“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
I literally had someone laugh at me when I asked them this question recently. I didn’t realize how stereotypically “interviewy” it was.
Apparently, it’s a rather gauche thing to ask.
So…where do you see yourself in five years?
Because, socially acceptable or not, I believe it is an important question. And it will increasingly be so in our 24-hour-news-cycle, instant-coffee, attention-span-of-a-goldfish society.
Because it forces us to think (and think personally rather than rhetorically) about the future and our place in it.
And, because it forces us to think restrictively rather than globally. In answering the question, we have to make a choice, intentionally narrowing the limitless horizon of “the future” to a concrete timespan and a concrete field of vision.
Elton Trueblood said it this way:
“It is a common characteristic of all the high moments that one choice inevitably eliminates others. Loyal devotion to one mate precludes loyal devotion to a rival; the spending of money on perfume precludes the spending of the same money to aid the needy and suffering; the dedication to motherhood make impossible an equal dedication to some other pursuits. Man must choose; that is his very life.”Elton Trueblood, The Common Ventures of Life, (emphasis his)
This isn’t one of those cheap “how-to” articles that promise to guide you through a simple five-step process to “creatively leverage your future for incredible results.” Nor will I artificially pad its length: I just want you to recognize that drifting never results in progress.
Where you actually end up in five years depends largely on what you choose to do today. So, one more time: where do you see yourself in five years?
Ok, now go.