Please Stop Asking Me Where I See Myself in 5 Years

21 May


I really do hate it.

“The” question…

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Apparently, everyone wants to know.

Have a job interview??? I can almost bet my left hand that someone will ask you.

Go to a networking event??? It’s more than likely.

I’ve been hit with this question more times than I can count.

And every time, I’m sure that I’ve disappointed the person asking with my answer.

Because here’s my answer…

I have no idea.

Now before you start thinking that I lack ambition, understand that I’ve read tons about why goal setting is good. I’ve also read about why goal setting is bad.

I get both sides of the arguement.

But when it comes to where I see myself in 5 years, my answer’s still the same.

I have no idea.

I never grew up wanting to be something specific. I never grew up wanting to be a doctor or a nurse or an astronaut or an engineer.

I don’t know why, exactly, but I just didn’t.

The only thing I DID know was that whatever it was that I ended up chossing as a profession…I wanted to like it.

I wanted to be good at it, and I wanted to enjoy it.

So where do I see myself in 5 years?

I can’t tell you exactly what job I see myself holding, but I CAN tell you that I see myself working at a job that I love. Working somewhere that allows me to use my talents appropriately. One that lets me bring the best of myself to the table, and one that lets me use that to help other people.

When it comes to my career, I guess I’ve chosen a less-than-conventional path. Rather than focusing on one specific discipline, I think that there are lots of jobs that I could be good at and happy with.

I don’t have ONE specific dream job. I don’t have ONE specific job that I aspire to have one day- one that if I never get, I’ll be devastated.

That’s just me.

And while some people may think that makes me unfocused, I like to think that it makes me more flexible.

And in today’s super-unstable job market, that’s probably not such a bad thing.

It’s just kind of funny, really, becuase it seems that people expect us to have it all figured out by the time we graduate college.


Yep! We did it!

By then, OBVIOUSLY, we should know what our dream job will be. We should know where we want to be in 5…10…15 years.

And again, if you don’t, some people think you lack focus.

But the truth of it all is that some people NEVER figure that out. People spend their entire lives figuring out what they like…what they don’t like…what they’re passionate about.

It’s a process of trial and error.

So if you’re like me and don’t know exactly where you’ll be 5 years from now, don’t worry, you’ll figure it out as you go.

Just make sure to enjoy the ride.

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25 Responses to “Please Stop Asking Me Where I See Myself in 5 Years”

  1. charmainey May 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    This is a post that I can relate. I choose jobs based on passion and the ability to grow. The rest – I will figure it out as I go along

  2. Hannah May 21, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    AMEN! All through school we are told that we should be well-rounded and have our hands in a little of everything. Then, we graduate and are supposed to have one niche thing. I think it is still important to have a wide variety of interests and skills – it keeps life interesting and to be honest, gives us more options! Nice post 🙂

  3. totallytrips May 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    My deciding moment where I discovered the job of my dreams involved me sitting in front of the computer and typing into google the 2 things I enjoyed doing most: Art and Computers. I discovered the wonderfully beautiful world of Graphic Design which brought me to the world of Web Design I love to this day. I got lucky and ended up really liking the job I went to College to learn how to do. There were many in my class who dropped out so I can appreciate the fact that it was the right fit for me. I tell everyone who doesn’t know what they want to do to just do everything, do everything you love! Maybe your purpose is to do so many things you can’t possible choose just one as your favorite.

    I like to think that our generation can wear many hats and the reason we don’t care for the “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” question is because for us the sky’s the limit. Hell, who know where I’ll be! I could be sky diving, I could be back packing through Europe, meet the love of my life and decide to be a stay at home mom, go to college to learn marine biology, the peace corp is still I think… I could do that! Why limit myself to just one thing for the rest of my life? I mean… who only wants to eat salad at a buffet right?!?

  4. longandluxe May 21, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    My son is sixteen and I refuse to ask him that question! It’s useless. Rock what you love, live from your spirit!

    Great post 🙂 have FUN!


  5. urbanbrio May 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    I TOTALLY relate to this. 100%. I have been asked that question in different variations at least three times since this week began.

  6. aknoff11 May 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    yes! both the “where do you see yourself in five years” and the “well, what is your DREAM job” I never have answers to, and then am judged for it.

    I want to be challenged, and grow, and learn and work with nice people. How can I know which ONE company and ONE job would do that for me?

  7. kaleidokendra May 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    I can’t like this enough! I would very much like to tell hiring managers to shove this question, but, you know. I’m like you when it comes to this question. I want a full-filling career [whatever that might be] that will make me happy while keeping food on my table.

