What do you want to be when you grow up? Have you ever been asked that question before? What was your answer?

You might say you want to be a firefighter, a ballerina, a policeman, a professional athlete, a doctor or a teacher. Parents and teachers who ask this question of their children and students will tell you that very few kids express an interest in being an insurance adjuster, an administrative assistant, a market researcher or a database administrator.

Why is that? Although there are literally billions of people in the world working in all sorts of jobs, you might only know about the jobs held by people you come into contact with in your daily life.

For example, you might be familiar with the jobs your parents, friends or relatives hold, as well as those you see portrayed on television shows or held by people you come into contact with in your community, such as doctors, dentists and teachers.

Since you will likely have to work a full-time job to support yourself and perhaps your family in the future, it’s important to choose a career path that provides both necessary income and job satisfaction. If you choose a job that makes you unhappy, your life will not be as happy and fulfilling as you want it to be.

Be sure to investigate all kinds of careers. The perfect job for you might be something that you’ve never heard of… yet!

The theme of this year’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day is Invent the Future. The future is unwritten and the possibilities are endless. Tomorrow’s happiness and success will depend in part on the planning and work you do today with tomorrow in mind.

Thinking about the future and planning for what you want to be when you grow up should not be limited to just one day, though. Start talking with teachers, parents, relatives, friends and mentors in all sorts of settings — at school, at home, at work, at church — any time you have questions about the future.

There’s never a bad time to think about your talents and interests and wonder how those might someday shape your future career. What subjects do you enjoy and excel at in school?

Are you a math whiz? Maybe you should be an engineer or a scientist someday. If you’re good at language arts, perhaps you could become a writer. Do you look forward to art more than any other class? Perhaps a career in design is in your future.

Although working for a living may seem far, far away, it’s closer than you think. Planning for success in the future starts today. As you think about careers, explore what skills and education you will need to be successful in the careers that interest you.

For example, if you are interested in careers that require a college degree, you will need to work hard in school — now — to ensure that you are able to attend college one day. Some careers don’t require a college degree, but specialized training may be necessary. For example, if you want to be a chef, you might need to attend a special culinary arts program.

Knowing what type of education or training you need for various careers will help you plan today to get where you want to be tomorrow!

Don’t limit your explorations to careers that exist today. Many of the people working in the field of computers and Internet technology have jobs that did not exist when they were children. Believe it or not, you may one day work in a job that no one has yet dreamed into existence.

When you look into your crystal ball to see what the world will be like in 10, 15 or even 20 years from now, what do you see? What trends do you think will continue? What types of jobs will always exist? What types of jobs exist today that might be gone by the time you are ready to enter the workforce?

So take some time today to dream. And dream big!

Dream about the type of world you want to live in. Dream about the family you want to have and what type of community you want to live in. Dream about what you love to do and what you’re good at. Start dreaming of the person you will be one day. Then make it happen…


76 Join the Discussion

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  1. Hi wonderopolis!

    When I grow up I really want to be a math teacher. In this wonder I liked how you added in kids and their future. Because some people I know say “the future of our world is in kids hands”.

    • WOW! We think a singing cardiologist would be a fun and helpful career! You can be anything you put your mind to, Sydney! :-)

    • Both are very good choices, Julie! We know you will do well in whatever you choose to become when you grow up! :-)

  2. When I grow up i want to be a mechanical engineer for John Deere, or I want to do house calls for local farms.

    • What awesome careers to have when you grow up, haley lynn! Maybe you can do both? Keep dreaming…you can be anything you want to be! :-)

  3. When I was younger, I think I wanted to be a princess or something. :)
    Now I want to be an orthopedic surgeon and an American Red Cross Rescue Worker. :)

  4. When I grow up, I either want to be a teacher or an author-or both. I think that it is heart warming that they made a video with St. Jude Children’s Hospital patients. They all seen so freindly, and they all seem so passionate about what they want to be when they grow up. The one girl who wanted to be a fasion designer drew better than I can! I also liked how some of their drawings were moving. Caleb was very cute, too.

    I aggree with Abby, I think that it has something to do with outer space. Tomorrow we have our last day of our Earth and Space unit at school, so we know all about it! :)

    • We think you would make a SUPER teacher, Meredith! You and the other M/C crew have a GREAT role model in Mrs. C! :-)

    • We love animals, too, Cate, so we think that would be an AMAZING career! It would be fun to learn from the animals and watch them grow! What are your favorite animals at the zoo? :-)

  5. I used to want to be an actress/ singer/ everything else in the world. Now I want to either be a chemist or an optical engineer. I also might want to be a author and photographer on the side.

    • We know you will be great at any or all of those career choices, nikki/mb! It’s good to have lots of interests! Thanks so much for visiting Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • That is a noble profession, Amanda! Thanks so much for stopping by Wonderopolis today and for sharing your comment with us! :-)

    • We’re sure hope you use your super special martial arts powers for good, pancake, and not for hurting anyone! Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • We think that would be a fun career, Brenna! We’ve seen some pretty wild hairstyles in Wonderopolis lately! :-)

  6. That video was amazing! When I grow up I either want to be an Archeologist, (I think that’s how you spell it) a geologist, marine biologist, photographer, teacher, doctor/surgeon, middle or high school history teacher, a nurse, or an actress. I can’t make up my mind.

