What Did You Want to be When You Grew Up?

At some point in our lives, most of us have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. It was a simple answer back when we were young because we didn’t have to factor in the boring reality of the years of school and the dose of luck it would take to get there. The sky was the limit, and that’s how our team likes to think, even now that we’re older and a little bit more realistic.

It’s always a lot of fun to find out what people used to want their day job to be when they were little. To that end, we surveyed thousands of people to find out what they wanted to be when they grew up and compiled all the data to see which occupation was the most commonly cited in each state. The results are below, and they might surprise you!

U.S map showing what people wanted to be growing up by state

In the map above, you can see what the most common thing people wanted to be when they grew up in your state. There weren’t nearly as many professional athletes as we thought there would be! In fact, the nationwide trends were downright surprising.

Bar chart showing what people most wanted to be growing up nationwide

According to our survey, most people wanted to be teachers when they grew up. This occupation was the most common occupation in seventeen states, which was a huge surprise to us. Tied for second were doctors and veterinarians with 8 states each. It was interesting to see that movie stars, professional athletes, and other “cool” occupations were not more popular, but it’s heartwarming to see that people were interested in helping others when they were children.

U.S map showing what people wanted to be growing up by region

The regional trends were in line with the overall most popular dream occupations kids had. Kids in the South and the Midwest were most likely to want to be teachers. Meanwhile, kids in the Northeast were most likely to want to be veterinarians, and kids in the West were most likely to want to be doctors.

Percentages of people who became what they wanted to be as kids

Of course, kids change their opinions on what they want to be when they grow up all the time. What people thought they wanted to be when they grew up doesn’t always translate into their dream job or college major once they’re older. In fact, of all of the people who said they wanted to be teachers, fewer than 20% actually became teachers.

The same sort of trends applied to the other top dream jobs. Of those who wanted to be nurses, artists, and scientists, only around 15% of them wound up with that occupation. Of course, this doesn’t mean that people are in positions they don’t like now. But, in most cases, their passions may have evolved into something else over time.

While we can’t all be astronauts, superheroes, or the president, the sky was the limit for what we were going to be when we grew up when we were kids and that’s still our philosophy here at Moneypenny. Our team is always looking for ways to help our clients reach their dreams by building up client relationships and communication. If you’re looking for a new way to relate to your customers and take your business to the next level, contact us here. Our team has everything you need to reach your goals and execute your long-term business plans.