What Was Your Childhood Dream Job?

Children, despite having absolutely nothing useful on their resumes, are extremely confident in their ability to secure just about any job that could be had in this world. Imagine if your five-year-old self walked into an interview for an open astronaut position:

Tell me about yourself, Nicky.

I love bubbles.”

That’s great. Do you know why they float?

“I’m five.”

Legally, I shouldn’t know your age. If you don’t get this job you could sue NASA for age discrimination. I’m sure you wouldn’t do that kind of thing but…okay, moving on. What did you go to pre-school for?

“You have a bald head like my dad.”

Regardless of how charming your inability to pronounce “Rs” may have been, no reputable employer would have hired you. Yet you were positive that without any prior schooling, vocational training, royal blood or motor skills, you were uniquely qualified to become a:

Sanitation worker







And I’m sure the list went on, which is exactly the point. Kids have an unnerving sense of confidence because they have no limits. The lucky ones with loving parents are told from the time they begin to blink, “You can do absolutely anything you set your mind to (except color on the walls).” It’s not until we get older and start to doubt ourselves that the little pieces of our self-assured makeup begin to chip away. Doubt creeps in. Imposter syndrome pokes its heads around corners. Sometimes I wonder if these are the monsters we so feared underneath our beds.

As we get older, we start to assume the opposite of what we once knew so definitely: that there’s no way we’ll ever grow up to be X.

But it’s Love Your Career Month on Man Repeller. In honor of that, let’s all try to channel our inner child egoist once again. Clearly we had something big and important going for us back then. We knew something that our older and more cynical selves don’t know now. In the comments, list your childhood dream job — no matter how silly or stupid or not-actually-a-job it is — and then try to remember what it was like to feel super, super sure about it.

Then reassure yourself with the knowledge that for every bit of wisdom your younger self could likely impart on the current you, at the very least, the you now knows better than to comment on an interviewer’s striking similarity to a cow you once saw. In fact, when paired with social tact, who knows how far those limitless dreams really can go…

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.


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  • A Girl

    Jockey. like horse racing. 15 years later and i am 5’2” so it could have worked out !

    • Amelia Diamond

      Girl after my own heart. Did you love National Velvet??

      • A Girl

        yes, though the THOROUGHBRED series was my true love and maybe still is ?

        • Amelia Diamond

          haha you need to read the Minor Cog going up tomorrow..

  • That fake exchange with the NASA employee was the best ever. I remember being very much a dinosaur kid. I wanted to be a paleontologist.

    • Amelia Diamond


    • Dr Rastafarian

      Same I watched Jurassic Park and saw it more as a calling… my barbies and dinosaurs used to hang out together.

      • Lee

        My barbie jeep became the jurassic park jeep extremely quickly, due the influence of two older brothers and a really good garden bed full of ferns. It’s a good combo!

  • ReadER451

    I didn’t have a dream job as a kid, but I do remember my sister always saying she wanted to be a construction worker and live next door to our Mom.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I love that so much

      • ReadER451

        To follow up. I didn’t have a dream job as a child, but I have said many times recently that I wouldn’t mind Meryl Streep’s job/lifestyle/home/kids/date Steve Martin in It’s Complicated. I love that movie.

  • Don’t know whether I really had a dream job but I did claim at least once I wanted to be a translator – something about foreign languages exciting me. A lot.

    Nowadays, I am quite sorry I never felt this strong wish to end up somewhere in natural sciences/technology & Co., since this has been my most important area of interest these past few years.

    Oh and there was the theatre actress phase, hopefully short and probably
    painful to watch 🙂 (at least I got to figure out all by myself I have
    Zilch Acting Talent).

    My most famous claim about my future must be “I am not going to get married at all.”

    • Amelia Diamond

      Hope you still have that theater on tape somewhere!

      • No… these days I am all about screwing it up most of the times I want to say something out loud that is not a simple sentence.