    • You’ve got a lot of options there, Emma! You can be anything you want to be! By the way, you are a GREAT speller! :-)

  7. I really don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. When I was young(er) I first wanted to be a zoologist, then a police officer, than a paleontologist, then a police officer AGAIN, then a homicide detective, FBI agent, and now a comic book artist/professional author. I don’t really feel like being a police officer or a homicide detective, but I can’t really draw.

    • Wow, Meredith! Those are AWESOME choices for professions when you grow up! We know you can do anything you put your mind to, so don’t give up on learning to draw if you want to be a comic book artist! Your Wonder Friends believe in you! :-)

  8. When I grow up, I want to be a zoologist because I LOVE ANIMALS! And you want to know what else I love? Well I do! I love Wonderopolis! :)

    • Your comment made our day, Jourdan! It is super exciting for us to hear from our Wonder Friends about how much they like visiting Wonderopolis and learning new things each day! We also think it’s really AWESOME that you want to be a zoologist! :-)

  9. I would like to be a mechanical engineer. Though I don’t know what to do after I get my degree. Also, as a minor, I’m thinking about photography or energy transfer. Thanks for reading! :D This is a Great website and has answered some of my questions. Thanks for making this website! It really helps :D

    • Thanks for leaving us such a super comment and for letting us know what you want to be when you grow up, Arnas! We think being a mechanical engineer sounds like fun! Photography and energy transfer are awesome minors, too! You can be anything you want to be…we believe in you! :-)

    • Those are both REALLY AWESOME professions, Ellen! You can be anything you want to be…just work hard, try your best and believe in yourself! We believe in you! :-)

  10. I really want to be a basketball player because I really enjoy playing and I certainly want to play for money.

    • We bet you are GREAT at playing basketball, Nicholas! Thanks for sharing what you want to be when you grow up! :-)

    • We think that sounds like a WONDERful profession, Tony! Thank you for sharing what YOU want to be when you grow up! :-)

  11. I want to be a pilot when I grow up. And I want to be a fashion designer when I grow up.
    Kalyan & Isabelle
    Grade 2

    • Those are both WONDERful professions, Kalyan and Isabelle! We know you guys will be GREAT at whatever you decide to be when you grow up! :-)

    • WOW! We bet meals around your house are really tasty with so many chefs in the family, “Wonder!” We think it’s GREAT that you want to be a chef when you grow up just like your brothers…culinary arts is a WONDERful profession! :-)

    • WOW! Those are really great professions, Ellen! Thanks for sharing what you want to be when you grow up! Whether you decide to be a singer or a genetic engineer, we hope you will always WONDER about the world around you! :-)

    • We think being a doctor when you grow up is a WONDERful apsiration, Julie! Thank you for sharing your comment with us!

    • WOHOO, we would love to cheer you on in the Olympics, Eric! If you’ve seen the movie Miracle about the actual 1980s US Olympic hockey team, you will remember all the hard work and dedication the team put into winning the gold that year! We hope you keep up the great work and practice your goalie skills– we wouldn’t want anyone to score a hat trick on you! :)

    • WOHOO, we love watching that movie– it’s so inspirational! Thanks for WONDERing about your future career with us– we hope you keep up the hard work at hockey practice! :)

    • What a SUPER career, williams99! We think teaching is a fun, challenging and rewarding occupation– we bet you’ll be a great teacher! Thanks for sharing your comment with us today! We bet your very own teacher would be happy to hear what you want to be when you grow up! :)

    • That’s great, Brianna! We sure hope that you can practice your acting skills in a school play or local theater troupe! Keep up the good work! :)

    • What a GREAT future dream, Kelly! We bet you’ll make a great teacher… maybe you can even use Wonderopolis in your very own classroom!? :)

    • That’s a really good point, Anna! The stew called chili gets its name from one of the ingredients – chili peppers! But perhaps we also call it chili because it’s a great meal to eat when it’s cold outside and we’re chilly!! :)

  12. Hi wonderoplis! I want to be a writer when I grow up. I think I would make a very good author, because I get very good grades in language arts.

    • That’s awesome, Taylor N.! It sounds like you’re on your way to being a great writer! One of the best things you can do is practice, practice, practice! Write as much as you can, even if you don’t have much to say sometimes! Have a WONDERful day! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • What kinds of jobs will be available 10, 15 or even 20 years from now?
  • What do you need to do today to get to where you want to be tomorrow?

Wonder Gallery

young children dressing up_shutterstock_32458972Vimeo Video

Try It Out

We hope that you can look toward the future and see a world filled to the brim with possibilities. It’s never too early to dream big about what lies ahead.

What do you love to do? What types of jobs would best suit someone with your interests and talents? What type of community would you like to live in some day? What kind of family do you want to have?

Explore these questions and more with this fun, interactive dream calculator!

If you’re having a hard time dreaming about the future, let your computer give you some help. Fill in the blanks in this A Day in a Life online activity and see what kind of family-work-life story your computer generates based on your answers!


Still Wondering

Check out EconEdLink’s To Be or Not To Be? lesson to explore websites that take a closer look at careers that interest young children.


Wonder Categories/Tags



career  daughter  day  dream  future  job  planning  son  take  work 

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