Can you remember? Did you have a burning passion to be a fireman, or a driving desire to man a steam train? Maybe you nursed a love for the NHS, or harboured a longing for the sea?
Whatever it was you wanted to be, chances are you haven't fulfilled your dream. In a recent survey by JCB Toughphones, only 15 per cent of adults were doing the job they'd dreamed of doing in childhood.
And so many careers we thought were viable as children barely exist now: there aren't many jobs going for engine drivers. Other careers are so new that none of us could have imagined we'd be doing what we do; who would have thought the internet would come along to claim so many of us?
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Besides, a lot of jobs that seem appealing when we're young lose their lustre as we get older (with the NHS being squeezed; only those with the strongest vocation still dream of being a nurse).So what should you do if your child starts talking about doing something that doesn't meet with your exacting standards? Is it worth worrying if they start pursuing one career path when you're sure they won't be happy in the long run? What happens if you know they've picked something that's totally unsuitable for them?
We asked some Yahoo! readers what they thought.
"My nephew told me he was going to be a Games Workshop employee, painting Warhammer figures all day long. For a moment I was horrified at the lack of ambition, but then I remembered that i was a sci-fi nerd too and used to think the Games Workshop was pretty cool myself. Now he's talking about being a computer scientist." Caz K
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"My five-year-old wants to be a ballet dancer, which seems like a horrible career to me. Sadly, she'll soon learn that you can't dance with the ample bosom all the women in my family inherit. Hopefully she'll have moved on to something else by then!" Ella M
"I don't mind what my children do so long as they're happy… and can afford to pay for my care in old age (I should really have got that pension sorted)." S. Morris
"It's not that I'd mind my kids doing something like accountancy or – please no! – estate agency, I'd just be a bit bemused that they didn't want to do something more exciting." M. Nichol
"I'm not worried what she does -- unless she plans on being a Nazi sympathiser or a serial killer or something." N. Worley
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So it seems like most parents aren't all that worried about what their child wants to do in life, so long as they're happy (as the old cliche goes). But is that really true? Don't parents secretly want their children to achieve even more than they did? One mother I spoke to did confess to ambition for her child:
"I really wanted to be a singer/songwriter, but I didn't have any confidence in my talent. If I'm honest, I would love my daughter to do what I didn't so I can live the experience vicariously through her. It's not the done thing to admit that, so I pretend to everyone that I don't mind what she does so long as she's happy. But if she did something really mainstream and boring I'd be gutted." Ms M
So maybe there are some pushy parents out there who are watching their children's career with more interest than they'd like to admit.
But is there any point? Firstly, children change their minds every week, and secondly we have no idea what the future holds. It's worth remembering that the Generation Y graduates (those in their mid-twenties now) don't have quite the same concept of "career" as the generations before them.
Many of them have opted to see life as a series of different challenges, from travelling, to working in unusual jobs, to being freelance; for many of them, the idea of climbing up a career ladder is totally alien. Who knows what the generations below them will make of the work place. But chances are, they'll be doing jobs we've never even heard of.
In the meantime, you could always lock them in a high tower until they agree to follow your chosen career path to chartered accountancy or divorce lawyer.
At the heart of Team Mum is the video series Raising an Olympian, sponsored by Proctor and Gamble, profiling athletes from across the world, their dedicated efforts to make it to Olympic Games, and the mothers who had tremendous impacts on their lives. Watch the videos on Yahoo! Lifestyle Team Mum.