        I even invented a name for my type of inability for normal articulation: yodeln. Like yodeln, but in my case referring to audibly needing a few starts to decide which way a word should go and then carry it out, including an audible doubt whether this was the right choice.
        It sounds like this: “my type of un- err um- INability for … normal dic-, err… arti- articulation: inability for normal articulation!?” 🙂

        I did spend quite a few years teaching and used my love for all things drama to make my lessons interesting, but ever since I have plugged myself into my computer work space, I am all about silent information buzz … which seems to be very me, too, since I feel so passionately about it. Funny, really.

  • rockstar or designer, I owned “Emporio+my last name”!


  • Sandra

    Ballet dancer or singer. And then at 8 years old I watched The Parent Trap and decided I wanted to be a wedding dress designer.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I wanted to live on a ranch and eat cornbread with chili because of that movie.

  • I wanted to be a scratch and sniff sticker tester and a stewardess! I have crappy hearing so a doctor once told me I shouldn’t become a stewardess so I wanted to be one ever since that day! =P

    • Amelia Diamond

      I would LOVE to be a scratch and sniff sticker tester. What a job.

  • Mimisycul

    I wanted to be a piano teacher :-)…. I don’t even know what I liked about that…. 😛

    • Amelia Diamond

      I think that is so sweet. Can you still play?

  • Yvonne Dunlevie

    I wanted to be a baker because I liked eating cake…

  • Bee

    I wanted to be a marine biologist and work with dolphins. Now I’m in the beauty industry and work with botanical marine moisturizers, so close enough I guess.


  • Jockey. Race horse jockey. Too much reading The Black Stallion series as a kid gave me the idea anyone could race horses. Then I grew (out as well as up), and realized jockeys tend to be “pocket people” and the horse racing industry really isn’t run by people who love horses.

    • Amelia Diamond

      For some reason I didn’t love the Black Stallion books but the movie is so good. I used to loveee Alec Ramsey <3

      • Oh, he was adorable, but I imagined stealing Shetan from Alec.

  • Megs

    Disney animator. I loved drawing as a kid. Actually I still do, but around the time I hit high school I doubted my ability to get a good job in the animation field.

    • Amelia Diamond

      hop you still draw!

  • Alessandra

    I wanted to be the girl that named the nail polish colors because my dad used to paint my toes frequently. Matter of fact, I still kind of want that job…

  • Abby Rode

    At the ripe age of 10, I broke my leg at gymnastics practice, and two of my life long goals were shattered (as well as my tibia): Olympic Gymnast and the next Pink Power Ranger. It took a little soul searching, and an ancient Egypt group project about the history of mummification, for me to realize a new career path: combo Archaeologist/Egyptologist/Anthropologist/Coroner. Now I work in marketing.

    P.S. I still want to be an archaeologist, and if I weren’t so afraid of drowning, a marine archaeologist.


    • Amelia Diamond

      marine archaeologist has to be the coolest job ever

    • Meg

      I work in branding and realized my last semester of college that I should’ve (or at least could’ve) majored in anthropology after taking an archaeology course as an elective. Sigh.

    • Aggie

      I was soooo obsessed with becoming an Egyptologist and would only visit the Egypt part of any museum I was taken to.
      Also one day I decided I wanted to be a post(wo)man and I literally have no idea why…

  • A sailor-I wanted to have adventures, be brave and see the world…

    • Quinn Halman

      more like, sea the world! (I wanted to be a mermaid, still trying to figure out how to breathe under water)

      • Amelia Diamond

        omg, quinn.

        • Quinn Halman

          I once held my breath for 73 seconds

          • Daria

            I wanted to be a mermaid but i have an older brother who graphically explained to me that if as a mermaid i had a baby my tail would be ripped apart! Never mentioned my dreams to him

    • Amelia Diamond


  • I wanted to be a figure skater, which was the case until a really bad bout of mono and reality!

    So, equally realistic, I went to school to be an artist.

  • Olivia Meyer-Jennette

    i desperately wanted to be a cashier at the supermarket–whenever we went to the children’s museum I played almost exclusively in the grocery store area. Ha!

  • jdc

    I wanted to be a figure skater – but on roller skates (quad skates, this was the early 1970’s).

