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What Do You Want to Be?

Today I was chatting with my son about the various jobs which grown ups do - so of course I just had to ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up. His first answer? SpongeBob SquarePants! I suggested maybe he meant he'd like to work in a restaurant like SpongeBob - but apparently not. He gave me his best 'Mummy don't be stupid stare' and informed me that he actually wanted to *be* SpongeBob. Silly me :)

Later on I was wondering; what do children want to be when they grow up?

I hit up Google and stumbled across this little gem. It's from the CBBC chat forum. Hot on the heels of a report which suggested that there's not much help offered in schools to assist children in deciding upon a career, they asked what kind of job would the children like to do when they're older.

Over 150 children commented on the thread. The comments are wonderfully entertaining to read.

Here's my favourite:

I want to compete in the Olympics at every sport apart from swimming, my sister can do that."


- Molly, aged 9.

Fabulous, huh?


They also made for pretty interesting reading. I decided to do a bit of quick and dirty analysis. Of course, this is by no means a representative sample so I'm not sure you could draw any real conclusions from it, but here goes!


60% mentioned just one career
20% mentioned two possibilities
8% mentioned three possibilities
4% mentioned four or more possibilities
8% said they weren't sure

In terms of what was mentioned:



21% Music/Dance/Drama
17% Medicine
15% Teaching
13% Writing/Journalism
12% Working with animals
6% Fashion Design
6% Police
6% Sport
5% Law
5% Art
4% Mechanic/Engineer
3% Pilot
3% Tourism
3% Banking/Accounting
2% Architecture
2% Interior Design
2% Politics
2% Hairdressing
1% Modelling
1% Retail
1% Social Work
1% Web Design
1% Librarian
1% Firefighting
1% Astronaut

Interesting, given how web savvy our children are, that only 1% mentioned a career online!


I was really pleased to see that, while a performing career appeals (it's always a popular choice), this was closely followed in terms of popularity by medicine, teaching, writing and journalism.

It was also pleasing to see that being 'famous' didn't feature particularly heavily - perhaps we're moving away from the celebrity obsessed culture? Or perhaps more accurately at least, these children are. I was also pleased to see that so few dreamed of being a model - not that I think that there's anything wrong with being a model per se - just that I worry that in addition to being fame-obsessed we're also somewhat obsessed with looks.

So, what do you think of the results? What do your children want to be when they grow up? Do you too have a budding SpongeBob on your hands?

Image credit Horia Varlan




Leave a comment

    From Lucy Quick
    Hi Mummy Zen - hope you had a lovely holiday!

    Yes, I know what you mean re the Music/Dance/Drama equating to 'fame' - but very few actually mentioned 'being famous' as being a key ambition; which I was pleased to see. Fame for fame's sake worries me a bit!
    From Mummy Zen
    Very interesting! I'm quite surprised Fireman only got 1%. Whilst they do seem to steer clear of being famous as you say, maybe Music/Dance/Drama means they want to be a popstar/actor and become famous? Maybe not though.

    When my son is old enough to tell me his idea of what he wants to be, I'll be excited to hear it!
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