Avoid the Adult Nightmare: 13 Jobs We Loved as Kids But Would Regret Now

By Krystal Brown

Growing up, we all had fun, sometimes colorful ideas about who we would be and what we wanted to do. Here are 12 dreamy jobs we loved as kids but would never do now that we’re adults.


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Everyone grew up watching cartoons of powerful mermen like King Triton and beautiful mermaids like Ariel. So, of course, come career day, we dressed up in mermaid costumes and proudly declared, “I want to be a mermaid.” Now, however, we recognize how silly and impractical this dreamy job is. For one, there’s the breathing issue, fishy diet, and most importantly, where would we even get decent Wi-Fi?


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If you’ve ever seen Pirates of the Caribbean or Sinbad, you’ll have certainly nursed hopes of adventuring on the high seas in search of treasure and freedom. Never mind the fact that you actually didn’t have any idea what this “treasure” is supposed to look like. Being a pirate seems fun, doesn’t it?

However, one thing these movies and cartoons failed to clearly mention is that pirating is actually illegal and dangerous. There’s also the constant fear of scurvy and never knowing when you’ll encounter a storm strong enough to pull your ship under.

Candy Taste Tester

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Children love candy, and they’ll eat it all day, every day. So, it’s no surprise that one job that every child dreams of having is becoming a candy taste tester. This makes sense; after all, how else are you supposed to get to eat candy all day long and for free, too?

Now, however, we’re very conscious of looming threats for sugar lovers, like diabetes and cavities. Plus, candy is hardly a balanced diet, now is it?


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If you went out into the street and asked ten children what they want to become in the future, you’d undoubtedly have at least one who wants to be a ninja. From all that we see on TV, being a ninja certainly is cool. You get to maintain an air of mystery and then bust out some delicious moves when bad guys threaten you.

But in reality, being a ninja, as we all came to realize, isn’t exactly the best of career choices, especially when you consider the increased likelihood of injury and the solitary lifestyle. Plus, being a stealthy shadow warrior doesn’t exactly come with a 401(k).

Toy Designer

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The one thing that rivals a child’s love for candy is their love for toys. So it is no surprise that being a toy designer is one of the dreamy jobs we think of as children. Just imagine getting to play with toys all day long! Now, however, there’s the understanding that being a toy designer is not as simple as it seems.
Imagining and playing with toys all day was a childhood dream job. But as adults, we now understand how complex being a toy designer can be quite challenging. This is because there are so many things to pay attention to in the competitive business aspect. There’s also the fact that endless meetings about toy safety standards will somehow end up diluting the fun.

Race Car Driver

Man driving car
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The need for speed was exhilarating until adulthood introduced the concepts of life insurance, the value of safety, and the environmental impact of burning so much fuel for sport. Suddenly, racing around a track at breakneck speeds has lost a lot of appeal.


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Roping cattle and riding into sunsets seemed adventurous when we were watching cartoon personas doing it on screen. Now that we’ve learned all about the hardships of farm life, animal management, and the economic challenges within agricultural sectors, it’s not so appealing anymore. Not to mention the early mornings and constant smell of manure!

Secret Agent

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Covert missions and spy gadgets have always been thrilling concepts, and even now, you’ll still find many adults toying with the idea of how cool it is to be a secret agent. But a closer look at this career path unearths facts about the dangers, the ethical ambiguities, and the strain on personal relationships that a life of espionage entails. Adulting sure takes the ‘cool’ out of classified.

Treasure Hunter

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Unearthing ancient artifacts and discovering hidden riches sounded enthralling when we were kids. After all, who doesn’t want to be the next Indiana Jones? Adulthood, however, brings a new perspective: legality issues, the actual historical value vs. personal gain, and the physical risks involved.


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As kids, floating in zero gravity and exploring distant planets seemed like the ultimate adventure. But the adult us recognizes the intense physical demands, extreme isolation, and danger that make rocketing off Earth less appealing. Being an astronaut is still an excellent career choice; however, it’s so grueling that many people prefer to give up.

Pop Star

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Do you remember those times when you’d stand in front of the mirror with your hairbrush microphone in your hands? Playing those imaginary concerts used to be so much fun. Now, though, we know much more about the realities of fame, rigorous schedules, and a lack of privacy accompanying being a pop star.

Circus Performer

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Mesmerized by the colorful, adrenaline-fueled spectacle, many kids dream of life under the big top. Adulthood, however, unveils a less glamorous side to being a circus performer. This includes the itinerant lifestyle, physical strain, risk of serious injury, and ethical concerns regarding animal performers. The circus life certainly isn’t quite the whimsical fantasy we once believed.

Mad Scientist

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There’s certainly this special kind of appeal that comes with being a mad scientist, isn’t there? Concocting wild experiments in a lab surrounded by bubbling potions and that feeling of being unstoppable. The grown-up perspective? A deep concern for ethical science, the potential risks of playing with volatile substances, and the realization that real scientific breakthroughs require years of meticulous, often unexciting study.