What a stupid question. I am utterly convinced there is no right answer to this question. I have never heard one anyway. If you have some sort of idea where you want your career to go and it doesn’t match what the company is looking for, you’ve shot yourself in the foot. If you have no idea where you want your career to go, you’re a flight risk (or an idiot) and have therefore shot yourself in the foot. If you make up some BS about how you want to see what opportunities the company can provide to you, you sound like a brown nosing jerk or too wishy washy or uniformed about our company. Either way, you are no closer to a right answer for this question.
Truthfully, I have no idea what I want from my career in the next 2-5 years. My not interview appropriate honest answer is that in 2-5 years, I hope to be employed. Period. I want to be working, making marginally more money than I am now since my student loan payments will hit their next graduated level soon. Of course, I wouldn’t balk if I was making significantly more money than I am now. If I could also figure out some way of making more money while also working a reduced schedule or working part time from home, that would be magical. As for the content of my career, I don’t really know or care to be honest.
My younger sister and I had a conversation on this theme recently. We share the same desire to be the best at what we do but without the drive to be in a higher position. We don’t want to control the office, we want to quietly make sure the office runs in the best possible way while someone else takes the heat if it doesn’t. Is there some way of putting that into an answer that doesn’t make me sound like a lack ambition? Or like I’m making something up?
I see myself continuing to provide the best quality service to my employer and the customers and clients I serve, whether they are department managers or external representatives. I still find that one of the most satisfying things about the positions I have held are when I get to handle the complex, mundane, or seemingly insignificant tasks that allow others the peace of mind to do what they are passionate about. I like problem solving, I like when I find a great solution to a difficult situation, I like project coordination, I like being responsible for facilitating communication and I think I perform very well at each of these tasks. I’d like to continue to work in a field that I can be excited about. Right now, I make decisions to hire people who are testing what could one day be my own or my loved ones samples for cancer, or genetic conditions, or pregnancy health, or a variety of other medical conditions. I know the decisions I make are potentially impacting thousands of people per day. I want to work in a field that continues to challenge me to be the best I can be. With stability, of course.