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Why You Should Take Your Childhood Dream Job Seriously

Career Advice |

To be totally honest, I can’t exactly remember what I wanted to be when I grew up. I definitely didn’t dream about being in H.R. or recruiting, or running a career advice site.  I actually don’t think I realized those careers existed until I got to college and started studying psychology. Even then, I had no idea that they would be for me.

Though my exact “dream job” wasn’t clear to me at a young age, my work “style” and approach was glaring from the time I was eight years old.  A few months ago I got a text from my mom with this picture:

In case you’re having trouble interpreting my spelling, it is a list of “spa” services I typed out with corresponding prices. I remembered the whole “operation” immediately! To keep costs low, I would collect the free lotions and other items from hotels and arrange them on a shelf for the spa. I then hired one employee, my five-year-old sister, and paid her one cent for helping with (or maybe fully doing) each spa service. The rest of the money was profit!

Confirmed by my parents, I was always looking for an angle, a scheme, a way to make things better, and a way to be successful.  That approach always has been ingrained in me and has come through in every job I’ve had.

LinkedIn was interested in knowing how many people actually carried through with their childhood dream job goals. They surveyed more than 8,000 professionals globally, and found that just 8.9 percent currently work in their childhood dream job, though another 21 percent say they at least work in a career that relates to their original dream job.

In my first job, the fact that we had to send thousands of onboarding packets by FedEx each year frustrated me.  I researched, I dug for solutions, and I eventually proposed a way to make the entire process electronic (we ended up doing exactly that).  There were quite a few thankful team members and many hours and dollars saved. I noticed that this type of investigation and problem-solving became a pattern.  Again, I was looking for angles, looking to make things easier and better.

Anyone who looked at that price list or was a guest at my “spa” also probably realized that I had an entrepreneurial bug inside me.  Finally, after six years of owning projects on a mini scale at great companies, I couldn’t fight the bug and decided to launch a business.

Launching The Prepary gave me the same excitement as my little misspelled entrepreneurial endeavors I took on as a kid. It’s funny how, early on, you show such clear signs of what you love to do. So if you’re feeling lost in your career, call your parents, or your childhood friends, and have them remind you of the things you loved and chased as a kid.  Maybe it won’t be relevant at all… But maybe it will remind you of your true calling.

What was your childhood dream job? Tell us in the comments!

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career path career 2 dream job getting the job

11 Comments

This is an interesting angle on career aspirations. I wanted to be an actress when I grew up, and at 16, I actually went after that dream. After realizing it wasn't for me, I left to pursue my education and now work as a consultant in cloud tech (talking about dancing to a different drum). What's funny is that the performing bug, even if its not on stage, has followed me. I love giving presentations and being in front of a group. But now I just wear business casual attire rather than a costume!!

3y

I LOVE how Jamie talks about know knowing her dream "job" but knowing her dream "style"! As a professional who's on the longer side of 5 years and already "entrenched" in her career, it's time to make a change and in searching for that "dream job" I'm a bit lost of what I'm even looking for but this reminder of following my childhood work "style" really helps! Great article!

3y

I love the idea of learning your work 'style' from your childhood dream job. I don't remember ever having a set 'dream job' as a kid (unless Hogwarts student counts), but I can certainly see traits that are still present in my approach to law school!

3y

I love this! I remember dreaming of doing everything when I was a kid... astronaut, singer/songwriter, professional athlete... to this day I have a million "dream jobs" and goals spinning in my head. Time to pick (a few) and go for it!

3y

I love this. I had many dream jobs—astronaut, interior decorator, model, ballet dancer—but I always loved reading. When I discovered magazines, the game was up. It allowed me to become a mini expert on everything! And, I'm happy to report, I am following my childhood dream.

3y

Megan, I love that! Congrats on pursuing your dream. I just checked out your etsy page and think it's amazing!

3y

You are right! I've always been an idealist & artist - I shifted from princess to Broadway star to writer to missionary.

Today, I write & design marketing material for a company that saves lives and I run my handmade refashioned jewelry business at http://NewEveJewelry.etsy.com!

3y

In first grade, I wrote to my mom that I wanted to be an "astronot" - we still laugh about it!

3y

Embarrassingly I told my parents I wanted to be a garbage man when I grew up!!! However, I guess it shows my desire to be active & serve others

3y

@collegeprepster that makes total sense!! so funny how much we know when we're young

3y
Carly Heitlinger

In 8th grade, I wanted to be a magazine editor!! ;)

3y
The Prepary

Jaime is the Founder of The Prepary, an online resource providing honest and accessible job search advice based on her past experience in the recruiting world. She also works with job seekers one-on-one to help them land their dream job or internship. Prior to starting The Prepary, Jaime worked as a Recruiter in both the Fashion & Finance industries and got her BA in Psychology from NYU.