What did you want to be when you grew up?

I was having a conversation with someone earlier about how they felt about their current job and they replied that it was nothing like what they’d wanted to be growing up. In formative years they wanted to be a fire fighter but didn’t have the physique to go with it, then in teenage years wanted to do something in mechanics/engineering but was told by their school career adviser that that would be a waste of their academic talent. Then they thought they might go into law but only lasted a term in A levels before deciding it wasn’t for them. Now they find themselves in a low paid 9-5 office admin role which isn’t terribly fulfilling.

We talked around opportunities for retraining and doing something more in line with their creative side but it seemed all the enthusiasm had been sapped out of them.

When I was little, and during teenage years I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I still don’t. I have developed into the roles that I’ve had, adapted to the surroundings and been responsible for my own re-education. I wasn’t terribly academic at school and didn’t, and still don’t have, a real vocation in life. I work in areas that I seem to be pretty good at and had opportunities based on past performance and being in the right place at the right time. I would never had said as a younger me, “oh I want to do that job when I’m older“. I doubt whether I would even have known the job I currently do was even a thing.

Our daughter at one point wanted to be a forensic scientist and took all the necessary subjects at GCSE to enable her to take that further. Then an opportunity arrived which put her behind a camera lens. And she found her thing. She was and is effortlessly good at it and pursued it as a career option taking the subject at A level, then going on to study it at university. Sadly, making a career out of photography is exceptionally hard so she’s opted for a more conventional job and keeps her photography skills honed as her hobby. She seems to be doing pretty well in her chosen career at the moment which shows that if you are determined enough, you can progress.

I do wonder whether careers advice sessions are actually useful if they dissuade you from following your dreams and don’t actually have the full gambit of jobs in their basket. No career advisor would have told me I’d be better suited to the job I’m in, for sure.

My advice, for what its worth and what I told our daughter, is to do something you enjoy doing and the rest will come.

I’m still waiting to find out what it is I want to be when I grow up.


2 thoughts on “What did you want to be when you grew up?

  1. Well apparently at the age of 4, a time I don’t remember, we were in church one Sunday when I suddenly point to the Vicar in the pulpit and, in my high squeaky loud child’s voice, said ‘I want to be a Vicar like him.’
    But of course I wanted to be a pilot 😂 In fact I wanted to be ANYTHING except a Vicar! What did I become? Oh yeah, I became a Vicar 😳


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