My five-year plan

I went on this job interview and the woman asked me, “Rob, where do you see yourself in five years?” And I didn’t know what to say. So I spent twenty five percent of my mental energy trying to look natural while I used the other seventy five percent to try and think up a decent answer. My thought process went like this:

Five years, huh? Well right now I’m at this interview. OK, so after this I’m probably going to be pretty hungry, hungrier even, because I’m already kind of hungry right now. Going in for a job interview is so stressful. I didn’t want to spill anything on my shirt and tie so I skipped breakfast. I just grabbed a banana. But that didn’t do anything. So lunch, yeah, I think there’s a cool empanada place by here. If I get this job, how often am I going to be eating empanadas? I should probably try to limit myself, once a week, twice, tops. Empanadas are delicious, but healthy? Not really. A lot of dough, butter. And it’s not like I’m going to choose the healthy vegetable option every time, probably not even ever. I hope they have a sausage empanada. Or a breakfast empanada. I hope they still have breakfast empanadas when I’m done with this interview.

Then I’ll probably go home. Jesus, I’ve got to speed up this thought process. How long did it take me to think through the whole empanada thing? Is she still looking at me? Am I looking like I’m thinking intently about her question? Because five years from now, that’s what I’ve got to be answering, and I haven’t even gotten through the rest of today. Maybe if I raise my finger slightly in the air and then I’ll open my mouth like I’m about to say something, and then I’ll close my mouth and make an even more pensive expression, like five years is a serious thing to think about, and so, yeah, I’ll bring that finger down from the air and bring it to my temple, like I’m really, really thinking, and that should buy me enough time to figure out the next five years.

Let’s see, I should probably assume that I’m getting this job, right? Or is that going to come off as too aggressive? No, they want aggressive. Do they want aggressive? Or do they want humble? Humble but strong. Strong but sensitive. Sensitive but with enough of a thick skin to not overly reveal too much sensitivity. Smart. Funny. Not too funny. Funny enough where people look forward to interacting with me, but not too funny to be seen as a distraction from work. Just kind of amiable. Aggressively entertaining, in a subtle but hardworking way.

“Nobody has five years planned out exactly. But in what direction do you see yourself headed?”

Shit, that was a follow-up question. I am taking too long. I’ve got to stall for some more time.

“Well, in five years I think I’m going to be doing a lot of subtle hard work. No, what I mean is … it’s just.”

That didn’t come out right. You’ve got to be more assertive. Just open your mouth and tell her what she wants to hear. You can do this. You’ll be eating empanadas every day. Screw the savings of bringing in a boxed lunch. You’ll be the living embodiment of success. They’ll be giving you empanadas for free. And you’re a funny guy. Say something funny.

“In five years, I think I’ll have eaten a lot of empanadas by then. Haha. Have you ever been to that empanada place around here? I’ve heard wonderful things. What I mean to say is, I’m definitely going to be a great addition to the team here. I insist that you hire me. Too aggressive? Sorry. Not too aggressive?”

Ask to go to the bathroom. No, don’t ask. Just go. Just get out. Just buy a bunch of empanadas to eat on the way back home. Buy a lot. You might not be back around this part of town anytime soon in the next five years.