Only 6% of People Get the Jobs They Wanted as Kids

We apologize in advance, this is a bit depressing: only 6% of us get to have the jobs we imagined as children.

This data comes courtesy of a study published in Social Forces and involved examining data from the British Household Panel Survey. Apparently, 3,000 people have been doing those annual questionnaires since they were kids. Odd, but very useful. Some of those questions were about career aspirations, so researchers were able to compare what kids thought they’d be (“I wanna be an astronaut!”) with what they actually became (“I’m an actuary”).

Obviously, only 6% of those people doing what they dreamt of as kids is pretty low, but researchers found that kids who aspired to gender-typical careers had a better chance of achieving said aspirations. For example, boys who wanted to become mechanics and girls who wanted to become nurses were more likely to become those things.

Researchers couldn’t really find reasons why 94% of us don’t end up with the careers we want, but there are probably a few good reasons for that. First of all, kids only really know about a dozen or so jobs anyway—sure, they might want to be a fireman, but how many of them know about insurance adjusters? Second, jobs exist now that didn’t when we were kids—social media strategist, anyone? And finally, some kids don’t have a great grasp on reality. One kid we knew in first great really wanted to be a bulldozer when he grew up. Not the bulldozer driver—the actual bulldozer. Tyler, we don’t know what you did with your life, but we’re pretty sure that you’re amongst the 94%.

Photo courtesy of flickr.

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