You know this classic question from recruiters, “Where do you see yourself in five years?“. They just love it, they think they check candidate’s career ambitions or maybe they think this is checking the candidate’s ability to plan or maybe they think if the candidate does not answer this question properly (s)he is not suited for the company ’cause we hire only those who are planning to stay with us.
Let me tell you something – nobody plans anything for 5 years in advance anymore. The world where people did it is gone. It’s too globalized now and it’s changing too fast. Hell I have troubles planning for one year. I have no idea if I will do the same kind of work in the same company. Maybe some new awesome tech like Alexa will catch my interest and I’ll dive into it. Maybe I’ll see a business opportunity and make a startup. Or maybe I just buy 100 bitcoins and sell them for 5 times more money at the end of the year. Why didn’t I do that by the way?
The more important is – our environment is changing too fast. The jobs becoming obsolete, the cities build up, new techs arrive, we become more knowledgeable about the world, innovations create more ways to get the same result but cheaper and faster. Take Uber and Flixbus for start. And because changes in life become easier and less painful, in return we’re getting more and more of them per year.
If you’re a software developer in 2017, there’s a good chance that you do two things: One – you’re working in Agile and two – you do at least some kind of automated testing. Now what’s Agile – it’s a way to make changes easier. And what’s automated testing – a way to make changes less scarier.
I’m from Ukraine, you know. The state that has Lugansk and Donetsk. Two cities where people five years ago were asked right the same questions and, hell, nobody expected that the right answer was that their homes will be destroyed and they will be forced to flee and seek asylum or even be dead. On a larger scale – no one expected five years ago that Trump will be a president of USA, United Kingdom will leave EU, Yanukovich will flee Ukraine, Syria will be in all states of disaster and Bitcoin will cost more than the latest iPhone.
So the next time someone asks me where do I see myself in five years I’m gonna answer following: “In five years I’ll be scavenging for food walking through the desolated wasteland that was left from Europe after Putin started Nuclear War thinking that EU is to weak and USA president is too inadequate to stop him. Sorry, one detail – I’ll be wearing a blue jumpsuit with a number 13 on it”.
Also here’s more pragmatic view on the same question back from 2015 – Why ‘Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?’ Is An Idiotic Interview Question.