What was your dream job as a teenager?

A sign with the words "dream job" on it.

When I was going through the stuff in my old room recently, I found the results of a careers meeting from my last year at secondary school. You like stories, I know. Bear with me though.

If you’re of a certain vintage, you might well remember the format. You nominated your dream job then answered a load of scale-based questions with pen and paper.

Then, you waited three weeks for the careers advisor to input them into a computer and for a dot matrix printer to spit out multiple suggestions on perforated sheets of not-quite A4 with holes down each side.

The three weeks element was almost certainly down to the printer needing a driver installed or a paper jam.

The results were hit and miss at best. One of my sister’s friends, for example, had dog handler proffered as a potential career. They hated dogs. If only there had been a question about how much you like canines eh?

I laughed to myself about how unenthusiastic my answers made me look. ‘Like very much’ was 1 and ‘Dislike very much’ was 5. Of the 80 questions, I selected 1 and 2 a combined total of 15 times.

Looking through the results, however, the potential jobs weren’t too bad. I wanted to be a journalist and, despite my apparent reluctance to work at weekends or with awkward or difficult people, it came up as a good match.

It also suggested that I seriously consider various careers in computing and translating – I was good at French and German – none of which were too much of a leap.

Given the time this took place – 1995, for the record – the results were very binary and rather abrupt. The first things mentioned beneath the basic job description were that lots of people apply for such roles and that it would mean travelling away from home.

I think this is rather dissuasive, particularly for an impressionable teenager!

It got me wondering how many people left careers meetings with their aspirations already crushed.

Around the same time, a teacher I looked up to told me to forget journalism and I recall this compounding it. It wasn’t until eight years later that I revisited the idea and, sure enough, ended up working on consumer magazines.

My career has evolved since then – I moved into digital communications in the charity and public sectors before becoming a full-time blogger – but I did end up doing what I wanted as a teenager.

I don’t know whether this is unusual or not, but my inkling is that not many people do. As it turns out, it wasn’t my dream job. My current one is and, of course, it didn’t even exist in 1995!

What was your dream job? Were your expectations met or did you end up doing something completely different?


  1. John Adams

    Was it CLIPS the system they used back then? I was so unfocused and directionless at that time that I did this test pretty much every week and had a constant stream of careers suggestions coming my way! I really didn’t know what to do and at one point was even going to do national service in the French armed forces (I qualified because of my family connections to France). My dream job, however, was rock star. now I’m older, wider and had various dealings with the music industry, I cannot tell you how happy I am that didn’t work out.

  2. Tom @Ideas4Dads

    Lol I remember this well – hoping that the data would give me my Eureka moment – sadly it told me I should be a meteorologist…..not sure I’ve ever had a face for television as a weather presenter…..much better suited for radio 😉

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