Bob finds himself among the candidates for his dream occupation. This is something he's wanted his entire life and dreams of rising to the top. Once he starts training at said job, it becomes quickly apparent that Bob... has zero talent for the job.

Still [[{{Determinator}} he keeps working at it]] (possibly undergoing TrainingFromHell)... and [[CantCatchUp it doesn't help]]. (After all, HardWorkHardlyWorks.) And what's more, there will be no AppliedPhlebotinum or MagicFeather to smooth the way toward Bob's goals. He can't do it and that's that. Not to say that Bob is completely worthless. He may have plenty of viable talents. Just not in the field he desired.

Often, this character will find other ways to stay within his chosen field, and may even find happiness there (a bad pilot gets shunted to the flight crew or MissionControl), but he never really stops wishing for that which he can't gain.

Contrast with FakeUltimateHero, where the image is there, but the skills are not. A HeroicWannabe is likely to be this trope as well.

Compare DreamCrushingHandicap, ICouldaBeenAContender, MuggleBornOfMages, GiftedlyBad or MinionWithAnFInEvil (if said minion actually wants to be a bad guy). This might also be seen as an occupational form of a TragicDream.


[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* In ''Anime/RuneSoldierLouie'', the eponymous character a mage in training, who longs for adventure. The problem is, he sucks at spellcasting because [[BookDumb he doesn't keep up with his studies]]; preferring to solve his problems [[GoodOldFisticuffs with his fists]] instead. Except he's not very good at that either, since he hasn't had any formal training and usually [[LeeroyJenkins just rushes in without thinking.]] Which is what creates the friction between him and [[StopHavingFunGuys Jeanie.]]
* Kawachi's father in ''Manga/YakitateJapan'', who kept trying to become a baker at Pantasia until his death. This is revealed to be the driving force behind Kawachi's own determination.
* Waver Velvet in ''LightNovel/FateZero'' wants to be a great magus, but lacks the necessary heredity. You see, magical ability apart from a few freaks tends to be something gained over the generations and Waver is a nobody. He enters the Grail War as a sort of revenge against a teacher that snubbed his work and mocked him in front of a class by. Unfortunately, his paper stating hard work can make up for talent is both obvious and gibberish: Hard work will make you better at something, but with no aptitude from the start hard work can only get you so far, and it certainly won't grow you magical body parts that you weren't born with. However, it turns out that while he's rather bad at magic himself, he's quite good at educating others and helping them maximize their own potential. Which is something he has no interest in, even as it gives him a solid career and good social standing.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', Chopper's mentor Dr. Hiriluk was a well-intentioned doctor who genuinely wished to make others better, but was also a quack with no real medical knowledge who made cures that left his patients in even worse shape.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In ''ComicBook/UntoldTalesOfSpiderMan,'' Peter Parker had to deal with an unwanted fangirl in the form of Sally Avril, who was inspired by Spider-Man to try and become a costumed heroine herself. Unfortunately, she simply didn't have the talent for it, and eventually got herself killed when she insisted on continuing despite Spidey's repeated attempts to talk her out of doing it.
* The original Jester, an archenemy of Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} dreamed of being a major Shakespearean actor, and trained himself in everything from acrobatics to boxing to swordplay to try and improve his chances. Unfortunately, he forgot to get the one kind of training he actually needed-namely, ''acting lessons''. He was such a bad actor that the only work he could get was as the the pie in the face guy for a two-bit comedian, and eventually he became so embittered he decided to take the skills he was actually good at and became a costumed criminal.
* In ''Comicbook/{{Asterix}} and the Normans'', Cacofonix, who is a good instrumentalist but a [[DreadfulMusician unspeakably awful singer]], is told off-the-cuff that his music is really good and he might do better in the city. Cacofonix becomes obsessed with this idea, and convinced that he will be a huge pop star there. He steals a horse and tries to ride there, singing for food. When he becomes needed as a HumanWeapon against HornyVikings, Obelix manages to locate him again, solely by following the trail of destruction caused by the pain and outrage of people exposed to his music. In particular, in one inn his voice caused a brawl so terrible the building was torn to pieces.


