Police Officer Tops List of Childhood Jobs


The week before last, I had the pleasure of talking to a variety of radio and TV stations across the country about childhood dream jobs, following the release of new research by the ‘Be the Difference’ police recruitment campaign, for which I was a spokesperson.

I’m sure you remember the question well, "What do you want to do when you grow up?"

Top of the list in this research? Police Officer! One in five (21%) working adults in England and Wales said it was their childhood ambition to join the police force, followed by teacher (17%), vet (12%) and singer (11%).

However, the poll found that over a third of working adults (38%) did not pursue their childhood dream job, with (39%) saying they sometimes or often regret that decision, something I often hear from clients myself.

Yet, with around a third (32%) of adults surveyed saying they’re considering a job change in the next 12 months, the ‘Be the Difference’ police recruitment campaign is calling on people to revisit their childhood dreams and discover the rich diverse roles within the police force, the importance of teamwork, and the meaningful difference an officer can make within the community.

As you can imagine, the last few years have proved to be a time of considerable personal growth for many. People’s values and motivations have changed since the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that so many people, especially in the early working life of their 20s and 30s, are now considering a career change. It’s been my experience and a recurring theme in coaching sessions with clients that an increased number of individuals are seeking to move into more meaningful and purposeful work.

As more people seek work that better matches the values that now drive them, it’s clear to see why many would consider joining the police. It’s a role that ticks the boxes of positive rewards and the opportunity to make a difference that people are searching for. Indeed, a role within the police is often one that makes it onto the shortlist of ideas for the clients I coach. If you would like to find out more about a career in the police, you can visit this website: www.joiningthepolice.co.uk.

So, if you too are considering a job change in 2023, how do you go about deciding what your next step should be? Here are my top tips for those considering a move into a more meaningful career:

1. Consider the purpose of the career. Will the career provide you with meaning and purpose? Does it feel like important work that seeks to help or serve someone or a community? These types of careers are often the ones that fulfil and satisfy people the most, and for the longest.

2. Consider the longevity and future professional paths of the career. Does it have opportunities beyond 2-3 years from now, for it to be a sustainable career option? Are there career opportunities within the field that sound appealing beyond the entry one you’re considering? Does it feel varied enough to keep you interested and feeling challenged?

3. Don’t be put off by what’s needed in the short term to lead to a fulfilling career in the long run. You might have to re-train, complete further education, or work in interim roles in order to get where you want in the long run - and that’s OK. If you are considering switching to a career where you’ll feel rewarded by the difference you are able to make, it’ll be worth it in the end.

4. Consider potential jobs that better aligns with your skills and values. Taking some time to think about the things that really matter to you is key. Explore your strengths and passions, for example the joy you get from working as a team– considering how factors like this can be built into your career choices, will help you feel more motivated overall.

5. Remember that fear of change is normal. See it as a sign of incoming growth and learning, as opposed to a reason not to proceed with a career change. Especially if you are looking to do something that’s really different to your current role. Whilst there is uncertainty with a looming recession, there are lots of stable and varied roles, such as becoming a police officer, that could provide the change you are looking for. Stepping out of your comfort zone is where the magic happens in life.

If you know you want to change career, but you’re struggling to decide what you want to do instead, please contact Alice to discuss the 12 session career change programme she offers. Now is the time to revisit those childhood dreams!

PC Abdul Rahmaan, West Yorkshire Police

Alice Stapleton

About Alice

Alice coaches those who want to change career but don’t know what they want to do instead. She offers Career Coaching designed to help graduates, early to mid-level career-changers, and parents returning to work gain a clear vision of what career is right for them, and how to achieve it. She is also an accredited Coach Supervisor, and host of The Career Change Diaries podcast.