What Should I Be When I Grow Up?
When you grow up, you should be the person you’ve always admired or the person you would admire if he or she existed. Some kids admire their doctors because they made them feel better when they were sick. These kids have a special, parental trust with their doctor and are calmed and relieved the moment they enter the waiting room. It is this type of person that, if they have any aptitude towards medicine, goes on to become a successful doctor and inspires others to go into the field.
If there is no profession you particularly respect, then think of a pastime you love and do something that allows you to share it with the world. I know it is hard to think of things you love because lots of cliches come to mind – but concentrate hard. Try thinking of things that are so basic that you take them for granted – like eating, going on vacation, and pursuing the opposite sex. If those are the things you truly enjoy in life, make a career out of them. Not to worry: you can make a career out of anything. Your job does not have to be in finance, medicine, law, or teaching, even though these are the most popular areas. If you like eating, you can become a restauranteur, a chef, or you can write your own dining guide. If you like going on vacation, you can become a star travel agent, a pilot, or you can found your own tour company. If you like chasing after members of the opposite sex, you can become a matchmater, a marriage counselor, or start a dating website.
The reason I repeat the idea of starting your own business is because that is often the best way to translate the thing you love into a career. As intimidating as it sounds to create your own company, it is not really so hard: all you need is a telephone, a computer, a good work ethic, and a bit of direction.
The one thing not to do when deciding what you want to be when you grow up is choose a profession based on other people’s opinion of it. Certain careers, like medicine and law, are well regarded by society; others, like pornography and professional gambling, are looked upon poorly. But a career’s reputation should have nothing to do with your decision to pursue it – soon enough, its reputation will seem unimportant compared to the quality of life it brings you.
A career has a lot to do with a person’s happiness, so it is imperative that you enjoy going to work. If you choose a job because it pays a lot of money, remember that money is enjoyed after work. If you spend most of your time and energy earning a lot of money at a job you don’t like, you are eliminating 8 hours from your total daily happiness; not to mention, you probably won’t come home in a good mood anyway. Another reason to choose a stimulating job over a high-paying job is because if you work diligently and passionately at any one thing, you will somehow make a good living from it. There is a demand for specialists in any field, be it open-heart surgery, interpreting scholarly books, hitting a baseball, having sex, baking cookies, or talking about politics.
And if all else fails and you truly cannot figure out what you want to do, there’s always grad school.
Evan Bailyn is a serial entrepreneur, search engine and social media expert, celebrated author and child advocate. His company, First Page Sage, is a leader in search engine optimization and social media marketing - vastly increasing business for its clients through high SEO rankings, targeted Facebook advertising and viral videos. Evan is also the founder of the Evan Bailyn Foundation, a foundation dedicated to teaching emotional awareness to children and adults.