Weekend Question Thread

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I decided to be a writer when I was about 12. When I was very, very little, I wanted to be a doctor. If three and a half years of college left me feeling like an animal about to chew through the cage bars I can’t imagine what eight years would have felt like. Also, my idea of studying science is watching Mythbusters.


28 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. An archaeologist. Went on digs and everything. Then discovered that there was a lot of talk about neolithic hand axes which all looked the same to me, and switched to History. Now I’m a trainee social worker, go figure.

  2. I was going to be a vet (due mainly to a wild overindulgence of James Herriot in Jr. High). Fortunately, I love science and took the pre-vet slate. Unfortunately, I worked full time during undergrad and wasn’t able to maintain the A average demanded by most vet programs at that time. It was harder to get into vet school than med school in the 1980s.
    I was a photojournalist/features writer for a while. Kind of fun, but not something that appealed as a vocation.
    It’s taken me 20 years to figure it out, but I seem to be a half decent pastor and I’m happy doing it. I’ve even lost the urge to stick my arm up a cows rectum šŸ™‚

  3. Assuming I avoid any epic fail, I will be a doctor in a little more than 4 years? Of course, when I was a little kid I wanted to be a civil engineer.

  4. A farmer like my father and both grandfathers. Alas, I was allergic to just about everything on the damned farm, and almost died from asthma a couple times. My father became ill with severe arthritis, and so we moved off the farm, which probably saved my life since treatment for asthma back then was to basically wait it out and head for the oxygen tent at the hospital when things got critical. It was probably all for the best in the end; farming’s a good way to go crazy. But, usually this time of year when the harvest’s coming in, I look at those lovely corn and soy bean fields and figure I coulda been a contender…

  5. Like left rev, I wanted to be a vet – I read every James Herriot book I could get my hands on, as well as anything else with an animal in it (Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, etc.). Then I realized that I couldn’t stand the sight of blood, nor the idea of having to put animals down.
    I stayed in science, and still work with animals, I just study wild animals in their natural environments now instead of pets. Athenae, grad school is completely different – undergrad was mostly boring (though MUCH better than high school). I’m loving the PhD programs – especially now that I’m done with classes and am being paid (sort of) to do what I love – be in the field doing research.

  6. In fourth grade (when I can first recall career aspirations), we were at the ballet watching my Aunt perform. My Uncle’s mom asked me during the intermission if I, too wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up. I looked up at her over my Cadbury chocolate bar and said “No, I want to be a paleontologist when I grow up!” She was apparently unaware of just what that was and that a word that large came out of a 9 year old! Of course I also wanted to be a cake decorator at that time, too – but I didn’t see why I couldn’t do both. So, here I am mumble-something years later and instead of digging up dinos I am designing cube farms, but at least I have the cake bit alive and kicking somewhat. So, not too bad, and I have hope for my future.

  7. When I was six, I told my mother I wanted to work at Taco Bell when I grew up.
    My aspirations remained modest–I flirted briefly with the idea of being a park ranger (and even went to Alaska for my first year in college with that in mind). Then I took my first college-level history class, and changed my major, but I didn’t think I wanted to teach. I didn’t know what I really wanted to do till I was 32, and I stood in front of a class full of freshmen for the first time and pulled history out of my ass. šŸ˜‰ And I said, “This is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.”
    Still trying to make that my full-time job. Sigh…

  8. the first career aspiration I ever expressed aloud was, I am told, a desire to be the caretaker for the elephants at the San Antonio zoo. (said declaration was apparently made about 10 minutes after riding one of said elephants.
    As to the various career decisions between mahout and my current gig as a research administrator, that’s a long list.

  9. When I was a kid I wanted to be the next Juan Marichal only one who spoke English.(Hall of fame pitcher for the SF Giants.) Then I wanted to be a rock star. Neither of them worked out: my fastball is clocked at 50 mph or less so I couldn’t get arrested for speeding.

  10. As a kid I was addicted to playing with blocks and doll houses (not the dolls mind you) and by 7 dreamed of being an architect…while I went to school for that and yet never licensed, in every single job I have had in a 30 year plus career architecture has been a part of it. The culmination was my building my own house (in which I live) by hand…passion or talent I will not say. But it has been with me all along the way.

