I had an job interview last Friday (yay!) About 95% of it went great – exactly the kind of conversation that rises above the rigid Question and Answer format that makes me cringe as I pretend to have fascinating things to say about “a time when I faced a challenge and overcame it.” I mean, I DO have fascinating things to say, but generally not on those specific topics.
We were cruising along talking about all sorts of cool stuff and then they threw out one of the good old standby interview questions:
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I fear I went a little deer in the headlights.
a) I am clearly not all that adept at forecasting my future and
b) Five years suddenly feels like both an insanely long planning horizon and just around the corner.
If you had asked me that same question five years ago the vision I would have laid out would have been vastly different from where I ended up. Vastly.
At this point I pretty much know that ONE year from now is likely to look quite a bit different from right now.
One year from now:
a) I will most likely have a different job.
b) I will most likely live in a different house.
c) I will most likely be driving a different car.
d) I will have a child going into high school.
e) My baby will be going into middle school.
f) I may very well be hyperventilating and sobbing over d & e.
I am guessing that the five year view from THAT place might be significantly different than the view from here.
In FIVE years:
a) My daughter will be leaving for her freshman year in college (sob…)
b) My son will be starting his sophomore year in high school.
c) I will have no need to consider child care. Ever again.
d) My dog MIGHT be old and wise enough to be allowed to leave the kitchen.
I know they were only asking about where I saw myself professionally speaking. I wracked my brain for the “right answer.” I came up sort of blank.
Considering that the past five years have included:
a) The end (I thought) of my corporate career.
b) My first entrepreneurial venture – and it’s subsequent demise.
c) Two different freelance “careers.”
d) A total shift in focus – from numbers to words.
It feels impossible to put my resume into a regression of some sort and extrapolate where I might end up in another five. Does not compute.
I don’t mean to imply that planning and vision aren’t valuable, and wouldn’t be helpful. Just that forecasting the future is more challenging in the midst of a turbulent present.
I told them I was likely to spend at least part of the next few years figuring out the answer. The experiences I gain over the next 1, 3, 5 years are going to have a huge impact on where this ship is headed. Just like the ones of the past 1, 3, 5 have turned everything all around.
A piece of me would love to just know the answer. But most of me is fine with figuring it out as I go.