As children it is quite common to be asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Taking into account the high level of frustration most professionals have and the reality that most of the time we do not work at what we study, I propose a change to this question.
What do you want to do when you grow up?
Among the reasons for this suggestion, I think how hard it is to visualize being an architect, an engineer or a variety of professions and the frustrations that may come about if you aren’t able to reach that labelled goal. However, if instead you ask what you want to do, you can have more flexibility in regards to what you want to do in your life.
Here’s an example: you ask a kid, “what do you want to be when you grow up” and they say video game designer. That’s a pretty broad term. However if instead you asked them what you want to do, and they answer, make videogames, the answer allows you to ask further. Are you interested in graphics, in writing the story, in gameplay, in shading, light sourcing or producing? Are you more interested in the music? It broadens the horizon and can help show there’s a wonderful world of possibilities. Heck, if they want to do it all themselves, they can, though it’s a tough route that not many are able to go through, just check Indie Game: The Movie.
Imagine that conversation if someone says they want to build things, make music, help people… even make money. It gives you the flexibility to engage in conversation and to better visualize what you want to do. It also gives you options. Right now there are many professionals that need to reinvent themselves because there are no jobs in their field.
If they focus on what they enjoy about what they do, they shall always have the liberty to think beyond the job title and focus on the impact they have in the world.