What do you want to do when you grow up?

by Gillian Moody

I enjoy the odd night out with an absolutely HI-larious bird by the name of Leonie. Leonie is an all-round great girl and total comedy gold. She always had an amusing anecdote to share and a cachet of rib-tickling games up her sleeve, such as the high-brow “Root, shoot or marry”* and the subject of today’s post: “Top 5 alternative careers”.

The idea of “Top 5 alternative careers” was to nominate what you would do in life if you had absolutely nothing standing in your way – no financial restrictions, educational impediments, emotional blockages, lack of talent or motivation, crippling neuroses, etc. It was part voyeurism. Complete fantasy. Satisfying, in an adult doctors and nurses meets regression therapy (taking you back to a time when you could legitimately answer the question, What do you want to do when you grow up?) kinda way.

It was fascinating to hear what people said. The most height-challenged among us would nominate pro-basketballer. The successful over-achievers would want to become dope dealers (Breaking bad anyone?). The ones who were… um… not-that-good-looking would want to be supermodels.

Most people really got into it. Some couldn’t do it at all. They honestly couldn’t loosen up enough to think freely.

top 5 alt careers prosurfer

I wanted to be a New York celebrity florist, astrophysicist, Nobel laureate, celebrity chef (long before the days where any dickhead could become a celebrity chef by going on reality TV), lead singer of a famous rock band, pro-surfer, cartoonist, illustrator, skateboarder and graffiti artist, supermodel (yep, I was one of those abovementioned), nature documentary maker, nightclub owner, video clip director, author, and movie producer.

So what can I take from this? That I’m a frustrated creative with aspirations of grandeur and a stunning lack of artistic talent? Probably. Okay, not hugely helpful to me.

But what about you? Maybe you’re a bit frustrated with your job. Been thinking you need a change but don’t know what you want to do?

top 5 alt careers monday

Well go on. Crack open a bottle of something you like to drink and get together with some mates. Play “Top 5 alternative careers”. Give it a go, and see what comes up. Maybe you’ll be surprised and you’ll dig up an inner you with a fabulous future career that’s been waiting to be stumbled upon? **

Or maybe you’re one of those irritating sons-of-bitches that’s totes happy with your life and career. Perhaps then a round of “Root, shoot or marry” would be more up your alley.

* “Root, shoot or marry” was a challenging game of strategy favoured only by the most learned of us. Just kidding. The way it went was your mates would offer you three carefully considered options (people who were famous or otherwise) and you had to nominate which one you’d like to root, which you’d shoot and the one you’d marry. Sounds easy but when you’re 11 sheets to the wind and you have to work out which one you’d want to root from a choice selection such as Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd and Clive Palmer, things definitely got a bit rugged.

** Please note that I am not a career counsellor or HR consultant and am in no way qualified to dispense any useful advice on this matter.

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • Yes, Sarah, this is the slightly more aggressive ‘Oz’ version! I love this idea G – I can’t stop thinking about all the careers I might have. Marathon runner, genre novelist (a la Stephen King or Jackie Collins), screenwriter, fashion designer, international human rights lawyer, advice columnist, hot air balloon pilot… Oh, and I have an answer to your root, shoot, marry question but I don’t think it’s wise to share it here. 😉

  • I already know my alternative career – florist. I can totally see myself sitting surrounded by flowers all day long. Only no baby’s breath. I cannot stand baby’s breath. Maybe I’ll call my shop “Baby Breathless” so everyone knows from the outset. Hmmm, in thinking this through, I’d probably have to hire someone to go to the flower markets for me. I don’t like getting up early. Or manual labour. OK, so I’d need to hire a florist. I’m thinking that maybe I should just go sit in a park with flowers.

  • Love this idea, I have often done something similar but flipped it around a bit, asking people who are quite successful what their alternate career would be. One woman I know is a very well respected cancer researcher, her ‘dream’ job is to run a home business doing hair and make-up for weddings – she currently does it as a hobby on weekends. Another friend is a bit of a marketing guru but would love to run his own free range farm and butchery, he’s a wealth of knowledge on cuts of meat and taste according to pasture etc. No idea why but I’ve always thought I’d love to run a sandwich shop, making lovely english style sandwiches and pots of tea. I even know the style of apron I would wear.

  • Hahahahaha jobs I have held include a Careers Counsellor AND an HR Consultant and I LOVE a good drinking game. Root Shoot or Marry will definitely be on the list of games to play when I am next with My Lovelies and I can guarantee it will be ripsnorting good fun! (Oh and BTW – it’s my first day back at work after 2 weeks on Surfers Paradise so the Dog photo is way to coincidental…. 🙂 Cheers!

    • Hahahaha that’s hilarious Angela! Def hope you get some enjoyment from RSM, I certainly had some serious fun with it over the years! Gee I’m so mature hahahaha. Hope your Tuesday is a bit easier than Monday 😉

  • This reminds me on some level of competing a computer (tres fancy, even if it was a green/black screen) survey at age 16 on something called JAC (jobs and careers?).

    The green screen determined I had two options in life: model (too bad if looks were lacking, the computer said it was so!), or baggage handler.

    I’m still bamboozled.

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