  • Autumn

    2 yr old me: Green Bay Packer or cat
    3 yr old me: artist
    4-10 yr old me: archaeologist (but think that’s because I heard the word and thought it sounded cool).
    When my brother was in 3rd grade he told our mother he was gonna be a priest. He currently works in Finance which is like the opposite of that.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I love this “Green Bay Packer or cat”

  • Marine biologist. Tbh I had no clue what that was, I just knew it involved the ocean and animals.

  • Mariana Gazinhato

    Fashion designer. Not a choice I’d make now

  • Mariel Vela

    Depended on the day, I wanted to be a ballet dancer, a paleontologist, a cashier, librarian and a mom. I think I’d still like to be some of those!

  • giftofthefab

    My dream job was to work in a museum or to be an artist. When I was ten, while sketching birds at the museum across the street from our house, I was offered a job by the person who painted the dioramas….somewhere along my career path peppered with “What are you going to do when you grow up?” and “You’ll never make any money at that” speeches, I must have “taken a wrong toin at Alba-quoik-y”.

  • mollie blackwood

    I wanted to be a backup dancer for Janet Jackson or Paula Abdul (child of the 80s!). If that didn’t pan out I was going to be an artist because I thought that was a sensible backup plan. Not much has changed… I practiced my reverse running man all weekend and I’m an art teacher who wants to stop teaching and be an artist.

  • Stephanie

    Oh this is sad but I wanted to ride the bus and work downtown (doing nothing specific, just work downtown). As an adult, I ride the bus and work downtown. I made my dreams come true?

    • Amelia Diamond

      See! Anything you set your mind to!

  • Liz Warners

    “Dolphin Trainer” is what I told all of the adults. This was, of course, before Blackfish.

    • Lee

      Oh Blackfish.. I was not ready for that film when I watched it.

  • Kerrith

    I wanted to be the tooth fairy. Now my 6 year old is starting to lose his teeth and I get to be! Unrealistic career expectation realized. Go me!

  • My first career aspirations were cowgirl and Tim Hortons drive-through worker. In both cases, I was in it for the outfits.

  • When I was little, I really wanted to be a secretary. They were the ones who got to spend all day messing around with typewriters and computers, and I always got the impression the world would crumble without them.

    I still want a job that lets me play with computers and feed my undying need to feel important. Being a teacher let me have that a little bit, but I’ve never met a secretary who had to share her desk with 50 other people. 😉

  • Dani Heifetz

    I wanted to be a fashion designer so I made clothes out of paper. I was all set until Maison Margiela at their spring 2010 show took this idea from me!

  • l:ly

    i wanted to be a manicurist. i STILL want to be a manicurist. i’m a reporter 🙁

  • Meg

    I remember that I wanted to be Max from Where the Wild Things are. And then a lawyer, which my family totally supported until they realized that I was semi-serious as an undergrad and the lawyers in my family were like “don’t do it, just don’t.”
    Pretty glad that I didn’t go that route (since I’d be hella in debt forever because I’m not one for selling my soul for corporate law $$$. Just other corporate $$$.)

  • Natalia Guerra

    i was so sure i’d be an actress/singer.

  • Leandra Medine

    i thought i was going to be
    +a professional dancer
    +an actress
    +a fashion designer
    +a scientist

  • Reba

    Professional soccer player, mostly so I could wear my “Soccer is life… the rest is just details” tshirts for the rest of my life.

    • Lindsay

      except my tshirt said “I don’t come to play, I play to win”

  • Hahah I said in my 8th grade graduation video that I wanted to be a Broadway star / chef who works at NASA. I would still take that…

  • I wanted to be a country music singer. lol

  • Ruby Cena

    I wanted to be either an archeologist, I was obsessed with ancient Egypt, or… a butcher!! My mum used to run a kid’s clothing shop that was just next to the butcher’shop and at that time I was convinced that selling all those different cuts of meat was the coolest. I liked the apron.

  • Beatrice

    I saw the Sound of Music one too many times and wanted to be a nun when I was 5. Now I’m in grad school for graphic design and converting to Judaism!

