Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

When People Want to Know “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?”

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” That’s what they always want to know. In job interviews, in scholarship applications, it’s the same question. Sometimes they also ask about ten years from now. I can’t answer either question with anything even remotely resembling certainty.

When I moved to Florida, I got comfortable living there and didn’t plan to leave. Then I met my husband. I moved to Georgia the month after we got married, about three years from the time I’d moved to Florida. In the roughly two years since then, I’ve moved two more times, once to Germany and once within Germany. I don’t know where I’ll be two years from now, much less five or ten. And if I don’t know where I’ll be, I don’t know what opportunities will be there to be sure of what I want to do or will be able to do.

My husband and me looking at the ocean on our wedding day, a couple months before we knew we’d soon be crossing it.

Throughout the last couple years, there have been many things I didn’t know and couldn’t have seen coming. I didn’t know when I got married that I would find myself in Germany a few months later. I didn’t know that the blog I started during the moving process for myself and people I know in real life would turn into much more, would gain followers and touch random people who have written me emails to thank me for posting information they were looking for. I didn’t know that I’d make some great blogger friends and get opportunities to collaborate with other writers through my posts on their blogs and having them post on mine. [Side note: If you’re interested in having me write a guest post for you or writing a guest post on a topic that might fit with this blog, shoot me an email. But be aware that I only accept posts from bloggers linking back to a personal blog. If you send me a request asking me to link back to myawesomesalespitch.whatever, I will probably delete it without responding.]

I also didn’t know that University of Maryland University College Europe was here, or that their partnership with Bowie State University would allow me to pursue a master’s degree. At the time I got married, that was still a “someday” dream. I also didn’t know that program was about to get shut down. I had gotten started just in time to be part of the “teach out”. I didn’t know that I would do as well as I have. (Knock on wood still rockin’ a 4.0) or that at least one professor would consistently encourage me not to stop here and to pursue a Ph.D., which I’m leaning toward doing…someday.

When I quit my job to move to Georgia, the first time in my adult life I had been unemployed, I didn’t know I would end up being out of work for almost a year between looking for work in Georgia, moving, and looking for work in Germany. I didn’t know that when I found work it would be in a daycare. I met some wonderful children and even a few wonderful adults I would probably not have met otherwise, and I have learned things that I can pass on to others, hopefully to help them.

I didn’t know that we’d move after a little over a year and I’d have to leave that job. When I did, I didn’t know what opportunities would come through or when. Four months after we moved, I was offered a job as a substitute teacher, and I’m currently jumping hoops to get that going. I don’t know when that process will be complete (although I hope it will be in time for me to help out during flu season), and even once I start, I don’t know how often (or not) I’ll be called in.

The map from the plane.

You might wonder with all of these things I didn’t know and don’t know if there’s anything I can know for sure. The only constant in the life of a military spouse is change, and the only thing I really know for certain is that I can’t be certain of anything. Everything is subject to change, especially if it’s not on paper, and even then…you never know. I wasn’t sure we were really going to Germany until we were on the plane. And even once we got here, I found out there were people getting redirected to cities they hadn’t expected. We ended up being the only ones on the bus to Heidelberg.

Sometimes that not knowing is frustrating. I have been stressed my fair share of time not knowing for sure when or where we’re moving. Up until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t even 100% sure we’d still be in Germany for me to finish my degree. It was possible I’d have to look for an internship stateside and leave ahead of my husband to start in time for next fall. Thankfully, since he just re-enlisted, I do now have the certainty to know that we’ve been extended here for an extra year, so I will get to finish my degree before we’re off to the next place, although I still don’t know for sure where I will find an internship. (And I know that, if nothing else, it’s military life for us for at least the next six years, wherever that might take us.)

But I can’t let myself worry too much. Even if, for some reason, the Army changes its mind and we end up curtailed, I’ll just have to trust that somehow something will work out. As an anonymous person said in one of the pins on my Don’t Worry; Be Happy board, “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere”. And I already have plenty of things to do and places to go. I just I have to be flexible and open to whatever opportunities exist in whatever location we’re in for however long we’re in it. As much as it used to make me anxious, this not knowing, now I look at it as just another part of the adventure.

This post is part of the Grow Your Blog linkup hosted by One Chocolate Box to help bloggers with less than 500 followers gain exposure and connect with other bloggers. If you have less than 500 followers on Bloglovin’ [Follow my blog with Bloglovin], Facebook, Twitter [@phoenixxphyre], Instagram, Pinterest, or Google+, you can also add your profile link in the appropriate section(s) for those.

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12 Thoughts on “When People Want to Know “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?”

  1. Hi Amanda, I just found your blog through the ;grow your blog’ linkup. I am so excited to find you coz i Love travel. I will be following all your adventures through this blog. Its nice meeting you! Have a blast!

    • Hi Zalika. Me too, although unfortunately I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like. I will be posting about a trip to Lloret de Mar and Barcelona in Spain in the nearish future though. Thanks for following. Nice to meet you too. 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for sharing! It is so tough as a military spouse to figure out where you’ll be in 5 years…especially if you think in terms of physically “where.” For me, I chose to find a way around the moving which I knew I wanted to do even before my husband joined the military. I think as a spouse of a military member you just have to think outside the box and tailor your plans around the concept of “Location Freedom.” That can help. It also helps to try to envision where you see yourself as in education, personal growth, creative projects in 5 years. Life is an uncertain, wobbly wobbly beast anyhow… At least with the military you KNOW that 5 years from now you’ll be somewhere new that may surprise you, and that can be a wonderful thought :).

