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"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" Help with interviews.

Freyja

Not staff. Freyja with a j.
SF Supporter
#1
Hello everyone. Not sure if I should post this here or in the « I have a question » section.
I’ve been having a lot of dilemmas recently and I may go job hunting again later this year. Like most people, I assume, I hate interviews, and I hate even more the fact that in my field it takes between 5 and 10 appointments (technical tests, psychological tests, a million interviews) which can last a few months until finally meeting the most important person who will accept you or not. You have to be very motivated to go through all of it. And mentally prepared…

As a person with a severe depression, a little bit of anxiety and not handling stress very well, I guess if some older people (or not) have any advice, I’d be very grateful. I have problems with lying about myself, pretending I am very motivated and that I am mentally healthy, and a low self-esteem resulting in an important Impostor Syndrome during my studies and at the workplace. For those who don’t know, it means I struggle with accepting that my accomplishments (ex. my master’s degree) are as valid as for any other person. I cannot even accept my title… I know, if I don't truly believe it, it will always show up, but I don't know how to believe it.

I know that if I have to fake my motivation, it means I probably shouldn’t apply, but a big part of it is due to depression and suicidal thoughts, not the job itself. Also, positions are usually very mysterious in the beginning, I never knew the project I was applying for before applying because of confidentiality rules, and it’s seriously annoying when you don’t have a single clue about what they will ask you to do. Normally they present the project at the last step, when you basically got the job.

The hardest question for me was « Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? ». When death comes to your mind, I think it must show up on my face. I don’t see anything when I think about the future - my best and most honest answer would be « Not in this country. » or « Dead. » but that’s not what they want to hear (and it’s not related to profession anyway). I know I cannot be 100% honest, but I cannot come up with an answer that would satisfy them and not sound like an obvious lie.

I do talk about it with my therapist, but she knows me very well and I can be totally honest with her, it’s not the same. Plus she thinks there is no problem because I know what I should say on interviews.

Any help with that or with confidence will be a blessing. If you can't help, thanks for reading anyway.
I’m a civil engineer - if it matters. Urgh.
 

Freyja

Not staff. Freyja with a j.
SF Supporter
#2
I guess what I could add and which doesn't help my confidence is that I am a (fairly short and shy-looking) woman in a vastly masculine environment, and sometimes I feel like I could disappear between all the testosterone. It's hard to be taken seriously at times.
 

Nick

SF Employee of the Month
Staff member
Safety & Support
SF Supporter
#3
In these scenarios I've had to think, if I take death off the table and it's not even an option, where do I want to be in regards to my career. Do I want to be working on a project? Do I want to be a supervisor? A manager? Do I want to be working for the same company? or moved onto something bigger?

It's hard when you don't see yourself being around 5-10 years from now to answer those questions. I have to try to envision it. In what world would I be okay being here 5-10 years from now. The key is to find something that is truth. Something you can speak to with some conviction and passion. I do have to admit that once in an interview when asked where I saw myself in 5 yrs I did answer "not here". I got the job too lol. I had to explain that answer though.
 
#4
Good question. I've faced the same questions. If you want to be completely honest. Tell them, I really can't answer that. No one can say where they'll be in 5-10 yrs. Let alone next week or even tommorow. You can get hit by a car leaving the bldg. The world situation could go to shit. I like to be here in 5-10 yrs. And, in good health. But, to be honest, no one knows where they see themselves in 5-10 yrs.
 

BlueGreen

Well-Known Member
#5
I guess what I could add and which doesn't help my confidence is that I am a (fairly short and shy-looking) woman in a vastly masculine environment, and sometimes I feel like I could disappear between all the testosterone. It's hard to be taken seriously at times.
Same here, I can totally relate to that. I remember when interviewers first started asking that question (I've never had to answer it thankfully) but I just thought it was so dumb I'm surprised it's still being asked. It sounds like a trick question - like are you admitting to having no ambition or too much? It could go either way depending on the interviewer. I like @Were all together's answer, just to be honest.
 

Lane

SF Supporter
#6
Thank you for sharing. I admire your accomplishments and understand the difficulty of job hunting when you're not feeling well and ones self esteem isnt high. I'm also not at your career level.

I think when companies ask that question, they want to see that you may still be committed to them. So, if you feel like you can see yourself comfortable there and growing, try to say so. I know the question brings up dreary thoughts and it's hard to compartmentalize. But this is your means for survival. I hope I'm not being too harsh. We may be around the same age. Hugs
 

Freyja

Not staff. Freyja with a j.
SF Supporter
#7
Thank you all for your replies :)

Something you can speak to with some conviction and passion.
Yes, these are the feelings I look for but it's really hard for all the reasons I explained. In the end I feel more comfortable telling the truth (or a truth) with passion than the perfect lie...

Once a guy saw I was struggling with finding an answer (it was my first interview ever) but he was very kind and understanding. It may not happen again.

I think that's what I will do, basically explaining I don't know where I'll be, and some of the possibilities out there that I could imagine. It's very close to the truth.

Thank you for sharing. I admire your accomplishments and understand the difficulty of job hunting when you're not feeling well and ones self esteem isnt high. I'm also not at your career level.

I think when companies ask that question, they want to see that you may still be committed to them. So, if you feel like you can see yourself comfortable there and growing, try to say so. I know the question brings up dreary thoughts and it's hard to compartmentalize. But this is your means for survival. I hope I'm not being too harsh. We may be around the same age. Hugs
Thank you for your compliments.

Yes, that's exactly what companies would like to hear, but it just sounds so rehearsed and untrue in my case. I struggle with saying that. Like saying that I'm a big perfectionist as a flaw, although that couldn't be more true.

You're not too harsh at all, thank you for your words.
 

may71

Well-Known Member
#8
I think most countries in Europe have some form of employment services for people with disabilities.

I'm not sure how you would find the resources, but they may be able to help you to not only find a job, but one that's a good fit for you.

They may also be able to help you go over how to handle interview questions
 

Freyja

Not staff. Freyja with a j.
SF Supporter
#9
I think most countries in Europe have some form of employment services for people with disabilities.

I'm not sure how you would find the resources, but they may be able to help you to not only find a job, but one that's a good fit for you.

They may also be able to help you go over how to handle interview questions
Yes, we have that service for unemployed people. I had several "tutorials" about interviews during university.
Thank you for your answer may71 :)
 

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