[[folder: Films -- Animated ]]

* In ''WesternAnimation/MonstersUniversity'', Mike Wazowski's dream is to become a scarer and despite being very well-read on the subject is stated to lack natural talent (IE, children find him adorable and funny rather than scary). Ultimately, his failure to achieve his dreams is a ForegoneConclusion considering his fate in ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'', but he still finds success in the scaring field with Sulley [[spoiler:and things get better for him after the events of ''Monsters Inc.'' marks the shift from scare power to laugh power]].
* Linguini of ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'' wants to be a great chef, even more so when he discovers [[spoiler:he's Auguste Gusteau's son]]. Unfortunately for him, he's a total LethalChef. While discovering he's a bad chef (especially without Remy), he turns out to be an ace maître d'.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Robots}}'': Rodney's father has a lifelong dream to play trumpet in a band. In the end he gets to live out his dream, and... he sucks. Well he ''did'' say he was a little rusty. He's been out of practice for at least twenty years.


[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]

* Creator/EdWood--his [[Film/EdWood big-screen]] and RealLife versions--wanted to be a great movie director whose films would be remembered long after his death. [[SoBadItsGood Two out of three ain't bad, we suppose.]]
** ''Film/{{Birdemic}}'' director James Nguyen is one angora sweater away from following in Wood's exact footsteps. As is [[Film/TheRoom Tommy]] [[Literature/TheDisasterArtist Wiseau]].
* In ''Film/CitizenKane'', Susan Alexander, second wife of Charles Foster Kane, gets put out on a huge opera debut by her husband. While her voice may be pleasant for something singing in the shower, she is not cut out for opera in any way. Her vocal teacher loudly proclaims she is unteachable and more or less [[FacePalm facepalms]] every time she sings. [[SmallNameBigEgo Kane]] won't listen to Susan, the instructor, or every newspaper critic in America and insists she keeps going on stage.\\
Creator/OrsonWelles later regretted this part of the film, as people assumed she was based on screen actress and William Randolph Hearst's paramour Marion Davies, who Welles (and many others) felt was actually a fairly talented actress and a nice person. Marion Davies was well-suited to romantic comedies-- unfortunately, Hearst saw her as the second coming of Mary Pickford and kept putting her in lavish, sentimental dramas that didn't take advantage of her talents.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* The TropeCodifier is Rincewind of the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series. Rincewind does have many actual skills (he's something of an {{Omniglot}}, for starters; he can scream for mercy in nineteen languages, and just scream in another forty-four) and he seems to be a semi-competent librarian (a job one would think would be ideal for someone as [[DirtyCoward risk-adverse]] as Rincewind), but he dreams of being a real wizard. Unfortunately for him, he is [[ThisLoserIsYou "a natural wizard in the same way fish are natural mountaineers."]] He does have most of the traits of a wizard, including ones that are, well, magical (like seeing the Eighth Colour). The only ones he doesn't seem to have are the ability to ''do'' magic, and knowledge of when he is to die (and even ''Death'' doesn't know when Rincewind is to die, so that might not be a failure on his wizardiness per se). Usually wizards (and witches) learn when they're going to die a week or so in advance (barring accidents). But Rincewind ''assumes'' he's going to die on a daily basis, so the actual ''knowledge'' probably wouldn't register as anything different. Given that the main occupation of Discworld wizards is not doing magic, it could be argued that he's got too much talent.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' has ButtMonkey Neville Longbottom. When it comes to actually casting spells he's just not very good. However, the skilled-in-other-areas aspect applies to Neville as well, as he's a herbology prodigy and a major {{Determinator}}. In the end, most of his victories turn out to be [[PillarsOfMoralCharacter moral]] or [[CombatPragmatist physical]], making him one of the few people to bring fists to a magic fight and still win.
* Angel in the Literature/CharlieParkerSeries, a thief with enormous technical skills, but lacking the attention to detail to be a good thief. One particularly memorable flashback shows him walking into a room full of valuable - and portable - works of art, and attempting to steal the television. However, his lockpicking skills make him useful to the NYPD, which winds up saving his life and earning him a lifelong friend.
* Phil Baldwin in ''Son of Interflux'' by Creator/GordonKorman. He has "potential" for everything, but that potential never amounts to much.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Cookie from ''Series/NedsDeclassifiedSchoolSurvivalGuide'' really wants to be on the cheer squad. It... doesn't work out, to say the least.
* Joxer of ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'' wanted two things: To be a great heroic warrior, and Gabrielle's heart. [[ButtMonkey He never got either.]]
* ''Series/RedDwarf'': Arnold Judas Rimmer is desperate to become an Officer in the Space Corps, and yet failed his Astronavigation exam thirteen times. All in an attempt to [[WellDoneSonGuy win his mother's approval]]. The novel describes it best:
-->If Rimmer hadn't been such a dedicated anal retentive, he would have realised something. He wasn't cut out to be an officer. Wasn't cut ''out'' for it. He'd realise he wasn't the slightest bit interested in Astronavigation, or Quantum Mechanics, or any of the things you had to be interested in to be an officer.
** The novel then reveals that Rimmer's true talent lies in art and cartography.
** Later on, he also aspires to be a great general or leader, crippled in this desire by being a DirtyCoward of an [[ArmchairMilitary Armchair General]].
* In ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', Doug is an incredibly incompetent doctor, but ends up causing so many deaths he is able to start a new career as a pathologist in the morgue identifying the cause of death of corpses that have other pathologists stumped.


