As kids, most of us thought about the future. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I’m sure there are a few other people who might’ve said some crazy things; that we later found out weren’t all that great after all.
The greatest part about being a kid looking towards adulthood is the ability to dream wildly, and having the upper hand in reaching those dreams. When the primary consideration is what you WANT and not what you NEED, real passion and aspirations can flourish.
So then we got curious. What did people want to be when they grew up? Would people actually tell us? How do the answers vary across age groups? When will we finally call it ready? Where are we going to put the results? Oh wait, we’re already here.
We asked 1,529 people what they wanted to be when they grew up. They gave us 191 different responses and a ton of great comments!
Top 10 Things That Kids Wanted To Be
“I did become a teacher! 5 years in one city and 20 years in another, until I retired.”
“I decided against it once I realized I could never deal with the loss of an animal.”
“CNA for 7 years.”
“Retired after 25.5 years with the Colorado Springs Police Department.”
“No I did not. The 70s was not a good time to be a police officer in NYC.”
“My latest novel was just released. Entitled Wait For It, it’s a romcom set in Phoenix, it’s my 48th book and probably my next NYT bestseller.”
“Yes and no. Had to write a lot in my job, but never wrote the great novel.”
Top 10 Childhood Career Dreams Chart
The top 10 make up 50.8% (776) of all responses received.
112 Things We Consider Life Goals
Here are a few things people told us they wanted to be when they grew up that we consider life goals. A Good Human, A Leader, Alive, An Adult, Father, Mother, Happy, Important, Famous, In Charge, Retired, Rich, Self Made, Successful.
People Want To Help!
Did you notice that the top 10 is full of jobs that help people?
|Doctor||Helps sick people||Writer||Helps share imagination|
|Teacher||Helps people learn||Police Officer||Helps protect & serve|
|Pilot||Helps us arrive safely||Firefighter||Helps save life & property|
|Lawyer||Helps one side||Veterinarian||Helps animals|
|Nurse||Helps sick people||Astronaut||Helps research potential|
While this may not be the primary motivation for everyone, the overlap is clear.
51.3% (785 People) Wanted To Be Helpers*
- Police Officer
- Flight Attendant
- School Counselor
- Physical Therapist
- Social Worker
*In the case of "helpers", we count responses that made it into our helper category and it may not be all-inclusive. In reality, like on the top 10 table above, this argument could really be made about anything since, without a benefactor, there is no motivation to become anything.
More Childhood Dreams
Ballerina (19 people)
“Yes! I did. I danced for San Francisco Ballet for 6 years until sadly, I was injured badly in a car accident in which my back was broken. It took nearly a year in bed just to be able to walk around at an almost normal pace, and that was for a very young person who was in top physical condition.”
Non-Ballerina Professional Athlete (58 people)
- Athlete (4)
- Baseball Player (30)
- Basketball Player (3)
- Football Player (13)
- Hockey Player (5)
- Professional Athlete (3)
Individually, none of these made the cut for the top 10 but it was so close. #10 Pilot (31) vs Baseball Player (30). Like happens all too often in sports, none of these dream futures made the cut.
“No, but the love of the game continues 50 years later.”
“I sucked at sports.”
Marine Biologist (16 people)
This one made my list at some point during childhood. I was in for the exciting parts like helping animals but other than that, it wasn’t a good match at all.
“Turns out I didn’t love biology.”
Top 3 Responses – Female & Male
Gender Breakdown of Top 10 Responses
|I want to be a…||Female||Male|
|7. Police Officer||1.1%||4.9%|
Top 5 Responses from 1,079 People by Age Group
People Born 1997-2003: 51 Responses
People Born 1987-1996: 167 Responses
People Born 1977-1986: 194 Responses
People Born 1967- 1976: 218 Responses
People Born 1957-1966: 251 Responses
People Born Prior to 1956: 198 Responses
Fun Survey Responses
6 people said they wanted to be dinosaurs! No one added further detail about their species of choice.
Becoming a Paleontologist was mentioned 7 times but no one responded that they also became one.
Meteor identifier was one of the many unique responses we received. Poor dinosaurs 🙁
Close with a Laugh!
No, all the ditches had been dug.~Aspired to be a Ditch Digger
I wanted to be Britney Spears. I am not Britney.~Still a Fan
Professional Web Survey Answerer~A Real Dreamer