The majority of adults still wish they were in the jobs they dreamt of as children.

The (non) pursuit of happiness.

Research by Perkbox Insights has found that the majority of adults never really get over their dream jobs. Whilst 96 per cent of adults were not successful in making their childhood dream jobs a reality, a whopping 64 per cent of adults still wish that they were working in their childhood dream jobs now.

The study also revealed the most popular childhood dream jobs to be. They included: Vet, in which one in 10 dreamt of becoming, and teacher with 9 per cent dreaming of pursuing this career. This was followed by pilot (6 per cent), actor (6 per cent) and police officer/detective (5 per cent).

With only 4 per cent making their childhood dream job a reality, it begs the question of if childhood dreams play any part in shaping the future or if dreams and reality are actually lightyears apart? The study found that the dream of being a lawyer or teacher were the dreams most likely to come true – with 14 per cent of those who dreamt of becoming a lawyer now working in the law, law enforcement or security sector, whilst the same amount who dreamt of becoming a teacher now working in education. Other dreams, such as becoming an actor or athlete were much less likely to come true, with the most common jobs for these dreams to turn into being in the hospitality/events management and accountancy sectors respectively.

But how important is following these childhood dreams? It turns out that following through on childhood dreams could have an impact on future happiness. The survey found that 92 per cent of people who ended up in their childhood dream job are happy in their job as an adult, leaving only 8 per cent unhappy. Alternatively, 84 per cent of those who did not end up in their childhood dream are happy in their job, leaving twice the amount unhappy (16 per cent). Does wistful thinking of dreams gone by leave us feeling like the grass is greener elsewhere?

When looking into why these dreams didn’t become a reality, the result revealed some sad truths. 43 per cent felt that they didn’t have the talent, opportunity or resources to pursue their childhood dream job, which breaks down to a disproportionate 28 per cent of women, compared to just 15 per cent of men. Begging the question – is this a lack of confidence or is there a feeling of lack of opportunities for young women.

The amount of training required for certain careers is often off-putting too, with almost 1 in 10 (9 per cent) stating this was a reason they didn’t pursue their dream job – including the most popular dreams jobs of Vet and Pilot. A further 8 per cent didn’t pursue their dream because the career isn’t always well paid.

The reason to pursue a job least likely to lead to happiness, is because  it’s local (10 per cent), with over 1 in 5 (21 per cent) people who got into their job this way unhappy at work – showing that settling close to home may not be the answer.

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