What do I want to be when I grow up?

Most careers of the future haven't even been invented yet - so how about inventing some?

"What do I want to be when I grow up?" This was the question I thought about most when I was at school, along with "will time travel ever be invented?".

My parents and their friends all had opinions about where my directions lay – "He's good at Art", "He likes Science", "He seems to like doing things with his hands"…

I had my own ideas, wanting at various times to be a policeman, pilot, "scientist" (as long as it involved test tubes and white coats), biologist, cameraman (after watching the ABC cameramen at the old Wentworth Park Greyhound races one night) and film director. Being in the film industry sounded the best to me, because it seemed like you could pretend to be all of the above.

In the end I became an engineer, software developer, teacher, radio broadcaster, web developer, programmer, sound engineer, father, and a host of other roles too numerous to mention – much like everybody else.

When I was younger, it was expected that once you found a "good job", you would stay there for life, and this would give you a certain reputation of stability and respectability… but this is no longer the case.

The point is, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, and I'm closer to retirement than to starting in the workforce. Depending on which statistics you read, it is estimated that people will have up to seven different careers in their lifetime – the choice they make when they leave school will rarely be the one they retire from – unless of course it is their passion, and if that is the case, chances are they will be doing it long after they have retired.

Which begs the question – why choose a career that isn't a passion?

A quick look at the ATAR scores for university entry in the newspapers reveals some interesting facts – for example, to get into a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communications at the University of Sydney requires a score of 98.5, as does a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Space), and this is higher than both the Bachelor of Science (Advanced Maths) and Bachelor of Design in Architecture.

The ATAR is obviously not dependent on the difficulty of the course - it more accurately reflects the demand for different courses, and the popularity of the Internet, social media, and popular electronic culture has no doubt influenced the demand in this regard.

But don't just follow the fashion - many of the careers that exist today were unheard of less than a decade ago. Most careers of the future haven't even been invented yet - so how about inventing some?

A recent Seminar I attended (I'll write about it in the next blog post) talked about Innovation – how bringing together businesses or industries in unexpected ways can create new and exciting opportunities.

The choices available now enable you to tailor-make your own education, creating your own path, and continually educating yourself throughout your lifetime. So work out your ideal career, and pick the education that will get you there.

Then you'll know what to do when you grow up…