If a job is prestigious, it’ll entice more people who want to do it; it feels existential. Many people will often be willing to do anything for it, grateful for a chance to give up their personal lives for the opportunity to participate. The people best positioned to do this aren’t necessarily the most skilled; they’re the ones most willing to sacrifice. Some, possibly many, of them also don’t need the income and can afford to give their time, money, and energy with little thought. (Brenda Peterson explores an example of this at The New Yorker.) Platforms and companies are incentivized to drive labor costs down, and often do this by elevating a job’s prestige; the creator dream is an example of that.
If a job is fun, it’ll entice even more people who want to do it. Again, people who don’t need the income are well positioned for it; they can take more swings, participate without financial pressure, and share energy and resources for building relationships.
In a glamorous job, money—including, but not necessarily, unearned income—can create an extremely competitive advantage if you have it. If you don’t, you can still participate, just keep it in mind when you inevitably compare your progress with other people’s. Everybody starts off with different circumstances, so no two careers are the same; if you choose to make your own meaning out of it, you’ll be better off in the near-term and the long one.
Luck can play an incredible role in some glamorous jobs, like creative work. Making good work gets you to the starting line. The week before JK Rowling revealed her pseudonym, she’d sold 43 copies of her book; the week after, 17,662. (All still far short of Harry Potter.) You may have no idea how your lucky break happened, and you’re not sure if you can make it happen again, and that’s okay. Try to enjoy the ride either way.
Figure out why you want to do the work in the first place, and keep these reasons as anchors. Look for opportunities to nurture them. Find things outside of the glamorous job or hobby that can create a life. When the thin veneers of glamor, prestige, and cool inevitably evaporate, these relationships and rituals will give your life meaning. (Jerod Santo wrote a great post on building a media business focused on depth, not virality.)
Last thing to keep in mind: the glamor doesn’t really matter. Things may turn out great, they also may not; you’ll still have problems either way. Try not to be too hard on yourself. If only the person who hated themselves for not getting a job at BuzzFeed in 2015 realized that in several years, BuzzFeed would be at risk of being de-listed and they could own a piece of it for less than a quarter. Let the thoughts come and go, don’t engage them too much; you’ll be glad you didn’t waste your time and energy.