driver: Bo Duke, The Dukes of Hazzard
Many youngsters dream of becoming professional race car drivers. The Dukes of Hazzard’s Bo Duke managed to actually live the dream. The Duke family was in the moonshine business, and due to illegally transporting moonshine, Bo and his older cousin Luke were sentenced to probation. However, they didn’t let that bump in the road stop them. The duo eventually left the fictional Hazzard County in Georgia to join NASCAR. Lucky drivers who make it to the NASCAR circuit and score high-profile endorsement deals can make a total salary of as much as $23.5 million.
4. TV show head writer, Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of a writing career, television probably came to mind. Liz Lemon of 30 Rock managed to perfect her writing skills and impress industry insiders enough to get her to the top of her field. As a head writer, Liz is responsible for character development and all the suspense-filled plot twists and turns. The average salary for a television writer is $61,771 per year.
5. Children’s book author: Susan Mayer Delfino, Desperate Housewives
If you enjoy creating educational material for children, a job as a children’s book illustrator or author might be on your career wish list. Susan Mayer Delfino of Desperate Housewives realized her creative dreams when she began a career penning and illustrating books for the kiddos. After graduating from college and honing her craft, Susan’s first children’s book, Ants in My Picnic Basket, became a huge success.
Authoring children’s books might be a dream, but it doesn’t always pay well. It’s not a get-rich-quick plan, say the experts at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. However, if you hit the big time as a children’s author, you could bank some serious cash. Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, made roughly $19.5 million in 2016.
6. Forensic scientist, Dexter Morgan, Dexter
Are you intrigued by murder mysteries? Are you undisturbed by the sight of blood? Then, Dexter Morgan’s position as a blood splatter analyst is likely the job of your dreams. When he’s not taking revenge on serial killers, Dexter works as a forensics expert. His job entails analyzing crime scene blood-splatter patterns so that he can help solve murders. Blood splatter analysts average about $58,000 per year, according to Simply Hired estimates.
7. Sports financial manager, Spencer Strasmore, Ballers
A love of sports and financial savvy could help pave your way toward a career as financial manager to sports stars. One TV character who is enjoying the glitz and glamour of this job is Spencer Strasmore, a retired football player turned financial manager. When he’s not attending the latest party or mentoring the hottest ball player, Spencer is handing all the details of managing his accounts. Financial management salaries range from $46,000 to more than $120,000 a year.
8. Music company CEO: Lucious Lyon, Empire
Life is good for Lucious Lyon, the head of Empire Enterprises (along with his ex-wife, Cookie). Lucious can be found at the hottest industry parties, rubbing elbows with celebrities, such as Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey, or cutting deals with industry power players. This dream job comes with a big financial payoff. Major label CEOs have the potential to earn anywhere from $3 million to $5 million a year.
9. Architect: Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother
Are you always marveling at different structures and wondering how they were designed? Then, an architecture career might be a secret wish of yours. One of television’s most famous architects is Ted Mosby of How I Met Your Mother. After a few rough starts (he gets fired by a New York architectural firm and then gets let go by a bank after a project falls through), Ted decides to start his own firm, Mosbius Designs. However, this project also gets scrapped, so he decides to teach architecture at Columbia University. Ted then signs on with the bank again, this time designing its headquarters. This accomplishment lands the 33-year-old on the cover of New York Magazine as the youngest architect to design a New York City skyscraper. Annual salaries for architects range from $30,000 to $207,000.
10. Magazine art director: Wilhelmina Slater, Ugly Betty
If you’re a creative type, a job that allows you to express yourself is right up your alley. Ugly Betty’s Wilhelmina Slater has what most would consider a dream job as an art director for fashion magazine Mode. However, because Wilhelmina is never satisfied, she spends most of her time on the show trying to get promoted, so she can become the magazine’s editor-in-chief. The salary range for magazine art directors is $41,000 to more than $97,000.
11. Radio show host: Dr. Frasier Crane, Frasier
If you have a gift for gab and a deep knowledge of various topics, a career as a talk show host might be appealing. Dr. Frasier Crane uses his training as a psychiatrist to offer advice to people who call his therapy radio show. However, much of the therapeutic material is played out in his own home as he works to rebuild his life after a divorce and re-establish his relationship with his father and brother. The average radio host salary ranges from $24,964 to $91,293.
12. Physicist: Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
If you’re a true science geek you probably can’t get enough of Sheldon Cooper’s antics on The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon started out on the show as a senior theoretical particle physicist at the California Institute of Technology (he later takes on a job as a professor). His main job duties included research on string theory and M-theory. Physicists earn an annual salary of anywhere from $49,000 to more than $140,000.
13. Jingle songwriter: Charlie Harper, Two and a Half Men
Are you usually whistling a tune or making up catchy phrases? You might have considered a career as a jingle writer at one time. One TV character who jingled his way to the bank is Charlie Harper of Two and a Half Men. After being expelled from Julliard School, Charlie moved to Los Angeles to become a film composer. However, he decided to begin a career writing jingles after meeting a commercial producer. Jingle writers make roughly $10,000 per jingle.
14. Paleontologist, Ross Geller, Friends
Another science job that might pique your interest is a career as a paleontologist. If studying fossils gets you excited, paleontology would make an excellent career choice. After getting a Ph.D. from Columbia University, Ross Geller starts his paleontology career at a museum at the tender age of 26. However, he’s later booted from his museum job after screaming at his boss for eating his sandwich. Ross later scores a job as a guest lecturer in the New York University paleontology department. Soon after that, he gets full tenure. Paleontologist salaries range from $37,261 to $118,462.
15. Advertising creative director: Don Draper, Mad Men
Don Draper makes a living as the creative director of advertising agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. After his military career, Draper works a few odd jobs, including a stint at a fur shop. After an advertising executive comes into the shop and notices Draper’s self-made advertisement, he hands him his business card. As a result of some convincing, Don scores a job with the man’s firm. The average advertising director salary is roughly $89,956 and can be more than $227,000.
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