Survey: Only 10% of people are currently in their childhood dream job

When childhood dreams jobs are broken down by age range, some interesting patterns emerge.

Guitar player, veterinarian, marine biologist … Did you end up with the job you wanted to be as a teenager? A recent survey by TollFreeForwarding asked 2,000 Americans what they wanted to be when they grew up. Here are the top ten jobs they dreamed about as adolescents:

Interestingly, 24% reported having their childhood dream job at some point, but only 10% hold it today. 64% said that the dream job lived up to their expectations.

76% never made it to their coveted childhood job, however, 39% of that percentage regret not chasing after it. 34% said they just didn’t have the right skills, 16% cited financial barriers, and 10% put raising a family first.

A third of respondents said they were unhappy in their career, dream job or not.

A pattern emerges

When childhood dreams jobs are broken down by age range, some interesting patterns emerge. Public service jobs like teacher, doctor, and nurse feature in the top four in all of the age brackets.

“We set out to see how the idea of the dream job has changed over the last half a century, and it’s heart-warming to see careers with a strong sense of social responsibility performing so well through a number of generations,” said Jason O’Brien, COO of TollFreeForwarding.com, of the findings.

Other points of interest:

  • Writer/author is only in the top 5 of the 55-65 age range
  • Pro Sports star is the top childhood dream job of 45-55-year-olds
  • 18-24-year-olds, however, list the videogame-oriented “E-sports player” as their third most popular childhood dream job

And what about the next generation? 500 of the respondents had children under 16. Here’s what they aspire to:

  1. Doctor/nurse
  2. Police office
  3. Veterinarian
  4. Teacher
  5. Firefighter
  6. TV personality/celebrity
  7. Artist
  8. Pro Sports star
  9. Actor
  10. Scientist, Esports player

Goodbye, lawyers – looks like we have a generation full of TV personalities, celebs, and esports players! Or maybe they’ll grow out of it.

Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.