  8. surgeryattiffanys May 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    It’s good to have a ‘dream’, but I always tell my students that don’t put a time on it and don’t be disappointed if it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to be, as long as you are still loving what you do. Congratulations!

  9. DQ May 22, 2014 at 2:23 am #

    I love this! I have so many friends graduating college and have no idea what their next step. All I know is that won’t be my case. I don’t know what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be doing it… All I know is that I WILL find my true passion. All in due time.

  10. somewonderland May 22, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    I’m somewhat unfortunate with my jobs, if you take into consideration a simple fact that they don’t last, mostly due to companies being downsized, sold, etc., etc. Thus I way too often experienced the so called joys of looking for a new job, and way too often for my comfort had to concoct some reply to this question. So nowadays I have a perfect answer to such a question from any future employer – I’d like this job to last, 5 years or so, and meanwhile I’d see if some possibilities for professional or other sort of growth would occur.
    If this is a more personal, and less work related question, then sorry, I’m 30+ and I still don’t know where or what I’d like to be and where do I see myself after 5 years. But I do KNOW what I don’t want and where I would not want to be 😀

  11. Garth Beyer May 23, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    Solid response. Why not answer “I’ll be doing what I love. What will you be doing?” Keep it up girl, I love stopping by your blog to see the ruckus you’re making 🙂

  12. Samantha Brown May 24, 2014 at 7:03 am #

    I’m exactly the same – I don’t know exactly where I want to be in 5 years either!

    When I was a teenager I could quite easily answer the question, probably even to 20, 30 or 40 years out. I felt like I knew exactly what I wanted to do… and then I started uni and I didn’t like the course I thought I would love.

    I’m started to become really cautious of defining success in a really narrow way because I know things change and the things we think we want aren’t always the things we actually want. I really try hard to set goals according to how I want to feel, instead of achieving some narrow concept of “success”, so that when I achieve them I’m not just left thinking “is this it?! now what?”

    Sam xx – how to make the most of your twenties

  13. writingthebody May 24, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    It is an irritating question, I agree. Futile as well. I have only lately forced myself to stop posing it to myself. I don’t even know what I will be doing in one year, never mind five. And it does not matter “where I see myself” – what kind of hallucinatory nonsense is that kind of fortune telling anyway. Just making up crap to myself. Gotta live now. What are we doing next, that is the thing. Plans just go wrong. And as for job intereviews, well even they don’t care. Five year plan? Whatever. To become president. To become a junkie. An alcoholic. A millionaire. An owner of cat stalls. A cake-maker. A better person, how about that.

  14. Agent Q May 25, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    I dread that question to the core, and began speculating conspiracy theories behind that question. I’m convinced they don’t care what our superficial responses are. I feel like it’s a trick questions to which there is only one correct answer to demonstrate wit more than anything. We are talking about the one job position, after all. :/

    Oh well, life is trial and error. I must keep pushing!

  15. leecpa May 31, 2014 at 6:41 am #

    For me still it’s better that you set your goal and just revise it as necessary as achieving them can be more fulfilling when set. 🙂 My personal opinion. 🙂

  16. Matter Of Fact Its all about "People" May 31, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Reblogged this on .

  17. teaganraher June 5, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    Yeah… this is awesome. I can relate seeing how “adaptability” is my number one strengths in strength quest. I’m not sure I even just want to do one thing my whole life. I want to try new things and experience life that way. This makes it seem more normal haha thanks!

  18. teaganraher June 5, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    Reblogged this on teaganraher and commented:
    I can relate 100%. The dreaded question with an applaudable answer.

  19. angelamalagon June 24, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Reblogged this on Angela Malagon.

  20. July 5, 2014 at 12:46 am #

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  21. Heather Von St. James September 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm #


    I have a quick question for you, could you email me when you have a chance? Thanks! –Heather


  22. TheFoodielennial January 12, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    YES! YES! YES! I get asked this a lot in my job search. And every time it happens. I scream very loudly…in my head ;).

    I’m 26. I had an answer to this question when I was 21. But this crap I’m going through now isn’t what I had in mind. Heck, when I was 21, I was in college majoring in a field that’s completely different than the one I’ve been in post-grad. I didn’t think I’d go through an unemployment that’s been as long as a pregnancy or rack up a whole bunch of debt trying to survive.

    I’m all fired up now, so I’m probably going to blog on this topic myself…


  1. Reality Bites: That Dreaded “…Five Years” Question | THE FOODIELENNIAL - January 12, 2015

    […] following, Gen Y Girl, which has some really great insights on Millennial life.  This blogger had a post that really got me fired up about a topic I’ve come to feel quite strongly about: That bloody “Where do you see […]

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