Edited by: Mohan Rajagopal
Have you ever watched a TV show and wondered what it would be like to be part of it? Or, instead of being a fictional character, to perhaps follow in their footsteps in the real world? These past five years, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with my life—what career path to go down, what I love doing, and what I can envision myself being invested in for, well, ever. In such an uncertain state of mind, TV shows seemed to provide the perfect solutions—that is until I sadly realized that none of these roads was meant for me. So, I thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse into my list of discarded dreams.
1. Diagnostic Doctor [from House MD ]
Okay, I know that Gregory House is a mean, misanthropic drug addict, and my god, the man has serious issues. But let’s consider the flip side—he’s smart, witty, and has a very unique and interesting job. He’s respected for his medical skills even if he’s not really considered a good person. He earns good money because of his reputation and in general, he has fun. At the same time, he saves lives. For a time, I thought this was it for me, that I would be a Good Doctor (pun intended). Then reality hit and I realized that 8 years of medical school would kill me on the inside, especially if I couldn’t stomach the thought of doing advanced biology in high school. So, I let it go.
2. lawyer [from suits ]
Harvey Spectre is the epitome of cool. He kicks ass with his paperwork and he does it with style. Titans of industry defer to him and it shows in his confident language and impeccable suits. If Harvey Spectre isn’t your cup of tea, there’s always Mike Ross, the lawyer who didn’t go to law school. He got his job because he had a briefcase of weed on him which is so bizarre it seems like a legitimate strategy for job interviews (although I’d never do it myself). He’s more conscientious than Harvey, looking out for the little guy. I always thought I would be a Mike Ross, helping those in need with my crafty legal skills. But I soon realized that I just don’t want to spend every waking moment working. Don’t get me wrong, if I have to put in the extra hours in my chosen career I will, but lawyers (on Suits at least) don’t seem to have any work-life balance and that doesn’t work for me.
3. detective [from castle ]
I’ve always loved the idea of solving crimes and Kate Beckett makes being a detective seem like an epic adventure. You get to puzzle out perps and learn combat, both of which seem like fun things to do every day. The murders on Castle are also quite interesting, always coming with a twist and making the job seem that much more exciting. However, I soon realized that the glamour was all television show and none of it was grounded in reality. I think seeing dead bodies every week would probably put a damper on my optimistic outlook and I’m just not ready to lose that.
4. Real estate agent [from selling sunset ]
To be honest, the reason I wanted to be a real estate agent after watching this show was just because of the fancy houses and the enormous amount of money you earn by selling a single high-end house in LA. The lifestyle is pretty crazy and seems like a whole lot of fun. Other than all the catfighting and petty drama, I wouldn’t mind. But I realized quickly that I have zero interest in either houses or sales, let alone both together, so there went that plan down the drain.
5. Broadway star [from glee ]
This one is pretty unrealistic and not something I properly considered. I just really loved Glee and all the characters’ can-do spirit got to me sometimes. I would think of trying out for dance or music in school until I remembered that I can’t do either so any career in the performing arts was out of the question. Still, sometimes I go down that flight of fancy just for the hell of it, thinking about the bright lights in the big city. This career path was all about aspiration for me—not aiming for Broadway specifically, but the possibility of doing something crazy and actually achieving it. Not a bad note to end this list on, I think.
TV shows are great for inspiration and interest but they don’t exactly depict real life (even the ones that claim to be realistic). They don’t tell you what goes into making a career nor what the day-to-day tedium is like. All of the potentially exciting situations get clubbed together episodically so that it all seems like one wild ride when it’s more likely that you will rarely see that much action. The way I approach TV careers now is like window shopping—I can look all I want, but I know better than to buy it.