433: When I Grow Up

A Thousand Things to Talk About
433: When I Grow Up

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Full episode script

When I was a kid, I would see those TV commercials for mail-order college courses (probably dating myself here by the lack of online courses), and I would always pick something from the list that I was just sure I would be able to do. Skip this whole middle school thing and really just start my life as a medical transcriptionist or veterinary assistant, in 24 months or less…

Yeah, none of that is what I ended up doing. But I do think about that a lot. It seems kids often say that what they want to do when they grow up is also usually the kinds of jobs that they are exposed to. Heck, that’s part of the reason for career day at many schools — to show kids the possibilities out there.

There’s just one problem with that. My job that I do today — the one I actually get paid for, or this little hobby of asking questions — didn’t exist in anywhere close to the current form today. I didn’t know they were possibilities, because they weren’t at that point.

In 2013, the US Department of Labor estimated that 65% of the jobs that will exist for kids in school today as they become adults simply do not exist yet.

So what does that look like? In an incredibly insightful article on Refinery 29, author, actress, and all-around teen phenom Paige McKenzie wrote, quote:

My mom always put the brakes on that question whenever she overheard some well-meaning adult ask me once again. Her philosophy is a simple one that I’d love to share with you:

Don’t worry so much about what you want to be when you grow up, think about what you want your life to look like. Aim for that. Maybe it’s your dream to travel. Maybe you want a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a golden retriever. Maybe you know that you want to work with your hands. Maybe you know you don’t like kids but you do like dolphins. Everyone has a different idea of success and happiness, and that’s okay.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.