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.