Glossy work permeates cultural industries, but exists in other sectors too

Published: 10 May 2023

When Lisa Cohen moved to New York City in 1984 to work for Vanity Fair magazine, it seemed like a dream job. But the reality didn’t stack up to her expectations. Though the work was sometimes interesting, Cohen found the detailed fact-checks that she was assigned tedious. Still, she stayed in the magazine industry for five years before pursuing a business degree. That’s Cohen’s personal experience with ‘glossy work’. Positions like that Vanity Fair role may appear glamorous, but often have serious downsides, like low pay and dull work. Glossy work is especially common in cultural industries, Cohen told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation podcast This Working Life. But every industry has some of these characteristics. Even as an Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour at McGill University, Cohen noted that she devotes more time than she would like to coding and collecting data.

Back to top