In today's world of selfies and self-applauding status updates, it would be easy to assume that we're all after jobs that bring us money and fame.
But a new YouGov study has revealed a surprisingly scholastic angle to the nation's career ambitions.
The survey of just over 14,000 people aged 18 upwards revealed Britain's top most desirable vocations to be author, librarian and academic.
Proving we really are a community of book-lovers, 60% of us want to be a writer, in the vein of JK Rowling and EL James.
A further 54% want to be librarians, and 51% of us wish we were an academic; both bookish professions that are not known for either their glamour or a hefty paycheck.
More conventional jobs, including lawyer, doctor and journalist, come next on the list, while perhaps unsurprisingly, traffic warden and call centre worker end up bottom of the pile.
But seemingly exciting career options - such as movie star and model - languish around the midway point, with more people wanting to be an accountant, a train driver or a teacher.
Britain's most desirable jobs:
YouGov quizzed 14,294 people at the beginning of this year for the study. Participants were shown a random list of career choices and asked to rank what they would like and not like to do for a living.
The survey picked up something of a gender variation in job appeal, with women tending towards jobs in interior design, libraries and academia, and men drawn to the concept of being an astronaut and a Formula 1 driver:
The UK's most desirable jobs - gender variation:
The National Careers Service puts a librarian's average annual wage at £19,500 per year and says the job would be perfect "if you are organised, like working with people, and are enthusiastic about the value of information and knowledge".
The same organisation lists the average wage and hours of a writer as "variable" and advises that "you’ll need to come up with ideas that appeal to your audience and sell well. You will also need to work well on your own and have the resilience to deal with critics, publishers and employers who will have opinions on your work".
Meanwhile, changes in funding for university research means that full-time, permanent positions in academia are increasingly hard to come by.
All three jobs suit people who are able to work well on their own and have an aptitude for processing lots of diverse information in a short period of time.
JK Rowling, one of the UK's most successful and prolific writers, says that aspiring authors should prepare themselves for the fact that a good story takes time to formulate.
"You have to resign yourself to the fact that you waste a lot of trees before you write anything you really like, and that’s just the way it is," she says. "It’s like learning an instrument, you’ve got to be prepared for hitting wrong notes occasionally, or quite a lot, cause I wrote an awful lot before I wrote anything I was really happy with."
What do you think? Do these survey results ring true for you? And if not, what kind of job appeals most to you, and why? Let us know in the comments section below
Photos: Rex Features