What DoYou Want to be When You Grow Up?


One day, I asked a full-grown adult what he wanted to be when he grew up. He laughed and said, “I don’t guess anyone has ever asked me that question.”

“Really? Not even your teachers back in grade school?”

“Nope.” He said contemplating.

I was shocked. I was always being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Naturally, my answer would changed over the years as I was an overly-ambitious little shit.

“Did someone tell you what you were going to do when you grew up?” I asked.

“Well, my dad said I would take over the family business. Guess he didn’t care what I wanted to do.”

I hate people telling me what to do. If I want to go drive a big truck, I’m going to go drive a big truck, and if I want to go save endangered species in the Amazon, by George, you know what I’m going to do…

If my dad ever had told me I was going to take over the farm, I would have told him tough cookies, I’m going to be a writer. But I guess he saved that one for my younger brother, who did take it over, but then again, that’s what he knew and loved to do even when he was a tot, so it was a natural fit for him.

I began asking all sorts of people if they were ever asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. A shocking number of them said, “No, no one has ever asked me that.” I can’t imagine growing up having no dreams or aspirations.

Most of these people were told by their parents what they were going to do, and those with less involved parents said they just kind of stumbled into whatever job they had. Either way, I see this as losing who they could have been.

So, my question is: Have you ever been asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? What did you want to do and are you doing it now? How would things be different if you had/had not ever been asked?

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