How I learned to answer ‘Where do you see yourself in X years?’

My least favorite interview question used to be, “Where do you see yourself in [fill-in-the-blank] years?” Not because I couldn’t think of an answer. I knew exactly what I wanted to say. But the answer I was prepared to give wasn’t one employers wanted to hear: “I have no idea.”As a journalist who entered the…

How I learned to answer ‘Where do you see yourself in X years?’

My least favorite interview question used to be, “Where do you see yourself in [fill-in-the-blank] years?” Not because I couldn’t think of an answer. I knew exactly what I wanted to say. But the answer I was prepared to give wasn’t one employers wanted to hear: “I have no idea.”As a journalist who entered the field long after its golden era (That is financially speaking. There are still reporters doing necessary, award-winning work), I’ve watched the career I dreamed about change rapidly. Alongside my cohorts, I’ve experienced the volatility of a publication’s sale, its subsequent layoffs, and the elimination or consolidation of jobs.You can’t talk about that experience during an interview, because it’s depressing. The reality is there are many people in many industries who realize shortly after starting their careers that what they expected isn’t going to pan out. You have to find a way to move the conversation forward again.I struggled with that for a long time. It wasn’t until I started taking stock of my skills and seeing how what I loved to do could transfer to another industry that I was able to reenvision my career, though the
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