  • Mia Dirito

    When I was in fourth grade in 2007 I asked my parents NOT to vote for hillary clinton because I wanted to be the first girl president. This poster is from first grade

  • Mia Dirito

    When I was in fourth grade in 2007 I asked my parents NOT to vote for hillary clinton because I wanted to be the first girl president. This poster is from first grade

    • Lee

      “Cleaning, nightmares, beans” right there with ya gurl.

  • My one and only requirement was that I needed to wear heels every day, but now all I want is a job where I’m allowed to wear jeans (or anything I want, really).

  • I wanted to be a writer and a stay at home mum. It’s not too late for either, right?

  • Evalyn

    I really really wanted to be a singer in Paris with a pink poodle and a purple feather boa haha

  • Georgia

    I wanted to be an egyptologist or a ballerina… here’s to hoping one of those still works out.

  • Lee

    At the grade 6 farewell disco, the MC was reading aloud what we’d written as our career goals. I’d written ‘A writer or a piano player’ and in all the adult wisdom of a suburban mother, she corrected this to be ‘a writer or a pianist’ which, to the 120 or so kids in my weeny catholic school, sounded too much like penis (australian accent) to hold back any chance I had of getting through that one without tears of embarrassment.

    Now I create a lot of content for clients, so did I smash the writer bit? Still not a penis tho.

  • Carmen

    In first grade I did a school report on Queen Elizabeth I and decided I wanted to be the Queen of England, depite my mom’s attempts to explain why that’s impossible. Now as an adult I understand the problem and have shifted my focus to world domination.

  • Kate

    Ice cream scooper. Seriously rated my skills at age 10 dishing out dessert to my younger siblings. Ended up a doctor… although I did once put in an (unsuccessful) application to work at popular local ice cream store whilst I was a medical student!

  • Mariana

    At 5 I told my parents, after the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” that “I want to be happy!”. A very philosophical answer for a 5 year old girl :). In the same year I told my Mother (in tears, out of nowhere) that “I don’t want to groooow uuuuuuup”. ahaha

  • TheMeltingPopsicle

    This article is amazing. I’m just finishing high school now, and definitely need some of that I-can-do-anything attitude. Thank you!

  • Liz

    When I was maybe six or so, I told my parents I wanted to be the ice cream man. It could still happen. Dare to dream.


  • Ashley Kordik

    I wanted to be a veterinarian (AKA puppy hero), until, at 16, my friend’s mother told me her daughter-in-law had moved careers from vet to researcher because she “didn’t want to be spaying and neutering cats all day anymore.” Crushed.

    Now I work in fashion, dreaming of making a living as a writer but… Not writing! Save me from myself.

  • MCJ

    Never thought about it until my mom said I could become anything I wanted to be. Soo of course being an animal lover, the first thing I wanted to become (more like metamorphosize haha) was a horse, then a giraffe and finally a gorilla. Wasn’t too long until my dreams were shattered and I then decided to become a doctor. Dad was definitely happy to potentially have a doc as daughter and not an animal.

  • Ida

    I wanted to be a “good” dictator then I watched the oscars and switched it to a director, then guerilla revolutionary, and then a cork farmer in Portugal

    Now I work at an ice cream parlor

  • Tonya Cross

    For a long time I wanted to be a STAR. I would go around singing about being a “broadway baby” (no clue what that really is). Eventually, I learned I couldn’t sing. Then it was dolphin everything and marine biology was my destiny. Add them both together and now I’m in the fashion industry. I’m pretty sure that math is accurate.

  • Claire

    the queen of Fayetteville (my small town in Arkansas) or a pop sensation/ actress a la Hillary Duff, of course. A farmer was also high on the list.

  • AntiSlice

    My career trajectory, before I understood real life:
    – flight attendant, because they were glamorous and got to travel
    – President, because president
    – librarian, because I thought they could hang out and read all the time, and it sounded like a nice thing to do after president.

  • chelzbells

    A ballerina. I’ve never attended a dance class in my life – I wonder what could have happened if I had!