What are you gonna be when you grow up?

I resist using the Department of Labor’s “Dictionary of Occupational Titles” for anyone looking for new careers.  Any narrow categorization of a person’s skills may overlook unique personal characteristics or interests.  If you sell used binoculars on eBay and make $100,000 a year there may not be an occupational title description that fits that well.  But then again, I’m frequently amazed at some of the titles that are actually listed there.  Here are just a few – I am not making any of these up.  They are listed in the 660 pages of DOL job titles.  You can check them out yourself at: Dictionary of Occupational TitlesEntreStartupKit_2_w_txt-300x295

EarMuff Assembler, EcclesiasticalArtMetal Worker, Drawstring Knotter, Dope Mixer, Doorshaker, DollEyeSetter, Dinkey Operator, Butt Maker, Breast Buffer, Brain Picker,  Bung Dropper, Asparagus Sorter, Head Switcher, Enologist, Toe Pounder, Umbrella Tipper, and of course Easter Bunny.

These are more creative than I could make up.  So, obviously, you can give yourself most any title.  When required to list my position in my company, I write “Creative Thinker.”  What do you want to be?

Can you take what you know about yourself and describe the work that “fits” you?  It may not conform to any category.  You may not find it on a list of occupations.  You may not be able to find classes in college that relate to it.  Can you pursue it anyway and be extraordinary – or are you going to fall back into a “normal” career just to be safe?

Check out our resources page for tools that can help you design the work that fits only you.  You’ll see things like

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If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, dentist or teacher you already know the path to get there.  If you know you need something more creative, then don’t settle for the ordinary.  

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“My mother was always been unhappy with what I do.  She would much rather I had done something nicer, like be a bricklayer.”  Mick Jagger

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  • Dan, my three children are getting to the age where they have or will graduate high school and college. They are confronted with the challenge of answering this question. I told all three of them that the days of getting a college degree, joining a company and spending 30 to 40 years climbing that corporation ladder are really things of the past. They could have multiple careers over their lifetime. I want them to be excited about the possibilities instead of focusing on a career path that does not exist anymore. Thanks for all you do.

  • James Divine

    But I never want to grow up! But be careful. Because someone has decided to be a teacher doesn’t mean we are settling for the ordinary. To be a great teacher takes MORE creativity, not less, although most settle on just being a good rather than great teacher.