Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?

We’ve all had to answer that question at some point in our lives. Nearly every job interview has some iteration of this inquiry. Yet this is really is not a question that can determine professional fit or personal values. Asking where one sees themselves in ten years is actually quite ridiculous because, truth be told, who really knows what their future will hold! Even those of us meticulous planners can’t predict what will happen in the world and how our life will take form.

Yet it’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Not because I’m planning my future. It’s because of the recent news stories discussing the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I thought about where I was ten years ago (on vacation in Santa Barbara), when the storm flooded New Orleans. Thinking about myself then, there’s no way I could have predicted the life I have now.

Ten years ago, in 2005 …

  • Bryan and I had barely been married four years.
  • It was the beginning of the real estate boom. We started the year in our condo, sold it and moved into our current house in May of that year.
  • Having a child was the last thing on my mind. Even fur kids weren’t an option until Casey came into our life in October of that year.
  • Bryan was a second-year law student.
  • I started the job of Director of Communications for Enrollment Services at San Diego State University. It was an amazing start to that career where I built an incredible team, gained leadership skills, ran a department and gave me the foundation for how I run my business today. I probably answered that same question in the job interview and thought I would have been there beyond 2015.  Yet five years later (for reasons that deserve a separate post), I moved on to other pastures.
  • Hurricane Katrina hit land; which not since 9/11 four years earlier, moved the country to pitch in toward a common cause.
  • I was not on Facebook (hardly anyone was). Twitter and LinkedIn weren’t even “born” yet.
  • This blog did not exist, nor did most of the ones you read today.

It’s strange to think how much has changed in ten years. The economy went bust and we struggled through the Great Recession. The country elected an African-American president. Same-sex marriage is legal. To say social media and technology has changed our lives is a massive understatement.

And on a personal level, ten years has brought profound change to my life. I left a secure and stable job to start my own business. The freelance life I have now was not even an option ten years ago (online publications, website editors and social media strategists?!). I’m a mother to a daughter. We adopted three dogs and took in a family of cats. We faced the loss of one dog and one cat. Friends and family have come and gone — some through chance and others by choice. Yet even though so much has changed, I have the same values and character I did in 2005 (and years before that).

So the next time I’m asked the question – “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” – I’m going to be honest and say, “I have no idea. But if history is any indication, I will be, at the core, the same person I am today and always have been.”

And in this ever-changing and unpredictable world, can we really expect anything else?

Where were you ten years ago in 2005? Are you in a different place than where you thought you’d be?

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