What do you want to be when you grow up?

Remember the time when you were young and your parents, relatives and teachers used to ask you: What do you want to be when you grow up?

When that question was posed to me at the age of 5, I replied "I want to be a lady boss." I must have gotten the idea from TV that being a boss meant big money and having my way all the time. Some time later I thought it would be nice for me to be an architect. I played Lego alot and enjoyed building my own houses. My self-designed houses didn't look very nice so it's no wonder I'm not an architect now. I love animals and wanted to be a vet but I couldn't afford to study overseas (there are no veterinary schools in Singapore). Then I thought I'd want to be a lawyer. But after a 1-week attachment with a law firm, I decided that it wasn't for me. Next, I wanted to be a scientist so I studied engineering but halfway through I changed my mind because research opportunities in Singapore were limited and so was the salary. After I graduated, I took up jobs that were unrelated to what I studied or had nothing to do with what I dreamed of doing. I did learn alot from the people whom I interacted with and acquired skills and knowledge but I have to admit that I sometimes have to drag my feet to work, I may not like interacting with certain people and some aspects of the work may be boring.

I know I am not alone in feeling this way. So what happened? Weren't we full of dreams, hopes and aspirations when we were young? Did we realise that what we dreamed of is unrealistic or unattainable? And who's to say what's unrealistic or unattainable? We need to define this for ourselves.

Most of us spend half our waking hours working. How can we justify spending that much time doing something, i.e. work, which we don't enjoy? Well, there may be mouths to feed and mortages to pay but are we to resign ourselves to modern-day slavery when freedom is already in our hands? During this economic downturn, the opportunity cost for leaving your job to pursue your passion is lower. But before you quit your day job, it would be wise to do your research and speak with people whom you trust.

"Growing up" has got nothing to do with age. A person can be 40 years old but still not be "grown up". If you're over 25, I don't think anybody would ask you this question but I'm going to ask you anyway: What do you want to be when you grow up? :)

(Note: I'm not asking you what did you want to be, but what do you want to be.)

Related post:
[What kind of person do I want to be?]


Anonymous said...

When I was small I wanted to join Gullive's Travels (the cartoon), then I also wanted to catch Mobidic! (hehehe). Years past, I wanted to be an astronaut. Then comes the last year of primary school when I wanted to be a doctor (I was fascinated) with the human machine (I was damn good at it!) :-)

Sec school, Information Age kicked in, met new people and I wanted to become an Electronics Engineer. At the same time I started to design houses (runs in the family) so I wanted to become an Architect, too! I also built my first stereo from scratch during that time.

But engineering got the best of me since I met someone (and we clicked) who was a walking computer and designs and builds every little gadget he owns! He never bought even those electronic kits you see on those hobby shops!? ...Man!

Going through life, the engineering side provided me of everything I have now. But through all that... the artistic DNA that is lingering within is as active as ever. So... I became very good in the visual arts (videography, sound editing) which all came in naturally without ever going to school to learn. Besides this, I also learned photography (in school) which is my childhood dream. I remembered saving my school allowance just to buy that 35mm cheapo camera and run to beach and take my first sun set picture. But I had to shelve that dream as it was impossible for a student to finance photography. But now that I have the means... it sprung back to life and now enjoying it.

Going back to your question... "What do you want to be when you grow up?" - I want to have my own studio and be a full pledge photographer! :-)


Yu-Kym said...

Barefoot, you could even be a writer! It was fun reading your story!

Arun Ram said...

In the beginning, i wanted to make cartoons. I was watching cartoons all the time, and my parents didnt want me to watch for so long.

Then i was introduced to computers and i wanted to become a Computer Engineer.

I played my first game and i wanted to become a game designer.

I took karate classes and i wanted to be a Karate master.

I went to my dad's office and i wanted to work with the Ministry.

I went to a hospital recently and i wanted to be a doctor.

I wanted to be an architect when we extended our house.

I can keep on going this way, but the problem is i really cannot stick on to something and i realized that i need to know what i was doing. So one fine day, i decided that i wanted to do creative stuff. I got into a Engineering school for a computer science degree, and now i am applying for a masters degree in
Entertainment Technology , basically i am back to square 1. I WANT TO MAKE CARTOONS.


Arun a.k.a looneydoodle

Yu-Kym said...

Hi looneydoodle, you story is so cute it made me laugh! I love cartoons - my favourite is Tiny Toons but I've not been able to find the DVDs :( Please send me a DVD with your cartoon when it's released!

Anonymous said...

I believe, though, at this age, we are just going to do whatever that makes the most dough first, and the later get your passion.

