Five years from now is a long time. You could come up with all sorts of answers that could torpedo the job interview, like this gem, “Well, in five years, I see myself in your position interviewing candidates like me right now.” Then, prepare to go home early as an answer like this constitutes a successful exit strategy, that is, if you were looking to be ruled out from the job and sent packing in record time.
People who have five year plans have it all wrong. It’s like predicting who will win the World Series at the beginning of spring training. No one, including all the sportswriters, knows. But, it doesn’t stop us from reading prognostications from guys who write them. It’s fun. It’s interesting, and it’s a great way to spend some enjoyable time.
Life changes so rapidly that you’re lucky if you can make a five-day plan and stick to it without fielding all the grounders from the curve balls that are thrown your way. It’s tough to start Monday with goals you want to achieve by Friday. For myself and countless others, we take it one day at a time.
Take Bill Belichick. I love the guy because he’s so droll. All of his press conferences are the same. He never reveals what he’s truly thinking. He simply avoids the question and the Patriots keep parading him up there anyway. With respect to the Tom Brady Deflategate distraction, he offers clichés like, “We’re taking it one day at a time.”
I’ve got news for you. That is all most of us should be doing—taking it one day at a time. Because I would suggest life has never been busier in all of recorded history. Down time is a goal to be achieved, as in, “As soon as you get these gazillion things done, Marsha, you can have some well-earned down time.” Marsha is actually lucky if she can get half of those gazillion things done so she can either take a Monday or a Friday off (before resuming her respective rat race pace).
Five year plans are fantasies. If you truly want the job you’ll recognize this question as a Catch-22. If you try to answer it with a degree of certainty, you either impress as shooting too low or too high. One of the best answers you can have goes something like this, “I just want to learn the job to the best of my ability. Whatever else comes once I can do that will take care of itself.” End of story. Bam. Finished.
You’re there for the job right? Not for where you see yourself in five years (which is a loaded question as I just explained).
Taking it one day at a time isn’t a bad way to go these days. The five day plan might not be too ambitious either. But the five year plan? C’mon man.