I’ve already done Childhood Favorites a while back, and that list doesn’t really change, so I decided to put a spin on things!
Looking back, I remember reading books as a kid and actually thinking: “Wouldn’t it be cool to have that as a career!” I mean, for a while, it was fun fantasizing the types of adventures I’d get up to with the career paths in fiction. Many usually start under humble beginnings, and that made me think, “Oh, if this person can start with nothing, I can, too!”
Alas, most of these careers don’t actually exist, and their real counterparts are probably something I’ll do in my next life (or something I might have already done in my previous, who knows).
Ten Jobs I Wanted After Reading Books In My Childhood
Assistant Pig-Keeper (The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander)
“And thus did an assistant pig-keeper become High King of Prydain.” Honestly, this could have gone either way. I wanted to be Eilonwy for a large part of my reading Alexander’s story of Prydain, but I felt like her final sacrifice was a cop-out and I REALLY WANTED HER TO KEEP HER MAGIC DAMMIT. Why can’t women be sorceresses AND queen consorts? Ugh. That said, Taran’s journey was something fun to read. He was, for most of the book–up until the last two–underestimated because he was some kid who was not a warrior, not a lord, but a boy training to become a pig-keeper. When I read of his journey, I totally wanted to be a pig-keeper’s assistant because Taran totally flourished even against all the odds.
Lady Knight (Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce)
Oh, you know this was on the list of things I wanted to be when I grew up. Knights and chivalry and kings and queens are things in fantasy I tended to read about growing up, but instead of being a princess, I totally wanted to be as kickass as Alanna. I wanted magical powers, purple eyes, and an ancient sword. I wanted to learn how to fight, how to pick locks (thanks a lot for that bout of misdemeanor, George), and how to rule a fief. I wanted to be a lady knight, and by the Goddess, if Alanna can crossdress her way to a shield, then as a girl, I could, too!
Archmage (The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin)
Before J.K. Rowling and Hogwarts, I wanted to be a wizard. When I started reading about Ged and Roke, the wizard school in Earthsea, I knew back then I wanted to be the Archmage of that school. Ged learned many things going to wizard school, and for a time, I could relate to Ged. Le Guin was quite honestly one of the entries to fantasy, especially one where dark-skinned, island-folk were the main characters. Ged and I shared many similarities; we’d lost a parent when we were younger, got shipped out of our homeland to a place where we went to school, and we were both dark-skinned and dark-haired. In the end, we both became teachers, even–granted, Ged just took it to a whole other level.
Girl Detective (Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene)
After reading so much of the Nancy Drew mysteries when I was in elementary school, of course I wanted to be just like Nancy Drew. For a brief time, I even fiddled with the idea of learning martial arts (which lasted one session) just so I can kick ass while solving crimes. Mystery novels were my jam, man, and knowing that a girl sleuth was solving them while her lawyer father was away screamed every bit of an adventure as, say, an assistant pig-keeper.
Space Scientist (A Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L’Engle)
Oh yes, even before I realized I wanted to be The Doctor, I wanted to travel space and time by tesseracting. If Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which can tesseract, and the Murrys can tesseract, it’s definitely possible, right? I mean, Meg’s mother was practically a scientist who was studying tesseracts with her husband! Honestly, I wanted to be a general scientist because of A Wrinkle in Time. Then I realized I needed to pass physics for that, and…yeah. No thanks. But stars are pretty?
Chocolate Factory Owner (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl)
Oh come on. Who doesn’t want to be the next owner of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory? Who doesn’t want to win the final prize and a lifetime supply of chocolate? When I read this book, I kept yelling at Charlie to stop making silly mistakes. He still made some silly mistakes, but to be honest, I suppose that’s what got him the gig in the first place, right? Still, I could totally have done better in his shoes.
Evil Mastermind (Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer)
Artemis Fowl was the first glimpse I had to the wonderful spectrum of multi-faceted anti-heroes. Not only were there geniuses in the world, but Artemis Fowl taught me that many of them didn’t just save the world, they also tried to manipulate the natural order of things for their benefit. Sure, we find out why Artemis was doing the things he did, but it took a while, and it doesn’t excuse his pure conniving-ness. Frankly, I liked Artemis when he was entirely being a supervillain. But then again, this is also why I think Jafar, Maleficent, and Scar were my favorite Disney characters…
Also, doesn’t being an evil mastermind seem fun? It does to me.
Pianist Virtuoso (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)
This is probably the most realistic profession on this list, and for a long while, I’d taken piano lessons hoping to be just like Beth March (and–for the later part of my formative years–Lizzie Bennet). Being a piano virtuoso may have been a possibility for me, had I the drive to practice piano hours and hours a day. But alas, books and school and video games kept me busy as is that piano was just something I did several times a week as a hobby. Nowadays I don’t even play the piano, though I do have great appreciation for pianists and the instrument itself.
Battle School Commander (Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card)
This idea was really cool to me up until Ender realizes he wasn’t playing a virtual game. This was the real deal, y’all. Actual armies were pitted against actual monsters, and all the commands were coming from this one savant who seemingly had the answers to everything. Ender played his game like a chess player would, and honestly, I wanted to be in that cockpit, sending my pawns and knights and bishops toward the enemy’s side. It was a cool concept, and I wanted to be part of it.
Maid Marian (The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley)
Alright, she’s not exactly a profession, but everything about McKinley’s Maid Marian worked for me. There’s still an image near the end of the book where Maid Marian takes Robin’s bow and shoots an arrow with it, and you’re kind of left going, “Oh shit. This girl’s got aim, too!” This image, this scene, was pretty much why I wanted to learn archery. Robin Hood opened up the doors for thieves with the heart of gold, but Maid Marian shooting like a BAMF was what got me fascinated by the legend in the first place. Forget Katniss Everdeen and Fire and Merida. Maid Marian is where it’s at.
So, my question is, how do you even begin applying for some of these jobs? XD