Have you asked this question? It gets asked all the time – to school children, to college students, to interviewees and to established professionals. It gets asked so often (in one form or another) that you’d expect everyone to always have an answer prepared. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. This question is almost always met with uncertainty, ambiguity, or in the worst cases – silence. But why? How could we all be so poorly prepared to answer this simple-sounding question?
Of course, we all know this simple-sounding question is actually very complicated. It is no small task to sum up everything we want from life in one short sound-bytable answer. Additionally, it may be easy for those of us who have our hearts set on becoming Doctors, Lawyers, or Astronauts – but many of us will end up working jobs we didn’t even know existed when we started looking for them.
It would be nice if we all always had an answer to this question, but the truth is – no one ever really knows what they want to be when they grow up. There are just too many options, possibilities and unexpected turns in the road, in essence, it is impossible to know.
So how do we answer this impossible question? I’d advise: If you don’t know what you want to do when you grow up, then guess. A certain answer will always get you farther than an ambiguous one – and there is no penalty for changing your mind.
Happy snow day!
(the view west from 14th Street and 3rd Ave, Manhattan)