I'm 36, and I still feel like I need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Being a writer is pretty cool, admittedly, but I never quite know what direction my career going to take (or I want it to take) or what's going to happen next. Kids, on the other hand, always seem very sure of what they want to be when they grow up, even if their minds change every couple of days and even if that job isn't
actually a job. There are some weird jobs kids want, at least according to some of the children I've encountered... not least of which my own.
It's kind of funny that we ask kids
what they want to be when they grow up, because I feel like, for a lot of people, their job isn't the most important, or the most enjoyable, aspect of their lives. And yet we're quick to ask kids about their hypothetical profession; kids who, of course, are still trying to figure out who they are as tiny little human beings. Seems like a pretty ridiculous ask, right?
Well, it would be, except kids have
in mind... mainly because most of them aren't really jobs. So while it's arguably not cool to make a kid stress about their potential future profession, you sure do receive some one-of-a-kind, gem answers outta them. So with that in mind, here are some of the super cool, very realistic, not at all made up careers children I know have shared with adults: awesome jobs A Unicorn Kitty Doctor
This was my daughter's chosen profession for a while and, to this day, I don't know if she wanted to be a doctor for unicorns and kitties, a doctor for some sort of unicorn-kitty hybrid species, or if she wanted to be a unicorn who was a doctor for kitties. (I mean, really, one is just as reasonable as the other, right?) Any time I asked for clarification, she would just repeat the words "unicorn kitty doctor," either louder or slower, like an obnoxious tourist in a country where they don't speak the language.
A Guy Who Presses The Button For The Carnival Ride
My brother, now in his 30s, once told me that when he grew up he wanted to be either a scientist or the guy who presses the button for carnival rides. Both are totally acceptable jobs, but... there's a pretty enormous chasm there, right? Also I'm pretty sure there's more to living that carnival life than pushing the button, but he was pretty clear that was the
only thing he was interested in doing.
The irony? The kid was deathly afraid of basically any carnival ride you could name, so IDK what drew him to this profession in the first place.
He's currently a cook and
a musician, but there's still time for him to realize his dreams. A Tree Helper
When my oldest went to preschool they had these little surveys they filled out for their yearbook and one of the questions was, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?" My son listed "tree helper." When I asked him what a tree helper did, he just sort of side-eyed me. "Do you help the trees grow? Do you plant trees? Is it..."
"I don't want to talk about it," he said.
And the way he said it wasn't simply dismissive. It was like the tone shadowy government official in the movies takes when a reporter or rogue agent is about to uncover a vast and insidious conspiracy. I still don't know what a tree keeper does, but I've learned better than to delve any deeper.
A "Rainbow Girl"
Literally no idea, you guys. The best I can figure, as
a child of the 80s, is that at one point my kid independently invented Rainbow Bright and wants to fill the world with color with a bunch of magical sprites. This would be extremely on-brand for her, but I don't know how lucrative it would be. I guess we could try to channel this impulse into, like, house painting or something? An Engineer
This in and of itself is nothing too funny or weird... except that when I ask what
kind of engineer, my son simply replies, "Every kind," which is not really how engineering works as far as I know.
My son really doesn't know what an engineer (of any stripe) does, he just knows he wants to be one, and I find that absolutely adorable. Sort of like how when I was 3 and I wanted to be a marine biologist because I liked whales. I figured that just meant I would go swimming with them and that was the extent of the job.
OK, sure. This is... realistic and possible. The career path for becoming a horse is probably straightforward and viable. And honestly, horses seem like they have a pretty sweet deal a lot of the time: they mostly get to stand out in a lovely field and eat grass and have their room and board taken care of and all they have to do is let someone ride them from time to time. This kid is on to something.
A Zookeeper & A Mommy
I don't know how to tell my daughter that these are both basically the same job.
There was absolutely no telling my daughter that not only is "bride" not a job (even "The Bride" in
Kill Bill wasn't strictly speaking employed) but that she would have to find someone to marry if she did want to be a bride. Basically, she just wants to grow up and wear a beautiful dress, which I understand and respect. SpiderMan
How do I tell this little girl that the position has been indefinitely filled and also that SpiderMan is a comic book character and not real?
A Farmer That Doesn't Farm
My son was
adamant that he wanted to be a farmer. He had his uniform (a cowboy hat, work boots, overalls, and a red bandanna), his tools (a hoe and a tractor), and his house (a big red barn) all set. When I asked him if he was going to grow vegetables, he said no. Fruit? Nope. Oh are you going be a rancher? No.
"I'm going to ride my tractor in the field and have chickens and horses and cows and pigs and dogs and cats
Ah. Yes. That is exactly and exclusively what a farmer does. Well done, kid.