I know, I know. You’re all wondering what happened to week 26. Well, quite frankly my friends, week 26 was a dud. Nothing bad happened, nothing good happened, nothing really happened at all aside from a small blizzard and the local temperatures dropping below zero.  So we are moving on.

This week I had my first interview since, let’s just say, a long time ago (not counting several phone interviews). I won’t talk much about the actual interview, but I will discuss one particular question I was asked. The question: Tell me where you see yourself in five years, and then ten years.

This question, though a great question for an interviewer to ask, is very difficult for me to answer right now. And I’m sure most of my fellow unemployeds would agree with me. It’s difficult to see five years down the road when a person has no point of reference. The best analogy I can come up with is fishing (now, I am not a fisherwoman, so bear with me). You can’t cast your line if you are not standing near (or in) a body of water. I mean you could cast your line anywhere, I guess, but if you’re standing in the woods that line will get caught in a tree or something.

So right now, I don’t know where I will be standing and so I can’t cast my line. Right now, my only goals are to find a job that will fulfill my professional needs and to move into my own place. At that point, since I will be standing at the edge of the river (so-to-speak) I plan to set goals.

Then how did I answer the question? Okay, first of all, I laughed. Yes. Really. However, let’s back up a moment before you all shun my interviewing skills. My interviewer and I had spoken on the phone about this very same topic two days ago and at that point we had both agreed it was hard to set goals when you have been unemployed for an extended period of time. So, when she asked again, I laughed, and she laughed, and then I shared with her where I hoped to be in the next five years, and then ten years. And it all sounded great, and it was all true… but I am not standing in the appropriate place to cast my fishing line and so, in truth, whatever I said to her is ultimately meaningless in the larger scheme of things.

Next week I will be traveling to Washington DC for an interview. I’m excited, and nervous and wondering if they two will ask me this question, and if they do… the answer will be completely different and yet the same. It is a different position, in a different city, affording me different opportunities. I am standing near a totally different river and so I will be casting my line in a different direction. And yet, I still have no true point of reference.

I wonder what any of my readers think about this. If you’re currently unemployed, do you still have a five-year plan? Do you know where you want to be in five years or ten years on a professional level?

Please share!

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I used to be an interior designer, now I'm in marketing. But I have always been jewliweb.

5 responses »

  1. Chap says:

    Although I am still part of the small and fortunate group labeled “employed”, (for now, anyway), I can totally relate to this lack of reference for what your world and options will be in five years.

    My daughter will be 7. She will be in school. Other than that, I have no idea where I will be or what I will be doing. And, astoundingly, I’m good with that for now. It’s a somewhat liberating freedom, although it comes with the most incessant feeling of restlessness and frustration.

    Good post Chapshire!

  2. joblessjulie says:

    I LONG for the days when I could make plans… hell, I can’t even follow through with a trip to Wyoming. It’s so hard to even make weekend trip plans when you’re unemployed that making a five year plan is just laughable. The answer is this: “well, assuming the economy doesn’t continue to tank, assuming you (future employer) don’t lay me off and I’m forced to live on Ramen noodles again(which, I’ll tell you is not nearly as amusing when you’re not in college) and assuming I don’t, just ya know, in general get completely screwed again then I would like for this to be my plan {insert some fabulous scenario here}

  3. Melissa says:

    First of all, let’s give a WOOT for you! Congrats on getting the interviews 🙂 I hope this past week’s interview went well and that you have success next week, also!

    As far as how exactly to answer the question, you know it’s a bit of a dance. The majority of businesses only have a general notion of what they plan to be doing five years from now. They have their broader plans, and then they get more specific as the date nears.

    Rodney and I discussed this question amongst ourselves and the blog when he was job searching, and the conclusion we reached is that companies aren’t necessarily looking for specific details. Moreso, they are looking to determine if/how you plan to be an asset to their company and that you won’t jump ship after six months or a year.

    Here’s what we had to say on this topic:

    http://rodneysjobquest.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/where-do-you-see-yourself-in-five-years/

    http://rodneysjobquest.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/revisiting-five-years-question/

    I will be sending good thoughts your way!

  4. Shannon says:

    I don’t even have a one year plan right now, let alone a 5 to 10 year plan. Agreed. If I’m still unemployed a year from now the plan is totally different than if I become employed.

  5. […] “working” thing again. I have finally been able cast my fishing line and set some goals (see week 27: Five Year Plan).  I have been able to dig a small tunnel out of the hole of debt I found myself in this year.  I […]

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