Why You Should Take Your Childhood Dream Job Seriously

Why you should take your childhood dream job seriously


To be totally honest, I can’t exactly remember what I wanted to be when I grew up. I definitely didn’t dream about being in H.R. or recruiting, or running a career advice site. I actually don’t think I realized those careers existed until I got to college and started studying psychology. Even then, I had no idea that they would be for me.

Though my exact “dream job” wasn’t clear to me at a young age, my work “style” and approach was glaring from the time I was eight years old. A few months ago I got a text from my mom with this picture:

In case you’re having trouble interpreting my spelling, it is a list of “spa” services I typed out with corresponding prices. I remembered the whole “operation” immediately! To keep costs low, I would collect the free lotions and other items from hotels and arrange them on a shelf for the spa. I then hired one employee, my five-year-old sister, and paid her one cent for helping with (or maybe fully doing) each spa service. The rest of the money was profit!

Confirmed by my parents, I was always looking for an angle, a scheme, a way to make things better, and a way to be successful. That approach always has been ingrained in me and has come through in every job I’ve had.

LinkedIn was interested in knowing how many people actually carried through with their childhood dream job goals. They surveyed more than 8,000 professionals globally, and found that just 8.9 percent currently work in their childhood dream job, though another 21 percent say they at least work in a career that relates to their original dream job.

In my first job, the fact that we had to send thousands of onboarding packets by FedEx each year frustrated me.  I researched, I dug for solutions, and I eventually proposed a way to make the entire process electronic (we ended up doing exactly that).  There were quite a few thankful team members and many hours and dollars saved. I noticed that this type of investigation and problem-solving became a pattern.  Again, I was looking for angles, looking to make things easier and better.

Anyone who looked at that price list or was a guest at my “spa” also probably realized that I had an entrepreneurial bug inside me.  Finally, after six years of owning projects on a mini scale at great companies, I couldn’t fight the bug and decided to launch a business.

Launching The Prepary gave me the same excitement as my little misspelled entrepreneurial endeavors I took on as a kid. It’s funny how, early on, you show such clear signs of what you love to do. So if you’re feeling lost in your career, call your parents, or your childhood friends, and have them remind you of the things you loved and chased as a kid. Maybe it won’t be relevant at all… But maybe it will remind you of your true calling.

Jaime Petkanics

Jaime Petkanics is the writer behind www.prepary.com, an online resource which provides advice on all aspects of the job search. A former recruiter, Jaime answers questions ranging from how to write a great resume, to how to answer interview questions, and everything in between.