Where Do You See Yourself in a Year?

I am almost 30 years old. I am an Executive Assistant at a software/gaming company. I have a BA in language, literature and writing with a minor in journalism. I have been working mostly in HR related fields. But I have a meeting today where the topic is, “where do I see myself in a year, 5 years? What do I want to do?” What I hear is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Of course I don’t hear it in a condescending manner, I just don’t feel like an adult, yet.

I went home last night thinking about this. Where do I want to be in the future? I’ve never been asked that by an employer once I’ve been hired and working there for a while. The question seems uncomfortable and yet I’ve been asking myself this same question for the last 9 years! Where do I feel comfortable considering a “stopping point”? The company I work for is very liberal and creative and there are new positions being developed almost everyday, it seems. So of course my anxiety and insecurities cause me to be afraid to choose one, for fear of omitting 10 others. This is my first “big kid job” out of college and I am comfortable here. Ideally, I’d like to stay here with these people and this place. How realistic is that?

How many people find a job out of college and make their career, and professional home there until retirement? In a survey I just read the number given for time the average college grad stays at their first job is 2 years. I’ve been here over a year and I didn’t have any immediate plans on changing. I imagine my answer to the question sounding very childish and naive when I say, “In 1-5 years I see myself still at this company answering phones and getting coffee.” *insert nervous smile* But here’s the thing. I don’t. I don’t see myself anywhere specific in that timeline.

This question makes me nervous for so many reasons because anytime I’ve thought I had the answer to a life question, life plan, etc. it gets turned on its head by God. The biggest examples of this that I’ve been dealt were first my horse. I didn’t want him. Period. I wanted a 10-15 year old paint horse, mare with a babysitter attitude and quiet disposition. My father bought me a barely 2-year-old Arabian gelding that was green broke and as sassy and jumpy as you could imagine. But you know what? I was in love with him until the day he passed. After my last break up I had worked very hard to rebuild myself and had sworn off the idea of a relationship. Boom… an old friend comes back, we started hanging out and I’m a girlfriend again. This last April we moved in together and couldn’t be happier. Finally my job. I have always had an aversion to video games and most things technology. I applied to a position on a whim and wouldn’t you know it, hired at a video game and software company and I have been very happy working here. It’s like a dream company to work for.

Here’s the thing: Do I outline my idea of “my life’s grand plan” or do I play a more passive role? I have no idea how to answer that question and I feel the same about it as I did 10 years ago when I started asking myself. I don’t feel grown up. I don’t know what it’s like to guide my own life as opposed to trusting someone bigger has a better plan. I chose my coffee this morning. I chose what to wear this morning. There are some things that are just out of my power. How would you answer that question?

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