Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?"


Met an old friend after 5 years. We were working in the same organization 5 years back, were very good friends, so used to discuss our professional aspects with each other as well. I remember once we were discussing about appearing for some job interviews for changing the existing job. As we were preparing for the interviews, we started discussing about the questions that the interviewer might ask, so that we could be prepared for the same. One question that we were anticipating was ~ "Where do you see yourself after 5 years ?" It seems, this a favourite question with the interviewers! We both had cooked up some answer to this question, which the interviewer would like to hear, and consider us fit to be for the position in question.

Well, we both did leave the company we were working for at that time in 2004. We walked our own ways, and now when we met after 5 years, we were talking about what twists and turns life had taken in all these years.

He had moved on to work for a pharma company in Hyderabad in quality assurance department, stuck there for 5 years, in the duration did his masters in business administration (sponsored by his company), and started working in Project management department ~ a field completely different to what he was working in earlier, and recently he joined another pharma company, back in Ahmedabad, working as a project manager.

I don’t think in his answer to the question "Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now ?" any of this was featured. He had never thought of doing master in business administration or changing his work profile, or for that matter staying in hyderabad for 5 years and then coming back to ahmedabad again!

I for my part, on leaving the company where I was working 5 years back, took a long break from work for personal reasons, worked in a completely different field ~ assisting in direction for documentary film and anchoring for stage shows, went to mumbai to work for a company of my own field (pharma) for two years and then as fate would have it joined back in the same company in ahmedabad where I was working 5 years back. Working in this company for almost 3 years now.

In my answer of "Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now ?" also, none of this was expected ! Not in my wildest dreams had I imagined that I would be working into the fields that I did. Nor had I imagined that I would come back to work in this same organization that I had left 5 years back.

While talking about all this, we could feel how our lives were led by something much more powerful than us, something that has planned the course and milestones for this journey called life.

In the light of this whole thing the above question and whatever answer we think to it seems quite superficial. Probably a question like this might be helping the interviewers to get a peek into the candidate's psyche or guage his/her's ambitions in life. Who knows, they might also be more or less succeeding at. But I feel that while such questions may have some meaning in the corporate world, they seem meaningless looking at the bigger picture of life.

20 comments:

Sharanya said...

lol that 5 yrs from now is yes one of the most famous question and believe me no one knows the right answer...lol everyone makes it up according to whatever the listener wants to hear :>

Rhapsody said...

"Such questions may have some meaning in the corporate world, they seem meaningless looking at the bigger picture of life."
True. Very true.

Scarlet said...

You made me sit back and reflect and realize what you're saying is so true. What we say and what we do (for whatever reason) can be miles apart.

For instance, five years ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of having a paralegal career or working PERIOD. I was a SAHM with two kids and one of them was not expected to survive.

the walking man said...

My answer to that question was always the same once I became competent in the field of repairing cars and trucks.

"In five years I will be working here making money for you and for myself IF you treat me right...If not I will be somewhere else making money for someone else."

If someone were to ask me the question today now that I am retired, I would simply say "How in the hell am I supposed to know?"

Jagriti said...

@sharanya: yeah, ur right…u hear it being asked in every interview...I wonder why the interviewer cant see that the answer can be cooked up...!

@ Rhapsody: Isnt it..!


@ Scarlet: Exactly..! I feel that is the fun of life ~ its unpredictability..!

@ Walking man: ha..ha..that was a great answer to the question ~ and completely true..! That is what we actually want to tell to those interviewers, but only a few like u can say it on the face..!

Shubhajit said...

This is a very lucid post and pleasant to read.

In corporate world this question is meant to measure the ambition but the tomfoolery is that they all knows the interviewee will lie but still asking some rubbish questions (even in the big companies with psychologists and all those nonsense)

In one of my interviews one TV channel guy asked me how much creative I was..

I smiled and said "I'm not creative at all"

"then why you apply for the post of copywriter?"

Sir, creative means to create. what I create? I only see and observe things from my surroundings and copy paste in my mind and write according to my perception. Is there any creation in it? How impudent are we to think we can create something. we modified, altered, remold and shape in a new dimension according to our individual intellect."

And guess what?

I lost. :)

the walking man said...

Jagriti...being able to be absolutely truthful is one of the benefits of not believing in hierarchy. AND knowing that the company is more in need of your services than you are of their money. As a Master Auto mechanic who was always able to pay attention to detail I was in that position.

It is different for those of you forced to use your head rather than your hands to earn a living.

The best answer I know of to the question is "In 5 years I expect to be doing your job." Let them interpret that response for themselves. ;-}

Jagriti said...

@ shubhajit: I would say ~ honesty, truthfulness and modesty not valued !!!

I guess these interviewers have programmed their minds to hear things in a particular way and when they hear something different, most of them will not be able to understand it..!

@walking man: yeah..i think that is a good one..! the best answers anyways are which has like a good piece of art, many interpretations.. ! :)

Bullshee said...

That question is a pure test of bullshitting capability.

There is no way you can predict what field/area you will work in in 5 years. Maybe something arbit like functional manager or CEO will work as a long time goal!!!

Kshitiz Anand said...

:) Lovely post..

Faced that question too.. though only a couple of times..

On hindsight.. I think I have stuck so far for 4 years what I wanted to do.. lets see if the 5th year brings in some surprises..

I think I have to be more regular on your blog.... :)

Jagriti said...

@ Bullshree: i agree, such questions are more than anything a test of your ability to present an answer in a way the listener wants to hear...

@Kshitiz: u r more than welcome to :)

and wishing that your 5th year does bring you the surprises ~ the happy ones!

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