Throwback Thursday #27 – Career Dreams

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday. Lauren took us back to family vacations last week. This week we are here to talk about those childhood dreams that may or may not have come to fruition.

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Career Dreams

A few weeks ago we talked about role models and mentors. Today the challenge is to think back and try to remember the careers you once imagined for yourself as a child.

So many children dream of wanting to be a teacher, or a doctor, or astronaut. Some of those dreams we might achieve, and some drift to the wayside. I remember years ago when my daughter told me she either wanted to be a doctor or a babysitter! Such variety!

These questions might spark a memory or two:

  1. Do you remember what you first wanted ‘to be’ when you grew up?
  2. Any idea what inspired that dream?
  3. What ‘job’ did you most emulate in play?
  4. Did you have any idea what salary or pay you thought you would have?
  5. Were there careers you knew you did NOT want to do?
  6. Were you ever encouraged to follow in the footsteps of a family member?
  7. Were you ever urged to join a family business?
  8. Were you ever discouraged from a particular field? If so, why?
  9. Did you have a Career Fair at school?
  10. As an adult looking back, do you ever wish you had taken the direction of your childhood dreams?

My post follows:

Thinking back, other than fantasy play (cowboys and Indians – not politically correct I know, but it was what I saw on television) the only career oriented play I remember was being a dentist. I had one of those rubber-like dolls designed to take a baby bottle. I found it perfect to transplant teeth into. I would take straight pins from my grandmother’s sewing box and push them into the doll’s mouth. Up she went on a stack of pillows beside a pole lamp. With my father’s pliers, I would slowly pull out all of her teeth. Voila!

My parents had lackluster jobs as far as I was concerned. They were blue-collar workers who seemed to be tired and their energy spent most of the time. Those manufacturing jobs were never on my radar although I did work in some factories along the way out of necessity.

I always wrote. From the first poem I ever wrote (’The Cookie Jar’) I knew writing would always be part of me. I have written (in my old blog) before about learning the word ‘abode’ and falling in love with it. I never saw writing as a career though. The same with art. I always drew, but never considered it as a career either. It just seemed a part of me like an arm or a leg.

I fancied myself a fashion designer when I was in elementary school. I remember pages and pages of oddly shaped people I drew and for whom I fashioned clothes.  I think I realized early on fashion design was not to be ‘my thing’. 

I had thoughts of becoming an elevator operator. Those women in the department stores running those elevators with what seemed to be gilded doors seemed like the height of luxury to me. I have written about that as well.

In junior high (7th through 9th) I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist. Egypt and the pyramids fascinated me. I am not sure when I fell out of favor with that idea. Then I decided becoming a diamond cutter would be perfect! At least until I learned any mistakes made would be my financial responsibility. I think that idea helped to dissuade me.

By the time I was a junior in high school (11th) my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It changed everything. Not only was I being asked to consider the very real likelihood of losing my mother, but it was also nearing time for deciding about a career. There was no money for college and our family needed money. I decided to follow in the footsteps of my other three siblings and join the military. I have written about that journey (here) if you did not read it the first time around. It became one of my most popular posts for that time period.

As far as salaries are concerned I never had any lofty goals. I do remember learning in the mid 1960s the presidential salary at the time was $100,000. I could never imagine that kind of money! My first job as a waitress was 90¢ an hour plus tips so I fell a little short of $100K. Thankfully I progressed a little further throughout my IT career.

Looking back I did okay. I never made it to Egypt but our history buried in the earth still intrigues me. I never made it into training to be a diamond cutter, but I did finally take lapidary classes and learned to cut simple facets in semi-precious stones. There is something magical about turning a rock into a stone suitable for setting into a piece of jewelry.


60 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #27 – Career Dreams”

  1. I think we are all caught in a mix of parental finances and the times we lived in, when it comes to job choices. Here are my answers.
    1) When I was very young, I wanted to be a policeman.
    2) That was probably because my dad’s younger brother was a policeman in London.
    3) Being a soldier. We always played ‘War’.
    4) At the time my dad was earnng £25 a week, (a good wage then) I used to tell him I was going to earn £20. It would never have occured to me that I could earn more than him.
    5) Working on the docks (we lived in that river area) and heavy manual labour of any kind.
    6) Not really.
    7) We didn’t have one until I was 24, then I worked in it (a liquor store) for a few years.
    8) The Army/Navy/Air Force. My mum didn’t want me to get killed in a war.
    9) Yes, mostly banks and armed forces in attendance. Some insurance companies too.
    10) In a circular way, I did end up doing my childhood dream job. I applied to the police when I was 19, but failed the height requirement that existed at the time. I later became an EMT for 22 years, then finally got to work for the police as a communications specialist in London’s Special Operations Division.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I enjoyed your responses, Pete. I wonder in these days if young boys still dream of being a police officer? I don’t think I knew anything about policemen except what I saw on television. Living in a rural area, we never saw them. Maybe a game warden or perhaps on a very rare occasion a sheriff’s car would drive through.

