Inside: What did you want to be when you grew up? An invitation to keep figuring it out!
“Jack, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“A firefighter, or a doctor.”
“That’s awesome, buddy! What do you think Norah is going to be when she grows up?”
That seems about right.
Where People’s Jobs Go?
Jack then proceeded to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told him that my job was to help people find their jobs, because I had about two seconds to explain my employment in higher education career services to my two year old before he wandered off looking for crackers.
(Another thoughtful pause)
“Where people’s jobs go? Mommy find them?”
And then we got into a whole big thing about technology, outsourcing, and the changing economic landscape, realized that we had vastly different views on renewable energy and climate change, and haven’t spoken since.
But come on, how cute is that? He thought the jobs were missing like the pretend cookie from his picnic set or all of his socks. And even better, he must have imagined me as this awesome detective out searching the city for the jobs. I’m basically Olivia Benson now so all my dreams have come true.
When I Grow Up
Olivia Benson or not, I do love my job in career services. It’s rewarding, challenging, and the people are incredible. Day to day I have the opportunity to empower others to build a life they love. It’s powerful stuff.
It’s not what I originally wanted to be when I grew up though. I wanted to be a Food Decorator.
Go ahead, tell me that’s not a thing like my parents did so many years ago crushing my dreams. (Note: I had this dream for about 45 seconds while on a cruise because I thought the sauce on the plates looked pretty. My dreams weren’t crushed, I’m fine.)
But did I let my parents know that I really wasn’t that broken up about the fact that they said being a Food Decorator wasn’t really a job and that I would probably have to also cook the food? Of course not, because I’m horrible. Instead I bring it up semiannually, dramatically lamenting about how I’ve let the world pass me by because I didn’t pursue Food Decoration. And when others talk about times when they didn’t feel supported by their parents, I fall back on this story because I’ve had a very privileged life of leisure sans actual story-worthy issues.
It’s a real wonder that Merm and Pop even like me.
Finding Your Dream Job
Food decorator wasn’t the only creative career I considered as a kid. I also wanted to be an artist. I wrote a lot of terrible poetry. And eventually, I wanted to be in marketing.
There are really key themes there that I hadn’t considered until falling in love with career coaching taught me to further consider deep-seated interests. Those key themes of creativity, sharing a message, and presenting something new to the world led me to combine my love of interpersonal relationships and career development with a creative outlet of writing.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Really think about what was driving those dreams. Are those motivations still there as an adult? If you’re curious, I’d love for you to check out the 100 Jobs Exercise and see what comes up for you. In this career development exercise, you choose 12 jobs that are most exciting to you from a list of 100 and then work to find themes, dynamic tensions, and images that arise. You might surprise yourself with what is lying just beneath the surface.
Oh, and so we are clear. If you want to be Batman. Be Batman. Always be Batman.