I don’t like that question because I know how unpredictable life can be. Five years ago, I didn’t see myself where I am now, and five years before that, I didn’t see where I would be then. Who knows what life situation will pop up? Who knows what emerging businesses and technology will take hold by then? Who knows if I will discover some dormant talent that makes me famous?
But, more seriously, as unpredictable as life is, we all need long-term goals, regardless of how you and any future jobs will evolve over the years. The Harvard Business Review discussed this in a recent column, and also talked about what you should say when you’re asked that dreaded question in an interview.
The first thing you should do is spend some time thinking about it. Think about your goals, and what you want out of a job. And if you don’t know where you want to be in five years, it’s OK to admit it — but have a reason, don’t just stumble out an “I don’t know.” And whatever you do, don’t make up an answer. You want to be sure you end up in the right job for you, not just anything that provides a paycheck.