      I can not imagine working in a liquor store. I wonder what makes one decide to purchase and run a store of any kind? We’re there restrictions on when alcohol could be sold? Where Imlived only liquor had to be bought in a state owned store.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There were no limits on hat we could sell. We had an income, and also extensive accommodation above. But the hours were long, and when I got married in 1977, I took a different job, and only helped out at weekends. 🙂


  2. I figure it would take about 13 years to earn $100K at 90 cents an hour, and that’s if you work every hour of the year. I think that’s a little hard to do…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank goodness I did not waitress for 13 years. I applaud those who support themselves in that way, but it is hard work! I chuckle when I think of my early W2’s. They almost did not need to use commas in the figures!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You sure had a lot of career aspirations! I always dreamed of being a mom more than anything. In high school I thought maybe I’d like being a flight attendant, but I never followed through on that one. I Went to work for American Express right out of high school and worked my way through college. After that I got married, had children and lived the dream! Once my kids were all of school age I went to work as a Registrar in the school system. I had the same days and hours as my children did while they grew up. It worked out perfectly since family was always my top priority over career.

    I look forward to learning more about you. Enjoy the rest of the week!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Martha, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I would really have enjoyed having the same schedule as my children when they were school aged. Having the summers off together would have been so nice. I knew I wanted to be a mom ‘someday’ but I never thought about it much as a child. Thanks again for stopping by.


  4. Maggie I admire your many talents. I never did waitressing. My mom did that and she said she would have killed me if I did that. I did work at McD as did most teens in my neighborhood. It’s great that you are working in jewelry making, fulfilling a dream from younger days. I can honestly say, I never thought of becoming a diamond cutter at any point in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh, the dreams of a young girl. Waitressing wasn’t so bad – at least when I was young. I learned a lot about people. It is not a career I would want at a more advanced age. McDonald’s is one place I do not think I would ever want to work. My ex sister-in-law worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. She lost a lot of weight on that job because she got so sick of the sweet smells. Jewelry making and lapidary are alchemy as far as I am concerned. I do love both.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wanted to be a park naturalist, as a friend of my parents in childhood was. We visited Yosemite where he was a season park ranger. I thought it was wonderful, as were all the campfire programs led by park naturalists in the various national parks that we camped in, during my childhood and young teen years.

    My dad was a professor, so I always wanted to be a teacher, too. And perhaps emulated his academic trajectory in my own life without thinking about whether it really suited me!

    I never thought about what salary I might earn, but my parents’ divorce when I was in college brought home the struggles my mom had to create her own financial resources, which she did successfully, underscoring to me the importance of managing money yourself.

    Happily, my career path took me from academic botanist to informal science educator (at a university botanical garden, where I became the Director of Education, a lofty-sounding title for a job I created). I never made a particularly good salary, but happily I was a good buy-and-hold investor, encouraged by my mother’s example.

    I loved the teaching and outreach part of my position and have carried into my post-paid work life. The drama of my workplace — well, that I don’t regret.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa, it seems you always were drawn to the outdoors and you have never strayed from that path. Your knowledge always astounds me. Money certainly is not everything in a career. Loving what you do is perhaps the most important aspect of what we spend our life doing.


  6. I learned later in life that I could enjoy doing many things without having to make money at them or even try to be perfect. As a child I wanted to be a writer, so I blog. Later on I thought being a “stewardess” would be glamorous so I travel–but considering my poor balance and motion sickeness, being a flight attendant wasn’t very realistic. I prefer to be a passenger!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a vertigo sufferer, I can appreciate your struggles with balance and dizziness. I loved traveling before it became so chaotic. I am more a road trip kind of girl now (and I use the term ‘girlk loosely as I am retired.)


  7. Your memories are wonderful, diverse in your career dreams. Love that you wanted to be a dentist and an elevator operator at about the same time.

    Do you remember what you first wanted ‘to be’ when you grew up? The first career dream beyond being a cowgirl, of course– was to be a magazine editor. I didn’t know that term at the time, but I remember making my own magazine with pictures and stories. I loved putting things together on the page. Kind of achieved that dream with my blog, actually.


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