I recently wrote about advice I would tell myself 10 years ago, when I was entry-level, clueless of my future, surroundings, and about what being a professional adult meant. So naturally it next feels right to take it forward and dive into where I want to be in another 10 years. So, at the 20th year of my career, what will I be doing? What impact will I have made? Where will I be? My ten year point currently feels like a good time to reflect…into the future.
We’ve all gotten the cliche interview question of “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” It’s a tough one to answer without either sounding ridiculously ambitious, unrealistic, naive, or just silly. To sit there and say something like “CEO of Company X” would surely get a smirk in return. But why does it? Isn’t that what you want an incoming employee to think, to strive for? To be an ambitious leader and make a huge impact?
So on the flip side, if you respond by saying you want to level off and max out at middle-management, and that you see yourself doing the exact same thing, you might as well just leave. It’s a bit of a trick question and one that would probably take a really long time to answer actually really well, but in an interview you’re expected to pop something brilliant out on the spot, quickly, and with solid articulation.
As for me, I want neither of those things. I don’t want to be doing the exact same thing I’m doing now and I also am not striving to be the CEO of a big company – I’m not chasing a title. For me it’s more about the company I work for, the impact I have made and am making, achieving success, and helping to provide for my family. If that happens to be a CMO or SVP or VP or something else – I’m good with that. Wherever you are in that chain, you can make a big impact.
I love bringing stories to consumers. It’s a huge passion of mine and something I see continuing as a big part of my next 10 years. A relatively newish name for all of this is “content marketing” so we’ll go with that for the sake of ease and understanding, but God knows what all of this will be called in 2026. I want to be a leader in this space, for a company, brand, or agency that brings a message and emotion to people that they actually care about, that delivers value to their lives by way of said content, stories, information, entertainment, and beyond… at touch points we couldn’t possibly expect or predict today, so I’m not going to try, at least not in this blog. It will all be in the name of a brand or brands, but the feeling people are left with reaches far beyond the fact that the company sells a product or offers a service. I preach emotional connection today and have been for a few years, and I don’t see that wavering or drastically changing in the decade to come.
So in other words, I guess I do kind of want to keep doing what I’m doing; however – on a bigger scale, with bigger resources and more opportunity to craft these innovative executions. I want to lead a team of creative writers, producers, journalists, photographers, videographers, designers, developers, marketers and artists. I’ve led different pieces of all of these things already, but never all together in a free-flowing, organized, formal team working towards common goals and purposes.
If I had to throw a mythological title on there for the purpose of this blog making sense, I guess you could say the field would be something like Content Marketing & Brand Storytelling. And then wherever I land, Chief, SVP, VP, etc, I’ll run with it and continue striving for excellence and for more.
In a world full of so much shit out there, so much noise, so much crap – there is quality, too. As we look 10 years down the road one can only imagine the magnitude of how much more crap will be out there. I want to hold a high standard and never settle for said crap. I want to continue to connect brands and consumers in ways they never thought possible before…with quality and high value. I want to keep driving that emotional connection.
I realize much of this is pretty fluffy. Quite vague. That’s on purpose. I think it’s ridiculous I even attempted to put a title on it. The main point I’m trying to get across, is that I know in a general sense what I want to be doing in 10 years and why. In my opinion those are by far the two most important parts of that equation. The rest will settle into place.
Ten years ago, if I were to say – I think I will be in Colorado with a wife, three little kids, two dogs, our fourth house, working for my sixth company and building content marketing strategies – I would’ve thought I was insane. I was in no position to try to predict any of that 10 years ago. Life happens – your career is only a piece of it.
So instead of asking the question as “where” someone sees themself in a decade, which no reasonable person could ever possibly actually answer, try going with “what do you want to be doing and why.”
My next 10 year quest has already started.