What does your childhood dream job say about you?

Illustration: Lili Szarvas

Every student who is on the verge of freaking out about the huge decision of “whatcha wanna be when you finish university?” has given thought to the origin of their potential plan. Remember when, as a kid, you dressed up as a superhero, a wizard, or successfully solved a scavenger hunt and felt no doubt about becoming the next Sherlock Holmes? Or were you one of those children walking around with an empty suitcase? The one who would put their elder sibling’s shoes on and dance after the twirling movement of the music box figurine? Or did you want to become a firefighter, a clown, a princess, an astronaut? Our dream jobs change as we get older and never stop developing, but our childhood dreams tend to still characterize and resonate with us today. This is because they often reflect not only the environment we feel safe in and familiar with, but also a crucial facet of our personality. So what does your childhood dream job say about you? Is it in any way related to what people end up devoting their lives to or is it more of an unrealistic point of guidance to keep avoiding up until we are out of options?

In kindergarten, my dad used to wait all day for the garbage truck because he found the thrill of jumping up and down from the narrow edge at the back of the van fascinating. Now, he works in media and advertising, which might seem a bit abstract to originate from garbage trucks, but if you think about it, what are the core elements of modern society? Both actual trash and media products - such as news and ads - circulate daily in a data system, containing information about the lives of everyone. What my dad found fascinating about both of these professions is his potential role in this ecology: the mediator between the recipients and the system itself, with the thrill of a constantly changing environment.

My mom, my second case study today, fell in love with the white aprons that waitresses wear and the way they help whoever enters the building - now, she is a doctor. Here, what is inherent about her nature is the joy of not just helping others in need, but achieving this while rocking a uniform that shows what you are here to do. And finally, the example of my brother is a bit less far-fetched: he has always been drawn to protecting everything that was connected to nature. For instance, my tendency to step on an ant or place a cup over a vicious-looking spider would enrage him to his core. Today, he is pursuing a career in eco-innovation ad sustainability.

Even though I know that kids' initial inspiration for their dream job often just reflects the wish to conform to the expectations of society and their environment, I cannot stop thinking about these examples in my family, which prove that there is a remote connection between what you idolize as a kid and where your career leads.

Therefore, I guess what I am trying to express here is that if you feel uneasy about which path your future goes, just think about what your most genuine 8 year-old self aspired to be. It may not make much sense, but at least you’ll have a back-up plan. And more importantly, maybe we should forget about the never-ending puzzle of whether we want to be clowns, firefighters, princesses, or doctors – that can change. It is more valuable to let go of who you should be and rather, figure out where you want to be and with whom by your side.