What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

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When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to become? I wanted to be a writer, and I feel lucky every day that that’s what I am. An interesting new survey asked what people around the world wanted to be as children. Men most often reported wanting to be a professional athlete, an airplane pilot, a scientist, lawyer or astronaut. Women remember wanting to be a teacher, a veterinarian, a writer, doctor, or singer. (See the infographic here.)

How about you? What did you want to be when you grew up, and did your dream come true?

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6 Responses to “What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?”

  1. I don’t remember having one specific idea about what I wanted to be when I grew up. At times, I probably would have said professional athlete, miniature golf course designer (!), or author… though in high school I had a time when I wanted to be a clinical psychologist. Of all those, author was the only one that happened for me–I’ve written several books.

    But here I like to think of Steve Jobs’s famous “connecting the dots backward” speech at Stanford University’s commencement. When I think of all of my childhood passions, it’s obvious (only now) that I was on a path where speedy creativity was totally essential to me. There are so many examples: I was always writing songs despite having minimal musical talent. I wrote a bunch of Mad Magazine-style comedy skits with sixth-grade friends and put on a school-wide performance with them… I remember having an assignment of writing my own Inuit myth and surprising myself by how easy it was to do it really well. Or I’d set out to write as many short poems as possible in, say, an hour.

    To put it another way, I didn’t know that there was such a job as “Director of Learning and Development” when I was a kid. I didn’t know that you could make a career out of instructional design, learning theory, teaching adults, and writing about it. Maybe if that job existed back then, I would have known exactly what I wanted to do!

    • anniempaul says:

      Such a good point, Scott–there are so many directions our careers may take that we have no inkling of as children. It’s good to know where you’re headed, but you’re bound to be surprised along the way, too.

  2. Barry Kort says:

    I wanted to do scientific research in a field related to electronic engineering. I was lucky enough to land a job in Telecommunications Network Planning, which morphed into a second career in online learning communities and volunteer work in informal science education. In the process, I became fascinated by the role of emotions in learning — a fascination that unexpectedly evolved into a novel theoretical model relating emotions to learning.

  3. cathy says:

    I remember wanting to be a marine biologist for the longest time – the influence of Jacques Cousteau and growing up along the coast was strong. Marine biology gave way to environmental engineer in high school. In the end, a love of chemistry, math, and practicality pushed me into chemical engineering. Still, my chemical engineering career was often focused on project that dealt with making processes better for the environment, and I still have a soft spot for marine biology documentaries.

  4. anniempaul says:

    I wonder how many people Jacques Cousteau has inspired! I remember those documentaries myself from my own childhood.

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