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Childhood Dream Jobs Become Real Only Sometimes

Nov 20, 2012
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

In America, boys want to grow up to be athletes and girls want to be teachers. In the rest of the world, they mostly want to be scientists or doctors or engineers.

Most abandon those youthful dreams as they get older, says LinkedIn. The company surveyed some 8,000 of its 187 million members, asking them about their early career dreams and how they compared to the job they now have. Only 30 percent went on to become what they dreamed about as a child or at least work in a closely related field.

What happened to those early dreams? The professionals working in other jobs were most likely — by 44 percent — to explain,  “As I got older, I became interested in a different career path.”

Fulfilling their childhood hopes, especially for those U.S. boys dreaming of becoming the next Kobe Bryant or Eli Manning, paled as they realized that taking pleasure in work was more important. At least that’s what 70 percent of the respondents said.

Those percentages hold true across the global, LinkedIn said. However, top dream jobs do not. In India, the No. 1 dream job is engineer. While 8 percent of girls there wanted to become engineers, compared to 19 percent of the boys, girls ranked teacher as their #1 dream job. Only 5.7 percent of the boys in India dreamed of becoming teachers.

In the U.S., teacher didn’t make the top five list for boys.

Engineer also ranked #1 in a number of other countries, including Brazil, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates. In Hong Kong and Germany, scientist came out on top. In Australia, Austria, and France, the grown-ups once dreamed of becoming aviators.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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