Being Honest About Your Goals

Nathaniel Winans
3 min readSep 30, 2021

“Where do you see yourself in five years”? We’ve all had that question at some point in our lives. It could’ve come up in a job interview. Maybe it was when you spoke with a professor in college. It could’ve been an uncomfortable conversation at the dinner table with family members if you didn’t seem like you were going down a good path. At some point, you’ve been asked that question.

Photo credit: Jorge Salvador

But when you asked this question in a professional workplace, how do you respond? Should you tell them that your real goal is to be running a bike shop in Vermont in the summertime and a ski shop in the winter? Should you tell them that once you’re in Vermont, you’ll start a coffee shop on the side because you just can’t find a good coffee bean that provides a strong coffee but without the acidity. Probably not.

The answer that you’ll give will be an honest one, to some level. You’ll want to tell them partially what they want to hear, but mainly what you want to tell them. You want to grow in their company over the next five years. You want to be higher up and have more responsibility to have a higher paycheck. You want to personally develop your skillset and enhance your vocabulary and interpersonal skills. At some level, there is something you want out of your professional career development that you’ll tell your job, or prospective employer.

But far too often we either lose sight of these goals or just want to suppress them. We all know there is more to life than just working. Most people come home at the end of the day thinking that there has to be more than working, living, and dying to our existence. And they’re right. So why don’t we push ourselves to do so?

Why don’t more people try to retire younger? Why don’t people push themselves in a professional aspect to learn as much as they can to start that business they’ve always dreamed about? Why don’t people find a job they love so they can feel like they make a difference every day?

If we can start having this conversation in a professional setting, the better off we’ll all be.

It might be scary to tell a coworker that you want to start a side hustle. You don’t want to get caught slacking one day and have your poor performance be blamed on it.

As human beings, we have goals. Whether they’re to climb Mt. Everest or learning to ride a bike. We have goals.

There are thousands of different ways we’re instructed to manage them, but never once is it mentioned that we openly talk about them with coworkers. Sure you don’t want to tell your boss that in five years you see yourself in a different field because you hate them so much you now hate that industry. Let’s be real. But having a conversation with coworkers about what you want out of life is important.

You can let Bernadette in accounting know that one day you want to be a full-time beekeeper. You can listen to Jerry about how he loves cooking and is going to go to culinary school and become a chef. These are ok conversations that are helpful and beneficial to our well-being. To who we are.

So the next time you’re asked “where do you see yourself in five years”, be honest. Stop beating around the bush and start accomplishing your goals.



Nathaniel Winans

My goal is to provide you with content to keep you reading and information that keeps you coming back.