The Question Is… What Did You Think You’d Grow Up To Be?


cash register

What if you’d grown up to become what you dreamed of as a kid?

My greatest dream when I was a little kid was to be a checker at the grocery store.

My mother thought this was the funniest thing. Other little girls wanted to be ballerinas or teachers. My brother wanted to be a karate master. My best friend John wanted to be an astronaut or a millionaire.

I just wanted to push buttons, talk to everybody who came through, and see what everybody else bought.

Looking back on every job I ever had before coming here, I have to admit that my favorite was being a cashier at a women’s clothing store. I loved not having the pressure of selling, but all the fun of talking to all the customers. I loved being the one who could solve any of the computer’s problems.

Despite the fact that I’ve never been happier than I am now—writing and editing on this site with a purpose and a goal—I think as a kid I had a pretty good idea of who I was. I still think that standing behind the counter and ringing people sounds pretty fun.

How about you? What’d you think you would grow up to be?

Do you ever wish you’d followed that dream?


Photo: Flickr/marioanima 

About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and editor with a special focus in issues facing raising boys and gender in the media. Her work has appeared on Redbook, Yahoo!, xoJane,,, and more. She and her husband are outdoor sports enthusiasts raising very active sons. She is currently co-editing a book of essays for boys and young men with author and advocate Jeff Perera. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.


  1. I wanted to be:

    1) a scientist (I eventually majored in Kinesiology)
    2) a choreographer (I had my chance in 7th grade; now I’ll just be grateful for a stint in Vegas)
    3) a music producer (this is one I’m glad to not have had the chance to do though I would love to play or perform music again).

    Thanks for invoking the memories!

  2. Kim Was Indecisive says:

    I wanted to be all of these things:

    1) A chef
    2) A truck driver
    3) A Solid Gold Dancer
    4) A florist
    5) A geologist

    Oddly, I did not become any of those things – with the exception of a stint as an amateur cook in a coffeehouse in the 90s. I do still like dancing around like everybody’s watching and also picking up shiny things off the ground.I’m not sure how I got involved in this whole writing/editing gambit, LOL.

  3. I wanted to be powerful and rich (not necessarily in that order). I had then, nor do I have now, any care for fame – that seems like a pain. But being in charge – and rich, really stinking rich – well – that would’ve been awesome!

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Can totally get behind that, Devon. That’s how my brother was. He wanted to be Donald Trump… He is SO NOT that now. I mean, he is so far from having a career in finance that it’s hilarious.

  4. I always wanted to be an adventurer, like Indiana Jones. I totally wish I had done this.

  5. The earliest thing I remember wanting to be was a waiter… I wanted to balance things on a big tray and hold it above my head…

    In grade school I wanted to be a space detective and briefly wanted to be a ninja.

    I did cashiering for a number of years… it drained me. Feeling trapped in the little counter, having to make the same old small talk with the never-ending line of people… nothankyouverymuch…

  6. Allan Mott says:

    I wanted to be a movie director, but the more I’ve learned the more it became clear to me that I don’t have the temperament or drive for it. I’m simply not that ambitious. Writing is much more suited to my personality.

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