The 5 year itch.

I’m terrified of interviews; having to sit through them and explain my talents and experience to future employers, not because I think it’s beneath me to do so, of course not, everyone should know they are getting their bang for their buck, however it’s the nerves I find unnerving, so to speak.

Before an interview, you review and revise your questions and answers, do your research on the company, have a dossier on your future boss; where they’ve been prior and what exactly they do in the company. You make sure you are  in the know about any recent developments in the company; acquisitions, profit, press, etc… like any normal interviewee who really wants the job should do. Its almost ike that dreaded math final all over again…we’ll get to that another day.

Interview day, you try to eat breakfast but your mouth is dry, you practise your walk in heels, a dignified way to sit in your outfit, go through your checklist and make sure that your hair is perfectly in place because you know how annoying that wayward strand can be! (we may not all be as neurotic as I am mind you, but interviews are akin to a visit to the dentist for me; unbearable.)

I love how future employers leave you waiting in reception, knowing how nervous you are. I used to wonder why employers did that but in hindsight this is the time to get a feel for the of the place, make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into, absorb your surroundings…in my opinion anyway.

Interview time…let the show begin.

So far all is well; you have answered their questions as best as you can, maintained eye contact, told the odd interview joke, asked your own set of questions…and just before you leave, someone asks “any more questions?”

And there it is. You know what exactly is coming, it’s the one question that gets me every time.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Someone, somewhere, always asks this question for reasons unknown and I’d like to know why. I go through several thought processes in my head whilst contemplating how best to answer this question. I’ve often been tempted to ask interviewers the same question, but never had to balls to. Once I answered this honestly, telling the interviewer I saw myself in her role in five years because that’s where I wanted to be but that was a rookie mistake; no future boss likes to hear that because no matter how green you are, nobody wants a threat to their security. Lesson learned.

I answer the question as best and as honest as I can, giving the usual schpill of being a valuable asset to the company blah, blah, blah…as I said, no right or wrong answer. But what I do know for sure, in five years time, I don’t want to be stuck doing the same thing I started out doing I want to do more. I want to be more. Simple as that.

Life, however, always has a set of its own plans. There’s a line; if you want to hear the Lord laugh, tell him all your plans. (Maybe I should use this line…then again maybe not)

Having a twitter conversation with many women I admire @bookgirl96, @dkny pr girl, @fashionoffice etc. I realised I’m not the only one who feels the way I do about this question and there were arguments made for both sides. It was a debate that yielded a plethora of advice, which prompted me into thinking about this question laterally as opposed to being put off by it completely.

No one knows where they see themselves in 5 years…its all about organic evolutionrecognising new opportunities as they appear. @dkny pr girl.

Nobody knows where they will be for sure but if you don’t have a vision where you want to be, you’ll never get there” @fashionoffice.

I feel people ask that question because they can’t think of anything to ask…I don’t even know what I am doing a week from now…@Bookgirl96. AMEN!

In an perfect world, your life should unfold according to your plans and I bet you everything would be perfect; we’d all be in ideal careers, the career woman vs. stay at home mom debate would be a none-issue, children would be perfectly behaved, we’d eat cake without a care for calories and we’d all live happily ever after…Life isn’t perfect and as I said, she always has plans of her own.

However, from an employer’s point of view, it’s a matter of investment; firms do not want to waste time and resources training you if you are not going to be an asset to them. They need to know time spent on your development will yield them desired Returns on Investment in the grand scheme of things, therefore knowing that this is not a stop gap on your career ladder is crucial for them. Hence the 5 year question…

So where do I see myself in five years? Wherever it is, I hope its exactly where I want to be, maybe even better than I imagined and if I’m not quite there, well its time to pick up the pace…

Maybe I’ll say that.

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