Do you dread this question in interviews?
What it really means is, “Can I trust you to be here in five years?”
Can you respond, “Can I trust you to be a fair and decent employer to make me want to STAY for five years?” No, of course not.
What if you’ve had to move around a lot to find better opportunities for yourself?
What if you’ve had to be out of work due to an illness, birth of a child, taking care of an aged parent, or the downturn?
What if the holes in your resume make employers think you were unstable, when really you were just working outside the industry, or in another country?
All of these things are working against you in the interview, when you are being judged by standards set in a different era. The values of the Boomer generation, to work hard at one job for 10 or 15 years, are completely unrealistic in today’s environment. No one is getting a gold watch anymore after 30 years of dedicated service. Indeed, in this job market, more and more people hate their jobs, as bosses become increasingly abusive, because they feel they can replace the employee very quickly with someone else.
A recent report courtesy of ABC News claims, “Even Americans who are lucky enough to have work in this economy are becoming more unhappy with their jobs, according to a new survey that found only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work. That was the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board Research group in more than 22 years of studying the issue.”
Since quitting isn’t an option–we all need money–the malemployed among us have started asking to be fired. Not literally but humorously at PleaseFireMe.com. Some of the examples on there are just horrifying.
The only stable jobs right now in the nonprofit sector right now seem to be quasi-volunteer jobs. This week, I met a woman who works at a nonprofit staffed almost entirely by Vista volunteers. There is nothing wrong with Vista. But there is something wrong when you try to pay people as little as Vistas every year, and just cycle through more Vistas, instead of getting a fundraising program going.
How could you creatively respond to the question of “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
“On the moon, because in five years we will have completely destroyed our environment.”
“Eating a croissant, walking down the streets of Paris.”
“Living off of my lottery winnings.”
“Running my own business because I got sick of being employed by jerks.”
“Sitting behind your desk.”
How do YOU answer it?