What do you want to be when you grow up?

Published October 28, 2009

When I was younger, I wanted to be a firefighter. Then I wanted to be a singer. Then I wanted to be a teacher.

Now, I am not any of those things. I may not be sure about the career I have landed myself with, but I do not wish to be a firefighter or a singer or a teacher.

A recent news item I read suggests that children as young as seven could start being given careers advice in the hopes that it might raise their dreams of the future.

From the article:

The programme, which aims to broaden the horizons and raise the aspirations of children from deprived backgrounds, is to be piloted in seven local areas.

Universities and firms will give pupils a glimpse of what it is like working and learning in adulthood.

I have two issues with this. Firstly, as mentioned above, when I was seven, I had ridiculous ideas about the future. When you are seven it is all dreams and fantasy because there is no need to know what real life is like then.

When discussing this with a colleague of mine, she said when she was seven, she wanted to live/work in a submarine. A few months later, she got stuck in a lift, freaked out, and has been claustrophobic ever since. Not much call for claustrophobic submarine operators. Things change drastically when you are young, what is the point in trying to pin you down to one thing?

Which leads nicely to my second point. Careers advice sucks. I had one appointment with my careers advisor. I told her that I liked English and writing. She said I should work with numbers, and pushed for my work experience placement to be at a bank or in an office.

These days, I do work with numbers but I wish I had gone the English route instead. Thanks a bunch. Imagine what damage they could have done if they’d got to me at age seven.

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