“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?“
I haven’t written a post on this blog for over a year now. I honestly miss the solitude and therapeutic nature of writing and now I am back. I actually started to write a novella but writer’s block reared its ugly head. Also another contributor to this halt is the mundane day-to-day activities in the corporate world. I can admit first hand that it stifles creativity. It encourages you to be heavily time oriented, task oriented, linear, practical, chronological and worst of all repetitive. Another foot soldier working diligently towards the end of the month for another brief high of a pay-day.
I work in B2B direct sales and marketing for ICT products and services for one of the major Telecommunication Companies in the region and out of “boredom” I applied for a post within the company. Just to switch things up a bit and try my luck in another department. Interview day came and I sat “doe eyed” across the table from Human resources managers and other department heads. As they started to describe the positioned being offered I sat still and thought to myself why did I apply to for this particular role it sounds like a prison behind a desk, graphs, reports, numbers, projections, procurements. My mind slowly decided to drift and I began to feel a bit embarrassed for wasting their time but they were all familiar faces and luckily the mood was light. Then suddenly the dawning question erupted and snapped me back to the present moment.
“Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?” The human resources manager asked with a calm smile.
I bet she anticipated a witty remark. There was none at this time.
Senior year out of college I had the answer rehearsed. It would’ve slipped right off my tongue but today there was no bone in my body urging to be pretentious or to impress.
The last 5 years reeled back in my head as we sat in awkward silence– an epiphany
What a question. I thought to myself. A bit vague but direct at the same time. After a few seconds I scanned their eyes with a warm smile. Their eyes read to mine: They were in awe at such liberation, confused, they momentarily pitied me. Is this young man grounded? They probably thought to themselves. However I managed to muster up a shallow response that seemed to satisfy the question.
At 21 if you’d ask me where I saw myself in 5 years I would’ve retorted quickly working to become an “asset” in a Fortune 500 company, probably holding a job in administrative work in a major metropolitan like Chicago, Columbus, Cleveland or even Detroit. Who finds themselves at 21? I used to beat myself up about not pursuing studies in law but I met way too much law students running away from the field after graduation. I could never specialize because I am genuinely intrigued by a lot. However I am in Barbados employed by a major Corporation feeding my entrepreneur ego with the knowledge I have seen in the business world thus far relevant to me. Life in my opinion just doesn’t work like that, you can’t lay your finger down and say this is where I would be in 5 years.Don’t get me wrong it’s always good to have a plan but encourage flexibility. I welcome and embrace this aspect to life. What was real to me at 21 has changed on the road to 26 and definitely by 31 the dream pitched at 26 would’ve evolved significantly through experience, information, chance, maturity and taste. Countless business ideas came and went, countless job applications, countless scholarship applications for school. If one thing had went differently I wouldn’t be sitting here now in this interview.
A mature man by the name of Raymond Cole from Jamaica, then he was my immediate manager, lived and work in the United States for many years is probably one of the most relentless and brilliant sales people I’ve ever seen by shear will power. He said to me one time as I was calculating on how to afford a mortgage and beating myself up in the process.
“Don’t ever sell yourself short. The average GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita in Barbados is just over 16,000 USD a year. You earn more at 26 years old than the average person around. ” He paused deliberately.
“Barbados is ranked 72 out of 198 nations in relation to the average GDP- PPP per capita. He said.
“You are doing well.”
I was immediately humbled.
The one constant thing is growth. I worked in sales in the suburbs of Detroit so now I have a slight twang to neutralize and pronounce words clearly, now it became habitual — good communication. My whole wardrobe has changed dramatically, the way I approach people has altered — image is everything. Everyday seems brighter in Barbados after you’ve experienced Michigan’s winter and dangerous communities — gratitude. I’ve never experienced loneliness until I lived in a new city away from close friends so I have developed a boldness to talk to strangers — networker. I underestimated money management until I blew a couple thousand tax refund dollars on absolutely nothing-prioritize.
Everyday my job is a case study. I take note on which companies and businesses are doing well and who isn’t; I see who closed it’s doors due to competition and the stress of the economy. A general synopsis of bad business models, bad locations and good ideas from entrepreneurs. Everyday is a learning experience to the observant salesman. I welcome where all of this would take me in the next 5 years.
Go read the book : Rich Dad Poor Dad is a 1997 book written by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter.
The universe is already starting to shape this reality one step at time