I Don’t KNOW Where I’ll Be in 5 Years – and Neither Do You

Int5“Where will I be in 5 years? I don’t know, and I don’t really care.”

So concluded this post by Jason Schissel, which also contained this pregnant thought: “I don’t want to be anywhere in 5 years–I want to be doing.”

That’s the point, isn’t it? We hear this “where you do want to be…?” question in job interviews, and we ask it of ourselves, as if we have a crystal ball.

Really, our focus should rather be on these two questions:

  1. Who AM I professionally, and what are my best strengths (or, in other words, what’s my sweet spot)?
  2. What kinds of roles can I best occupy right now to move me in the direction of operating in my sweet spot?

The answers may reside within  a certain company, or a certain vertical market, or a certain functional area, or a certain geograpy, or a certain title – but those things are the route numbers on our career map. They are secondary to the destination.

Once we have a clear sense of direction, an outline of a destination based on our sweet spot (strengths and desires), we don’t need a fixed career map with 5-year increments. We have our compass, and our GPS, and choose the best routes accordingly.

The dynamic and unpredictable nature of the marketplace is less frightening when you know what direction you’re taking. When you have a focus that is above current circumstances.


Right now, I know what I’m good at, and I’m doing it (and it did take many years to narrow down that sweet spot – the first part of our working life can be quite “experimental” as we discover our strengths and weaknesses). But in 5 years? Well, I sure hope I’ll be doing my “sweet spot” work, but will it be with the same type of clients, in the same geographical location, using the same methods?

Shoot, I don’t know. And I don’t care. I’m heading in the right direction, working in my strengths.



Also on the blog: Pigeonhole Me. Please.

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