Why We Should Stop Asking People What They Want to Be: Part 1

June 24, 2019

Moving Away from Jobs and Job Titles

We’re all familiar with answering the question of what we want to be. From a young age we’re faced with speculations about what we want to be when we grow up, what we want to study in school, andwhat sort of job we want after we graduate. When you ask kids this question, you usually get answers like firefighter, teacher, or astronaut. We can make a pretty good guess about what someone their age might say because kids only have exposure to a fraction of the jobs available to them. I’d argue that the same is true for adults.
How many jobs in the world do you think you could name? Most people will say something between 100-200 jobs. When we think about the fact that there are over 200,000 jobs in the world (Lengelle & Meijers, 2015), a number that is rapidly growing, 100-200 is less than 1% of all the jobs that exist. Not only that, but the jobs we do know of (and those we don’t) are likely to change over time, all while new jobs are being created (Issid, 2014).
This leads to a condition where jobs are increasingly difficult to define, meaning that job descriptions must become more creative and, ultimately, more ambiguous (Dixon, 2017).
When it’s impossible for us to keep up with job titles, they become an ineffective means by which to direct and define our careers. So how do we stay relevant? By moving away from a consideration of jobs and job titles, and towards the challenges, problems, and opportunities that exist in the world.

Stay tuned for Part 2!


Blog by April Dyrda
Registered Provisional Psychologist
Calgary Career Counselling



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