    • You’re welcome. Agreed. I really don’t mind the moving itself. I get somewhat restless every few years anyhow. I had actually been thinking of joining the military before I met my husband and looked forward to the idea of moving around, but I held off since I was looking at a different branch. The difference with being in is that you know what your career is going to be regardless of where you are. And the not being able to stay at one job until I have another lined up kind of drives me nuts. I don’t do that well with unemployment, although it’s more tolerable this go round because I loaded up on some extra classes. I wanted to pursue an MA in psych even before I met my husband, but I realized it’s also fairly portable. Unfortunately the requirements for counselors vary state to state, so there’s every chance we’ll end up somewhere and I won’t qualify to practice there. The only educational goal I’ll have left after this is a Ph.D which will require 5-7 years in one location lol, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m looking into some possibilities but I don’t want to get too set on the idea since who knows.

      I do make a lot of my goals personal growth/creative project things, and you’re right that does help since I can more or less control whether I reach those. I’ve also been doing some freelance editing and am looking into ways to do more of that where maybe I can make that my thing if we end up staying here or going somewhere else with limited options. As much as it drives me nuts sometimes not to be employed, it is kind of nice to have the time to dabble in those kinds of things to see if they could pan out when I would *never* have taken the risk to try it as my only source of income when I was single. That is true…I tend to look at the whole thing as an adventure…even if we end up somewhere that’s not my favorite, it’ll be an experience. 😀

  3. I agree, it can be a bit frustrating not to know. I have no idea where I will be in 5 years, there are still so many things to figure out, things that can happen…

    • Definitely. I usually go with an answer briefly explaining that I am a military spouse and don’t know where I will be so I can’t be precise, but I can know that I’ll be flexible and open to opportunities, etc. that seems to work out okay 😉

  4. Congratulations! You have been nominated for the Liebster Award! REad about it here: http://www.ladyblogger.net/1/post/2013/11/liebster-award.html

  5. Hi Amanda!

    Reading your post has gotten me all excited! It sure is crazy that we can never predict what our lives will be like within a short span of time. Well, I suppose we can predict all we want, but most times it turns out quite different. I sure didn’t predict that I’d be back home with my mother at 29. But I’m crossing my fingers because I’m planning on traveling in a year or 2. Reading about your experiences within the past few years has just made me look forward to what could happen.

    Thanks again for linking up to the Grow Your Blog link up this week!

  6. I’ve been meaning to write a similar post on “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
    This year I’ve been going on an insane amount of job interviews, and this question (or a similar one) has pretty much bothered me every since I can think. I hear you with military life and its inconsistency. It must be hard to not really know what’s going on and being on the spouse-side of it all, which can be a pretty passive role considering that you are not who is deployed or sent on “missions” (which doesn’t make it one step better in the “worrying” department).

    However, I have to tell you that my life has been about as equally inconsistent, as many of my friend’s, too. I give credit to New York and living in such a turbulent city but it probably would be chaotic elsewhere, too. And I don’t regret it in the very least. I know that eventually I want to go back to grad school and get a Master’s or a Ph.D. But as of now, the deadlines are over so I am once again in a “between-everything” stage. Now, does this sound great in job interviews? “Hey, you know, I decided on a whim to move to another continent and see what opportunities await me there. Sometime in between now and my 40ies I will probably go back to school. Eventually I will travel the entire world and fulfill a few dreams on the way. Sooo, want to hire me now?” 😉

    The truth is, the 5-year-question is ridiculous and highly unlikely to even come true. And deep down, I am honestly glad that I did not decide to stay in my homecity when I had the chance to, but that I was willing to take a risk and go for newly found goals. Anyone whose life has changed more than 180 degrees in the past 3 years can relate. I’m glad you posted this!

    • I’ll be interested to read it if you do. I’m glad I’m not the only one kind of bothered by the question lol.

      I’m in kind of the same boat. I’ve got about a year and a half left on this degree. I know I will probably eventually go back and get my Ph.D. Originally I was thinking of trying to get in right before we leave here so I would know a few months out if I got in or not and *maybe* my husband would be able to request somewhere accordingly, but that’ll be almost back to back and I’m just not sure if I can do that right now. Plus it’s always needs of the Army first of course, so if they want to send us somewhere in the middle of nowhere without a decent Ph.D. program, well, that’ll be on hold. Haha well at least that answer should show your interviewer that you’re ambitious?

      That is true. I mean I think they kind of ask it to see that your’e goal oriented but since they’re usually asking about work or what I’m going to do with my schooling it’s hard to answer since it would be sort of self-defeating to have concrete goals. So that’s why I always end up turning it into an issue of flexibility and being open, and hopefully that’s good enough (I think that’s a valuable quality anyhow lol). At the moment I’m in the process of getting hired to substitute teach (which is actually pretty perfect since it requires flexibility) and in the mean time when I’m not working on school I’m trying to get some freelance things going (writing and editing). Now that I have my own hosting I’m also looking into ways that I can (tastefully) monetize the blog as far as offering relevant ads (instead of the random crap WordPress.com advertises) and hooking up with some affiliate links for stores/brands/products that I truly believe in and think people can benefit from. And of course still working when I can on the fitness site now that I finally have that back in working order (if only I’d known what I know now, fixing that one wouldn’t have taken me so long. So glad I learned what to do before having to move this one over since I have a lot more posts). Anyhow, I think it’s a good thing you took a risk. I’m glad you’re glad I posted it. Thanks for reading, and commenting 🙂

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