Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

Our anonymous panel answer one of the more painful interview questions. But this time they’re telling the truth

The Primary School Teacher

I teach six-year-olds and have been teaching for the last 12 years. I live and work in London.

“In five years’ time, I dream that I am going to be blissfully soaking up the Australian sunshine and building a new life for me and my partner there. Maybe we’ll set up our own business or build a house near the beach, maybe we’ll move to the countryside, have chickens and run a B&B? Whatever we do, I hope we’ll be happily out of the hectic whirlwind of London life.

I’ve resigned, we’ve got visas sorted and we’ve put our place up for sale. Thank goodness. I’ve had enough of this job for now, to be honest. I need to do something where I’m valued by the world around me.

I’m fed up with having to justify why children and teachers deserve more, to people that have only read about what we do in a newspaper or seen it on the news. I’m fed up with made up standards, lack of pay rises, Ofsted and not getting enough support to get our job done. I’m fed up with coming home worried that I have let my kids down and am not allowing them thrive and develop good learning skills and creativity.

So, not long to go. July is creeping ever closer. And my life is looking a bit like an open book right now where I get to write the next chapters from scratch.”

The Chartered Surveyor

I value land and property for clients who aim to redevelop them. I live and work in London.

“Groan. Always an awkward question to prepare for, and fortunately I’ve never had to answer it. It is genuinely difficult for me to answer properly as I never want to think that far ahead; but I do regularly think about a strategy for the next six to 12 months and that’s generally been a useful focus.

Five years ago, we were in a recession and my career was heading into uncharted territory; I couldn’t think beyond three months let alone
five years. So much has changed (mostly for the better), but I never could have planned for any of it. I would simply hope that the
upward trajectory of my skills and experience would have continued, that I would still have as much enthusiasm for the job I’d be doing, that I would be working with a great team and that I would have grown a respected reputation within my industry.”

The Comedian/Receptionist

I am a professional comedian/writer. Like most artists, my chosen career path is not financially stable enough to support me, so I also work full-time as a corporate receptionist.

“This is a difficult question to answer in such a fickle industry as show business. Even Meryl Streep can’t guarantee she’ll have a career in five years. (Okay, maybe Streep is sorted, but pretty much everyone else is working job to job.)

In my ultimate fantasy where all career dreams come true, I’ll have my own production company where I’ll write, produce, and act in my own work on TV and film. Let’s call this the Schumer Track (although it’s worth noting that five years ago Amy Schumer was already well ahead of where I am in my career.)

For this to happen, I need some industry big shots to suddenly decide this week that they’re really interested in meeting with someone they’ve never heard of. Then I would need a series of green lights and open doors where I’m successful at every opportunity. Some more big shots would then invest lots of money into my ideas, then I’d spend a few years writing, developing, filming, and editing, then stick more money and effort into marketing, and finally have a few million people watch and like the show/film so I’ve got enough audience demand to make the next project.

If all of those things don’t exactly happen, I could very well end up back at the reception desk at any point. A more realistic goal would be that in five years I’ll be making just enough money from touring and small roles on the odd sitcom to pay rent, but I’ll still be struggling to have a financially stable career that I’m in control of. Here’s one thing I know for sure: if I’m still working this reception job in five years, then I hope it’s because I’ve decided I really love it and it’s what I want to do with my life. Let’s hope for the Schumer Track.”

The Technical Advisor

I work for the local government, in the environmental protection department. I live in Birmingham.

“Even though I’m dedicated to my career, I also like to keep my options open. Ideally in five years’ time I will be on an assignment to Paris or Seville, working for the EU. I’ll learn another language, have a taste of a different culture and generally broaden my horizons. If the UK stays in the EU that is. Plan B is going at least one step up the ladder, taking people management responsibilities. Last year I would have said two steps up, but these days opportunities are rare and competition fierce. I’m no less ambitious than I was last year but I’m more realistic. Not sure what happened to my ‘think big’ motto. I guess that, unfortunately, it’s too risky for someone who has a mortgage to pay off and a child to provide for…”