  11. So many things:
    -a crossing guard, because my grandmother was one. When I was very small, she watched me during the day while my parents were at work, and I went with her while she helped the kids cross the street before and after school.
    -a dolphin trainer. Blame a trip to the New England Aquarium in first grade.
    -an Egyptologist. Blame the Ramses II exhibit at the Museum of Science when I was in second grade. I still kind of wish I’d gone after that one.
    -a teacher. I even started going for my degree in Secondary Education, but I realized early on that it wasn’t what I was cut out for. I wonder now and then if I was just overwhelmed and should have stuck with it.
    -a writer. Never gave up on that one, never will. Which ties in to…
    -a bookseller. My first job in high school (does high school count?) was in a bookstore. From there, I got a job in the book industry. I don’t think I could ever leave it. I’ve dreamed of owning a bookstore for a long time. Someday it might happen.

  12. I don’t remember ever expressing a preference when I was a kid. My mother claims she was convinced I’d grow up to be a writer, but I don’t believe her, considering how many things my parents tried to get me interested in when I was little. “Wouldn’t you want to be a veterinarian? Youlove animals…” “Yeah, but I’d cry every time I had to put one down, and I hate blood.” My dad even told me once that I’d be a good diplomat because I liked languages, and then was very offended when I told him that if I became a diplomat, I’d probably wind up causing an international incident…
    I was not a typical kid in a lot of ways. I think my parents found this incomprehensible, because both of them eventually became what they’d wanted to be whenthey grew up.

  13. Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
    A. Taller

    But seriously folks…
    I didn’t want to grow up. Still don’t. Too damn much responsibility being an adult. I practically kill myself with stress when I try.
    However as a child I said I wanted to be these things (they were listed in my scrap book)
    a nuclear physicist (It was the Atomic age!)
    a geologist (I liked shiny rocks)
    I think I also wanted to be an entertainer,
    specifically a ventriloquist. I practiced for hours in front of a mirror. I had my own dummy. Stash O’Casey. I loved the Red Skelton show.
    I loved science but wasn’t smart enough or good enough with the math and at the time, all “real” science involved math. (This was because of physics seen as “real” science and biology or other kinds of science as low rent. I liked to read (esp science fiction) but was terrible at grammar and spelling, so anything that had to do with writing was ruled out.
    I love hearing these stories about future careers and I think that one thing people don’t realize is how hard it is for kids to understand what they CAN do with the talents they have or the things they are interested in. I think the program, “Take our daughters to work”, is a brilliant idea that exposes kids to lots of kinds of work. The next one should be, “Take your friend’s kid to work”, so that you can expose your kid to different kinds of work.
    I’m in awe of the brain power and talent of the people who hang out here. In real life they use their education and skills to do some amazing stuff. I think that is why I like blogging. There is no pressure to be perfect and “professional” although I still try to be.
    Growing up I believed the line of one of my high school teachers regarding work. “If you don’t like to do it they pay you. If you like to do it you pay them.” This line, and my belief in it, has had a very detrimental impact on my life.
    I hit a point in my life where I was paid to do something that I didn’t totally like, but I kept doing it even when I was very tired of doing it. (Benefits!) I kept doing it until I physically crashed. My body said, “If you aren’t going to stop doing this we are going to physically stop you.”
    Then I did something I liked, was good at and paid well. It was great! But I felt guilty, it was too fun and I got paid well–clearly this was wrong! My core belief was/is that “If you don’t like to do it they pay you. If you like to do it you pay them.” and by god I was going to prove that core belief right!
    Luckily the dot com crash came along to prove to me that I couldn’t enjoy what I did and get paid. This is something that a booming economy allows, people to do what they like and make a decent living wage. When we have a contracting economy people have to do what they can. The powers that be don’t want a workforce that is picky. They hate to pay people more to do stuff. That is why they chase cheap labor around the globe.
    If people start wanting work to be better or pay more they get “uppity”. The phrase, wage slave, is very relevant. Expecting more from a job is something that happens when workers think it is possible. The really rich understand this and want to keep the people anxious.
    People who are needy will put up with all sorts of sh*t. Think about all the people who might be able to do a job they love if they had health care. That transition would upset the applecart for many powerful organizations. The businesses would have to go back to giving the workers something ELSE to keep them coming in.
    “We’ll give you some more fun stuff to do! We’ll help with child care!”
    the business owners will have to say.
    In the US by an accident of history health care started as a perk that businesses offered to get and keep good workers. If it became a right, that couldn’t be snatched away if the worker was fired, businesses would have to come up with other perks to keep workers.
    Smarter businesses understand this, and they are fine with it, if fact, they want it. Look at how hard auto manufacturers worked to keep a plant in Canada.
    Universal health care will make America more competitive in the global marketplace, it will reduce the cost of goods sold because the total burden of healthcare costs will be removed from business.
    How did this go from “What did you want to be when you grew up?” to a discussion of health care? Because it’s all about work. And a child’s view of work vs an adult view of work. What keeps us from realizing our dreams?
    When your dream becomes a job you like. does that make it a dream job, or have you just lowered your standards because you’re afraid to hope for too much?
    Obama brought us back hope. Hope is a scary thing to the status quo and the people in power. Hope can be a scary thing for an adult who has seen dreams smashed and hope denied. There is a great fear of reaching out in hope when there are so many people who want your hope to fail. A child can still afford to believe in hope. I’m glad that one child in Hawaii believed:
    “I can grow up to be President!”

