What do you want to be when you grow up?
Time and again, we have been asked this question and depending on our age at that time we felt differently
For a 5-year child, this question is complex and simple answer s(he) can give is to become mother or father because they are the ones which s(he) has seen or interacted properly
Our reaction — aww…
For a 10-year old, this question is an escape to dreamland
I want to become a doctor who can draw well, superman, cartoonist or something like that
Our reaction — chuckle followed by a question how can you become person with multiple talents?
(narrowing their options, closing the doors of dreamland)
For a 15-year old, intrigued about future, thinks carefully about subjects should s(he) study to achieve her (his) dream.
I want to pursue an engineering in computer science (popular, high pay and on the expected lines of parents)
Our reaction — Great, you have to study hard to achieve the same. Best luck
(Instilling expectations and fear)
I want to pursue a career in biotechnology (unconventional and not on the expected lines of parents)
Our reaction — Why do you think it’s a good career? There’s hardly any jobs for this course
(Discouraging the exploration / experimentation)
For a 20-year old, about to enter into professional world, this question brings along food for thought, looking at her(his) current education, skill sets, job opportunities and passion
I want to become entrepreneur / manager / football player /
Our reaction — More the unconventional answer, stronger will be our reaction
(Instead of encouraging to widen the scope we are endorsing limited thinking)
For a 25-year old, in middle of her(his) career, this question brings feeling of being trapped and a wistful thinking
I wanted to become a football player but since I am a manager in IT firm now so I would like to become President of the firm
Our reaction — That’s great
(feeling proud in their limited thinking)
I wanted to become a football player though I am a manager in IT firm I would like to connect to my passion and give it a one more try
Our reaction — Have you gone mad? Why do you want to sacrifice such a nice paying job?
(Discouraging their inner calling — third time in the row)
For a 30-year old, well nobody asks you such question as it is expected of you to already found and doing the same by now.
Great! We live in a society where we are expected to identify and working on our inner calling (on expected lines of society) before we even spent half of our lifetime
What do I want to be when I grow up? — I want to become someone who thinks visually, develops product, narrates good story, plays guitar, supports social cause, manages football team, works for UN, writes good articles and can easily pick good stocks in share market
I am turning 30 and will pursue all of these :)