Akin to a malfunctioning holodeck. When the doors open, you're drawn inside by a beautiful but imaginary scene: prestige, glamour, respect, and job security. After a few minutes, though, the holodeck generator shorts out and that beautiful scene vanishes: all you're left with is drudgery, self-loathing, depression, and the feeling that you're trapped in a dungeon for a crime you didn't commit. A state of mind as well as a state of being.
Sample sentence: I went to graduate school for ten years and all I got was this lousy diploma.