  14. 1) a poet
    2) an artist
    3) an aviatrix
    4) a ship captain
    A bit O/T – when my little sister was in “sharing circle” in preschool, and they were discussing their parents’ careers, E. didn’t really understand what Dad did for a living (lawyer), so she told everyone that he had the coolest job that her 4 y.o. brain could imagine: that he drove a truck for McDonalds.

  15. I started out being sure I would be a pro basketball player, but my height topped out at 5’10”, so that was out. Then I wanted to be an author, but I couldn’t think of anything to write. I knew I didn’t want to be a common laborer, having watched the guys pushing wheelbarrows full of concrete.
    So, I went to college, figuring that would keep wheelbarrows out of my future. I still had no idea what I wanted to be. My first roommate, a year ahead of me was taking pre-engineering courses, so he told me that’s what I wanted to be. I had no idea what an engineer was.
    I’m now retired after about 35 years as an engineer.
    The moral of this story is, listen to your first college roommate.

  16. A drummer in a rock band. I wanted to be Peter Criss in 1976. These days, even though I don’t get paid for it, I’m the drummer for two local Christian rock bands. If either band ever got signed to a record contract, I’d pile my family into the tour bus and hit the road. My day job as a college English and philosophy instructor is intellectually satisfying and pays most of the bills, but there’s nothing in life for me quite like making music.

  17. I just remembered what my little sister wanted to be when she grew up. In first grade, the kids all had to draw pictures of their future profession, and hers had quite a crowd around it on open house. My dad went over to see it and was bombarded with all kinds of questions. Apparently, she wanted to be a table dnacer and had drawn a pretty fair representation of an exotic dancer šŸ™‚
    She’s a banker now. Go figure.

  18. Initially, when I found that I could sing from imitating Helen Reddy on the “Best of” 8-track tape my grandparents owned (one of only three in their massive 8-track collection that I could stand – to give you and idea, most of their tapes were of Perry Como. ZZZZzzzzzz…), I wanted to be a singer. Then I wanted to be a visual artist, specifically, in college, I found that glassworking was IT for me…until I worked that to death with a seriously underpaid, enslaving job managing a gallery, production glassblowing, packing and shipping it all out, and water-carrying for the Steinbrenner-ish person I worked for. None of the above mentioned folks I wanted to be (or became) included the prospect of motherhood. I thought that had been drilled out of me seeing my nearly-fifteen-years-younger brother in the early stages of his life and hearing about all the stuff my parents went through with nearly every stage of his development. Oh, no not me…
    …I think about it now, as I struggle to get my five-year-old son into bed.

  19. …first I wanted to be Sky King, except with an entirely different relationship with Penny, who would not have been my niece or in any other way a blood relative.
    Yes, I was a randy little fellow.
    Then I wanted to be a brave, heroic soldier. That lasted until my father, a staunchly Republican World War II combat vet, explained to me at a fairly young age during the early years of watching Vietnam on TV at dinner-time that what we were watching didn’t properly balance the raw, attractive excitement of the movie/TV version of heroic combat with the moral conflict of killing another man who was trying to return the favor and the brutal reality of dragging your dead best friends back behind the line…
    Later, I wanted to be a person who wandered under the tall trees of the mountainous West, doing good deeds for the small furry woodland creatures, rescuing the lost and providing aid to the forlorn wildland traveler, and bravely fighting that evil demon Wild Fire, all the while being followed by a faithful collie dog. Yes, I wanted to beRanger Corey Stuart of the mid-’60’s portion of the “Lassie” franchise…
    I don’t have – haven’t ever had, actually, and don’t plan on having – a faithful collie, and many progressives of my acquaintance would undoubtedly offer stiff objection to any attempt I might make to claim that I have properly redeemed any aspect of that latter dream (innocent trees have died, after all), but I did actually become what has been over time referred to as a forest ranger. So, despite the profoundly different world in which I live than the one portrayed to me forty years ago, I guess I ended up being what I wanted to be when I grew up…

  20. Actor, especially after I met/became friends with Tony Kushner…after circumstances changed, academic, but I didn’t have the discipline…probably good, because discipline would’ve only made the frustration more intense…right now, I’ve got the job I guess I’m suited for…

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