[I wrote this in Jan 2016 and it was published in a magazine.]
Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years?
I’ve always loved movies. I’ve watched thousands of them in my life beginning as soon as I could change the channel on the old black & white TV, watching all those movies from the 30s and 40s.
My latest favorite is called, The Intern, with Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, and Rene Russo. The reviews weren’t very good, but I love it (tells you what critics mean to me. . .) because it makes me feel good, and I like feeling good. If you haven’t seen it, Robert De Niro’s character applies for a “senior intern” position at a start-up clothing company and is assigned as a personal assistant to the CEO, Anne Hathaway, but she isn’t thrilled to deal with that. He overcomes her resistance with patience and by providing value, which I think almost everyone appreciates.
In the interview before getting the position, he is asked by a 20-something interviewer, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” His answer, “What? You mean when I’m 80?” The kid backpedals not really realizing that he is now 70 years old.
It’s one of those silly questions that employers and their representatives often ask. Heck, I asked it many times myself in interviewing potential hires. It must be one of those things that came from some expert seminar or something, but it is truly a silly question. I can remember being 20 and could not even imagine in my head being 30, so how would I answer that question? In the movie, he is 70 and at first, I laughed, and then I calculated that I am 68 this year, and could relate to his surprise at such a silly question.
It’s difficult to consider the future that far out. Heck, it’s difficult to consider it only a year from now, and the older I get in years, the more I focus on now. I can’t do anything in the future, but I certainly can do something now.
Many want us to worry about the future, but that simply destroys our today. I get the question and its meaning. They want to know what our ambitions are, whether we have much ambition, what our goals are, how we will grow to become more, and so on. Wonderful. Why not ask those questions. But, here are some better ones to consider, I think. See if you agree.
How can I enjoy my life more right now? How can I be more loving right now? In what ways can I be of more value right now? With all my experience in life, who can I share the value of my unique perspective with for their benefit (and mine) right now? How can I love myself more right now? In what ways can I spend more time focusing on joy right now? What excites me? What causes me to want to dance? How can I find more inner peace right now?
How about this: Where do you see yourself right now?