What Your Childhood Dream Job Reveals About Your Ideal Career Later in Life
A dancer, a singer, a fireman, an astronaut. We all remember those early career aspirations, but whether they came true or not, they do reveal a lot about us, and what we desire in a career.
As a little girl I always wanted to be a dancer, to perform all over the world and tell people a story through actions not words. I wanted to draw people in and make them feel all sorts of emotions; so I took up many classes and tried very hard to make my dream career work.
As I grew older I started to understand that my career aspiration was unrealistic for the level of which I was at, but it lead to me to realise what I longed for in a dream job. I learnt that I had to be surrounded by people, that my career goals had to centre on creating something that others can learn from or take away the message I shared. As a grown up I found that my future career in the field of marketing will give me that passion I wanted to express as a dancer. What does yours?
It may not seem it, but 30% of people end up working in the career they dreamed of as a kid
30% of people end up working in the career they dreamed of as kid, I consider those of us who weren’t able to have the dream career path to be luckier as changing your long-term goals can lead to revelations about your ideal career as a grown up.
LinkedIn career expert Nicole Williams says that if we can identify and understand the thinking and passion behind our childhood dream job, it can become the “key to improving our performance and enjoyment of the jobs we currently do, even if they aren’t specific to the careers we dreamed of as kids.” The career choices we make about our current job as adults may be about creating a work-life balance or having a flexible schedule in which you can operate. Whilst our career goals we had as children may be unrealistic now, here are 3 ways in which your childhood dream job can reveal the ideal career you’re able to reach.
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It can reveal your passions, talents and even limitations
“The dream jobs we aspire to as children are a window into our passions and talents” states Nicole Williams, the perfect job at a young age is all about having fun and enjoying what you do.
This type of passion can be reflected into adulthood as many of us keep similar interests we had as a child. For example a marine biologist may have grown up with a special interest in marine life as they visited the aquarium regularly, studying science in high school may have come as a talent and thus a future career is formed.
On the other end of the spectrum many children believe a career in singing would be amazing, but overtime they learn they are not very good at singing and therefore its not an ideal career to aspire to. The dreams we had as children reveal talents, passions and even limitations on what we can achieve and can be something to learn from.
Demonstrates the type of environment you dream of working in
Everyone thrives in different environments, many of us prefer to work alone and keep to them, some prefer to work with others and have a high level of interaction whilst other people consider themselves to be in-between. Those who have careers as teachers and nurses/doctors for example will find themselves remembering a dream job that required high levels of interaction with people. Childhood dreams of being an artist, pilot and astronaut describes an environment with low levels of interaction and you may find people with these dreams in a similar environment in their current job.
It reveals who you were most influenced, and inspired by
Career coach Meridith Haberfeld states “When we’re small most of us have a limited idea of what’s out there… It is shaped by the exposure we have”. Family, friends, movies, music and even books inspire children in different ways and can help even form a career aspiration.
Our dream jobs can be influenced by the circumstances we are put through as a child and by whom we are involved with in those situations. For example a study by Melissa Croft (University of British Columbia) looked at the division of labour at home and how this formed a girl’s identities in gender roles.
If the father were to demonstrate a belief in gender quality (by ensuring equal distribution of domestic chores) then the daughter would make a career choice considered to be gender neutral. If an everyday norm around the house can predict ‘their daughters career aspirations’ then a child is exposed to so many different aspects that can change their mind about what their dream job is. What do you believe you were most influenced by?
Sometimes we can take the passion and excitement we had as a child and bring it into our company culture and work environment. We can take aspects of our upbringing and ensure it has a part in the new job you’re striving for or even in every day life. Research by surveys and career coaches have found that we choose our careers based on who we are influenced by and our passions and interests as a child. Furthermore we can learn from our childhood dream job what work life balance we are looking for and the type of environment we wish to work in.
So take a minute to think, what did you want to be when you were younger and what does it reveal about your current job?