Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

When I was still in University I was required to do an internship, that’s basically working for a few months without being paid (or paid very little money).

So I went to this company office (the only ever on-site interview I did), looked around, did a little interview and I was asked this question: “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”.

I think my answer was something along the lines of “not here for sure” (😂) and I remember I got nice praises of honesty.

But they didn’t call me again 😆

I never cared about leaving good impressions and saying nice words, especially in a business kind of environment, although that’d be something you might decide to do if you really need that job.

Don’t answer like I did.

Answer something like “I’m looking forward growing with you as an individual and as a team member and hope to contribute to your company success and expansion for the next 20 years”.

But as far as I’m concerned, this question is pointless. Where do I see myself in 5 years? Mhmmmm, let’s look back 5 years ago.

5 years ago it was 2016. Let me check my emails to figure out what I was doing.

After working for some years on building rich-client JavaScript applications with Ember for clients, I was running my now shut down CMS plugins business and I was working as a part-time contractor for Grav, a quite popular flat-file CMS.

Totally different from what I’m doing now. Like, 100% different. And if I try to imagine myself in the mind of the 2016 Flavio, there’s no way I’d ever imagined I was successfully organizing JavaScript courses in 2021.

For various reasons. I had probably 900 followers on Twitter, no visitors on my website with 15 blog posts, no email newsletter at all, no “audience”, no knowledge at all about what would have then exploded as “creator economy” of which I’m now a part of.

If you asked me in 2016 “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I probably would have imagined a better iteration of where I was sitting back then. Like, my software business exploded and I now have 10k€ MRR. Or, the CMS company I’m working for gets acquired or gets so many users that’s now competing with Next.js (which didn’t even exist back then) and VC money is being thrown at us and I’m now managing a team of 50 as a CTO.

Well no, I’m now doing something TOTALLY different. Back then I lived in GitHub issues and the community chat and I spent days debugging people’s code and server configurations, helping other developers build their sites and apps.

Today I’m blessed that my full-time activity is helping people become developers. I love it.

Maybe in 5 years I’ll do something totally different. Or maybe it will be an incremental improvement over the current situation. Like helping 10x more people.

I won’t even try to imagine that any more. I live day by day, trying to do the best I can, without spreading myself too thin and without doing too many side projects that distract me from my goal of helping developers get better at their job.

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