[[folder: Music ]]

* The song ''Hollywood'' is about a talentless would-be actress who dreams of being a Hollywood superstar.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has a few examples:
** The [[PrestigiousPlayerTitle planeswalker]] Chandra Nalaar is the daughter of two renowned artificers on her home plane of [[SteamPunk Kaladesh]]. Chandra didn't have the patience for it. She eventually finds her talent in [[PlayingWithFire pyromancy]].
** The planeswalker Tibalt hails from the plane of [[GothicHorror Innistrad]], where he wanted to become a skabaren, a MadScientist specializing in [[FrankensteinsMonster stitching together zombies out of body parts]]. His failure in this field caused him to shift his focus to the pain of living beings.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* [[TheDitz Kitty]] from ''Theatre/TheDrowsyChaperone'' desperately wants to be a glamorous showgirl, but completely lacks the talent to do so.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Detective Dick Gumshoe from the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series is all heart and no deductive skills. That being said, he's not all that bad at fighting and has a wasted talent at engineering.


[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Brisbane Adams in ''Webcomic/YouSayItFirst's'' predecessor comic, ''Unlike Minerva''. Brisbane wanted all his life to be a part of a real-life Vaudeville theater. And he didn't let things like not being able to sing, dance, act, tell jokes or do magic tricks stop him.
* Christian Weston Chandler's great dream in life is to be a famous comic book artist who writes and draws his own property for a major publisher like Franchise/ArchieComics, Creator/DarkHorseComics, or what have you. Unfortunately, his magnum opus is ''Webcomic/{{Sonichu}}''.
* Cherry in WebComic/CherrysCure believes this about herself, and so do most other people.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'''s version of Basil Karlo could have been a world-famous actor...except for the fact that he didn't have the slightest bit of talent. The only work he could get was in cheesy low-rent horror movies, and he turned out to be far more effective at {{supervillain}}y as [[VoluntaryShapeshifting Clayface]] than he ever was as a legitimate actor.
* In ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'', one of Dale Gribble's dreams is to learn basket weaving and has the opportunity to on a "vocation vacation". He's absolutely horrible at it, which causes him a lot of angst. Things get worse when Hank's handiness and attention to detail put him top of the class, driving Dale into a [[GreenEyedMonster jealous rage.]]
* Squidward in ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' fashions himself as great artist and musician. But his art is unremarkable and are merely images of himself ([[StrawLoser which is not much]]). And his music is dreadful and sounds like a dying animal.
* The Pulverizer in ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012'' wants to be a ninja like the turtles, but he is terrible at it, and can't make a simple move right. He decides to let himself get doused in mutagen hoping to be mutant like the turtles; instead he becomes a shapeless blob monster.