One Small Step into Space, One Giant Leap Online
A recent survey by LEGO made the news asking 3,000 children in the US, China and the UK about their attitudes to space to mark 50 years since mankind successful mission to land on the moon. Upon being asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’, amongst the UK and US children, the most desirable career aspiration was ‘Vlogger/YouTuber’, with ‘Astronaut’ being answered by only 11%. In contrast, amongst the Chinese children surveyed, overwhelmingly, over half (56%) said astronaut was their top choice.
Social media commentators immediately weighed in with their opinions, the majority of which labelling the aspirations of the next generation as ‘sad’ or ‘lazy’. Others noted them as being savvy as the chances of actually succeeding in achieving their goal of being a vlogger are much higher than being one of a select few men and women who have been into space. Some also noted that Chinese children were perhaps more likely to aspire to become astronauts as the Chinese schooling system heavily emphasised the importance of STEM subjects, whereas western systems were more appreciative of art-based creative subjects.
Spacecraft vs Minecraft
Is there really a right or wrong answer to this question though? Both careers are becoming increasingly popular as social media demands more original video content and personalities and space exploration is being increasingly more important as our natural resources begin to deplete requiring us to look at the possibilities of offworld settlement.
Yes, it could be argued that Vlogging is a relatively new phenomenon and no-one can really be sure whether it will still be a viable career in 20-30 years time as it is today. However, it could also be argued that astronauts’ careers peaked some 50 years ago with Apollo 11, with the zenith being the moon landing.
So are the children who want to be astronauts being more pragmatic than those that answered vloggers? Or is it the other way round? We have previously discussed that Gen Z are more open to curating their own career by being their own boss rather than at the behest of an employer. Being a vlogger represents ultimate career freedom; setting your own working hours, creative freedom, freedom to work and live where you please, travel opportunities etc. In contrast, the career as an astronaut – though very prestigious and admirable – precludes such flexibility; there is strict formal training, regular physical/mental/medical/psychological tests, only a handful of viable employers with limited vacancies and although travel (interplanetary) is a (huge) perk of the job, the majority of the time is spent onsite on a base or perhaps a space station orbiting the Earth. From this perspective then, the jobs of vlogger and astronaut are complete polar opposites. In fact, you could replace the job of astronaut in the survey with similar regimented jobs such as army officer or surgeon and the results might have been the same. In fact, a similar survey in the UK found that over 50% of children would rather be vloggers or YouTubers, with only 13% wishing to be doctors or nurses (incidentally, only 6.4% said they wanted to be lawyers). In the same survey, the respondents which answered YouTuber cited ‘creativity’ above all other reasons behind their choice.
No, instead of asking whether the children surveyed were right or wrong and labelling them as ‘sad’ or ‘lazy’, we should instead be asking why they desire such careers. Are the children opting to become vloggers actually opting for a more flexible career than that of the more traditional, rigid employment such as an astronaut? Again, we have discussed previously that Gen Z are more willing to work for themselves in a freelance or self-employed capacity.
Reach For the Stars Or Become One?
In a less extreme comparison, there are parallels to be drawn between astronaut/vlogger to freelance lawyer/traditional lawyer. Freelancers have chosen a more fluid, flexible career than that of a lawyer in a traditional law firm or a full-time in-house lawyer.
Now obviously very few, if any, vloggers had to make the choice to be either an astronaut or YouTube star like lawyers do between freelance or full-time, but the lifestyle implications remain. Many of our current Varios have chosen to become freelancing legal professionals as they desire a better work life balance or more flexible approach to work than traditional structures allow. Vario Zoe Harris comments; “Freelancing in Vario is so flexible; it allows me to work and keep up with my career development and yet still pursue my passions.”
So, which are you? The regimental, methodical astronaut or the dynamic, creative vlogger?
If you want a more flexible legal career which offers the opportunity to pursue other life passions or better work life harmony, get in touch with Vario today.