Hacker Career Advice

Plan or Panic

“Where do you see yourself a year from now? How about 5 years from now?”

Yes, it’s a lame, presumptuous, and disingenuous question—but you can’t escape it. The key is to recognize that managers aren’t really asking you to imagine your life in five years. They’re trying to determine how proactive you are.

Instead of demurring, reimagine the question as “What are the next 5 bullet points you’d like to add to your résumé?”

Those could be accomplishments at your current job, a new role (lateral or vertical), managerial responsibility, learning new skills, or speaking at a conference.

This is a better approach than trying to imagine what you think your boss wants to hear.

Additionally, managers want you to succeed and are responsible for removing obstacles in your path. If you need something (resources, training, budget, hours, etc.), tie the ask to one of your bullet points.