"I want to be a pilot when I grow up." "I want to be a football player." These sentences were common when we used to write the popular essay ‘My Aim in Life’. During childhood, we all had adventurous plans and wanted to make a career out of the thing we dreamt of, be it piloting a fighter jet or playing football in front of thousands. However, the reality is often disappointing. According to Forbes, research has found that six out of 10 people do not get to realise their childhood ambitions, and 82 per cent of those individuals who did not meet their childhood aspirations do not pursue their initial passion in any form after entering the job sector.
The vast majority of people usually choose careers based on a 'realistic' standpoint. In reality, there can be numerous plausible reasons why an individual chooses a particular career path. Passion is typically at the bottom of that list. Many people are hesitant to pursue their childhood career paths because it requires them to venture outside of their comfort bubble. Although some individuals thrive on change and taking chances, the great majority prefer security against instability.
Cultural expectations are another major reason why many do not pursue their childhood dream jobs. When it comes to choosing a job, expectations imposed on people, whether household or societal, diminish the tendency for "out of the box" decision-making. Children in the Indian subcontinent are usually conditioned from an early age to choose ‘stable’ professions such as doctors and engineers, while creative professions such as artists or athletes are fiercely discouraged in the household. This is mostly attributable to our culture's aversion to taking risks. The generational gap is also another reason why parents push their children to prioritise a financially risk-free career over passion jobs.
When asked about his career choice, Avijit Sen, a commercial bank executive, said, "I wanted to be a musician when I was younger. As I grew up, my parents talked a lot about how I should choose a financially stable career path to take care of the family. So, I had to say bye to my dream and choose a relatively stable job. "
In a study conducted by Zety, one of the leading resume-building and career-advising websites, participants were asked to recollect their ideal childhood professions and how their goals changed as they aged. Nearly 60 per cent of the 2,000 respondents who were unable to land their dream job, wished they had.
Many people who do not chase their childhood dreams and aspirations regret it later in life and wonder why they did not pursue their dream profession. Many individuals feel demotivated and unfulfilled even while having a 'stable' career. This is why, 58 per cent of the Zety respondents, at the time of the survey, still wished to make their dreams come true.
I believe that as generations change, so do people's mindsets. Parents are giving more freedom to their children in terms of choosing conventional career paths like doctors, scientists, engineers, etc. However, there are still only a few families who actively support and facilitate their children's dreams of pursuing creative career paths like- painting or music production.
When asked about future plans, Ms Aditi, a fifth-grade student, replied to this writer with much contemplation, "I wanted to be a painter when I was younger. But now, I am not sure what I want to become because my parents want me to pursue science-related subjects for higher education."
People may pursue their dream jobs if they are financially able to do so. Life is too short to be limited to the questions of, 'what if' and 'what could have been'. Even if external circumstances prevent one from pursuing one's dream career, one should at least pursue a hobby relevant to their fields of interest, since this writer believes dream seekers have the potential to positively impact and modify the world.
If you are still a student, you should seriously consider pursuing your childhood dream job as a career. No matter how unconventional your job might sound to society, pursuing your dream will bring you happiness and contentment with your life and work. Following your dreams may lead to unpredictable twists and turns, but these will be the thrilling, fascinating and unforgettable moments of pursuing your dream. Dreams encourage you to take risks, and risks can lead to additional possibilities. Thus, dreams give you a purpose to live for. So, passion should be one of the top criteria while making career choices.
Even if you are a working adult, it is quite likely that you can still pursue your childhood dream directly or find a hobby that is related to it. All you have to do is believe in your dream and have the confidence to chase it. It is your happiness that should matter to you the most. Just think about your passion and remember the sayings of the author of the English Constitution, Walter Bagehot, "The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do", and take a leap of faith towards your own happiness.
The writer is a third-year BBA student at IBA, Dhaka University.