I’ve been on a few interview panels and one question I find myself asking is “Where do you see yourself in five years if you got the job here?” Personally, I hate the question but it’s a good feeler of the type of person sitting in front of you, even if they are lying through their teeth… in which case, maybe not that good a feeler. Oh, and there is no “right” answer to this question but depending on the person asking there are plenty of wrong ones .
At an interview you are selling the best version of yourself. Like on a first date, you don’t share that your poop leaves skid marks in the toilet and touching the toilet brush creeps you out so you leave them and never have anyone over and therefore this potential relationship is over coz you have no intention of sharing your skid marks with anyone.
When it comes to work though, people generally want to appear more ambitious than they actually are. Maybe it’s because they think that if you think they lack ambition then you’ll write them off. No one ever says “I want to be wherever you think I should be” because that may make the interviewer think you are lazy and being seen as lazy is a fast way to not get the job. So we sell ourselves as “hungry for more” even when we would be perfectly comfortable earning a wage that ensures we never have to worry about school fees or having three square meals a day and be perfectly content.
Oh, for the record, I don’t (yet) interview people for senior positions but it does cause happy “tingles” when a young graduate (haven’t dealt with old graduates so I’m unsure how I will find that experience) sits in front of you and says they want your job in five years but when they are part of “the system” they turn into furniture those tingles turn into lack of faith in humanity as a whole.
Here’s what I find generally happens:
PERSON A: Gets the job because he sold himself as a go getter who wants to climb the corporate ladder and continues to sell this image until he is confirmed. After being confirmed this guy’s ideas suddenly run out and he slowly turns into last person in the office in the morning and first person out at night. This guy happens to get along with his team so they carry his flack when he doesn’t deliver but you still occasionally have to remind him not to just skate by and he humours you for a bit before slipping back into being that “nice guy” that people don’t mind helping out as long as they don’t think about how often they are helping him out.
PERSON B: Gets the job because while she isn’t the best candidate you have ever seen she doesn’t seem like a “lost cause” and you don’t have time or budget to look for the “best person” anymore. So you take a chance with minimal expectations and find that not only is she actually quick on the draw with most things she is capable of more but keeps pulling herself back and is cagey when you ask her why but you can sense that she is actively fighting her grain to be more by doing less and it usually has to do with fitting in with the group.
PERSON C: This lady blew you away during interviews, you held on to her for all of two weeks before another company with better resources snatches her from your bosom and in five years she actually holds a senior position to you. You try not to hate her success.
PERSON D: Is exactly what he said he would be and while it may have taken him 7-10 years to get to where you are he got there in the end and is generally well regarded and is an efficient deliverer.
We all chase our version of happiness but sadly we are generally full of shit when it comes to what truly makes us happy because we aren’t honest about what happiness actually is to us. We sell faces that we think other people want to see to chase goals other people set and then mope about wondering why we feel dissatisfied with our lives when we have “everything we want”.
So you have to ask, how well do you actually know yourself? Most people are able to pants their way through most social interactions and be the person the situation requires. I, my dears, am not one of them, unless I have practiced what I am going to say my voice trembles if I have to project it to more than five people I dont know. I fear being seen as stupid so I don’t often speak and look like the silent idiot plotting nefarious intentions with your clothing coz that’s all I will look at while you speak or I will lick my lips nervously and make you think I’m up for some naked rendevouz when I am not (really, why does lip licking have to be a sex thing. Sometimes my lip balm is too far away and I have to use my saliva for moisture!).
I have gone so far off course here, what was this supposed to be about again? Oh yes, faces.
My question for today is what face do you find yourself wearing and do you like how it feels? How often does it feel like a weight? If you can’t remember when it last felt to be “light” around those you are nearest and dearest, ask yourself why you are wearing a mask for them in addition to the masks you have to wear in order to be politically correct.
I cant tell you to be who you really are because I don’t know what that means but it is awfully liberating being able to not pretend you are feeling things that you are.
I think in a past life I was a magpie, I am easily distracted with shiny new things and need a focus for me to stick to something. But I am an industrious magpie so I wouldn’t be a Chief Magpie if magpie colonies existed… I’d be more like Second in Command Magpie or maybe third. Close enough to the action without getting that glare from all the lights
Anywho, Wanderers. I’m off to indulge in more self discovery. Join me if you can and tell me all about your own forays into mental oblivion…