Do you agree?

Shi Hao

Yu-Kym said...

Hi Shi Hao, as Singaporeans, that's what we are taught to do and what people (parents/relative/friends/government/media) tell us to do - make some dough. How much dough is enough?

Anonymous said...

It depends on how comfortable the person would be with the money he/she has.

Assuming this, I give you SGD$ 10k/month as basic income to do simple work like filing and simple data entry. Work from 9am to 5.30pm with 1 hr lunch break. How many will complain later this is not enough?

Shi Hao

Yu-Kym said...

Hi Shi Hao, if someone's dream is to earn $10k a month, then they will not complain. If their dream is less important than earning $10k a month, then it might not be a "real" dream. Following one's dream may not necessarily mean earning less money. Maybe in the short term it may mean that, but I think people who earn alot do so by doing what they enjoy.

YX said...

I oli plan to read your posts about sex but I think I found this good article,want to comment on it, unexpectedly.i want to pos mortem on dead bodies when i grow up. But due to reality and my personality, I have to study medicine for 5 years and bcome a general doctor 1st, which means might take 10 years time to achieve what i want.My impatient and outgoing character wont let me to persue this dream,that is wat pepole keep telling. In the junction, I choose an easier route with bigger unknown within.Now I am lost in my track and want to give up again.
Have any insightful advice?
And your posts about sex, it were beautifully written. I wish that I have your courage to admit you did it before.Till now I still feel sorry for myself for fo giving it to the wrong guy,trying it due to curiosity.Still cant really walk out from my last relationship. Anyway,Salute you !

Yu-Kym said...

XY, just follow your passion? It's very normal to choose what's practical vs passion. Like Shi Hao mentioned, go make enough dough first. Question is how much dough is enough?
Regarding what people tell you, here's a good quotation: "Everybody is an expert in giving advice on how you cannot do something." - Maria Elena Ibanez

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most popular question that our parents would ask us when we young and still maybe asking us when we seems small to them. I wanted to be this and that when i was young but then....something popped into my mind. To be a kind hearted, gentle, polite, helpful, nice, forgiving, loving, caring person is the most hardest thing to be and that is what i want to be when i "grow up".
Getting a degree, master, PhD, blah blah blah...are all possible and achiveable but to be the person that have all the good quality is something to work very hard for - Nicholas C

Yu-Kym said...

Nicholas, I like your point abt the qualities of the person you wan to be rather than blah blah achievements

Anonymous said...

I considered myself as a slave now, with a paper written "degree" on hand.I dragged myself to work every morning (i really mean EVERY MORNING) and lately I find myself too lagged behind from those same age with me. Many of my friends are so energetic with work and I honestly jealous. Thinking that maybe this are their dreams... I always tell myself, "this is not what i want" but i just can't pull myself out from this rat race NOW... maybe some time in future.

I've a plan in my head actually, which I'm not sure is a good plan or bad. Wanted to persue it next year. Leaving my "rice bowl" and comfort zone and back to my dream. I know it will be bitter, struggling and rocky path but I believe I will be happy at the end... No matter I strike or fail it.

Hope my family will support me because they are my strength (they actually very supportive but too conservative, when i say i want to stop working and continue what i haven't started, they're so worry. But I think i can allow myself to be "任性" for the last time)

- My dream is to own a chained restaurants nearby colleges providing healthy but cheap food to MY chinese Students. (Because many young chinese here need to depends on oneself to be educated, little grant/support from our tax s*cker and I think I can help by providing "a bit a bit")


Liang said...

Its just sad how people tends to lose their dreams as they grow older....and they forget how passionate they were with what they want to be when they grow up.....just because thats what 'majority or community' is getting or doing or expecting. Its really darn sad. I think as a child you would have wanted a big house, nice car, etc etc and would now resort to have a place to stay.

Anyway back to what I want to be when i grow up

I wanted to be thundercat when i was young, then i wanted to be police cause i thought having gun is cool. At primary school i wanted to be lawyer because my best friend wanted to be judge and i persisted until around 15 where i need to study and make a living out of my brain and effort, i started to want to be businessman because i was doing quite well and thought businessman would make the most money....but now i think i want to be a good husband and family provider so my family do not have to go through what i went through and as bonus it would be good to make lots of money and be known to at least some part of the world for something great i might have do ><

Yu-Kym said...

CW, I admire people like you who think about how to help others. At the moment I'm only "helping" by providing information and food for thought. I hope you will find a way to realise your dream.
Liang, I find it interesting that now what you want to be is a "good husband and family provider" - answering the question as to the kind of person you want to be instead of the job you want to have.