When I grow up I wanna be…

In our house, we like to talk about what we do for a living.

In our house, we like to talk about what we do for a living. My husband, an urban planner, bought a children’s book (Where Things Are From Near to Far) to help him explain his occupation to Adam in simple terms, and last year I spoke to Adam’s junior kindergarten class about magazines/newspapers and the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

We also make sure Adam knows work isn’t a grownup version of school — it’s what adults do to earn money to support themselves and their families. Before long, my enterprising six-year-old wanted to know what kind of job he could do when he grows up.

After I emphasized that he has lots of time to figure this out, we tried to name as many jobs as we could. Some were obvious to him — waiter, teacher, doctor, bus driver, librarian, cook, coach, musician, dentist, fireman etc. — because these are people he interacts with in his day-to-day life. But it made me realize most occupations are nowhere on his radar.

“How will I decide?” Adam asked, concerned. I told him that as time goes on he’ll discover what he enjoys and what he’s good at. Since he likes computer games, I explained there are people who design, make and sell those games as their work — and there are lots of other jobs that involve computers, too.

A couple of weeks later, I was chatting with one of the tech guys in my office and asked if he might take Adam for a “tour” of the IT department and explain in simple terms what they do. He agreed adding, “Our server room is pretty cool, actually.” I’ll let you know how it goes in a future post.

Incidentally, the senior kindergarten teachers at Adam’s school made a year-end video of all the SKers saying what they want to be when they grow up. The responses included ice cream man, rock star, artist, archaologist, spy, Lego designer, policeman and veterinarian. My little guy wants to be an astronaut. Who knew?

Have your kids told you what they want to be?

About the Author

Tamar Satov

Managing Editor, CPA magazine
Tamar is a journalist specializing in business, parenting and personal finance. She blogs regularly in this space with advice and anecdotes on her efforts to raise a money-smart kid.