Somebody asked what I do and I said, "I build web applications for [a scientific organization you've heard of]. My contract runs at least through this year." Then he asked, "What do you plan to do after that?" I thought wow, good question.
I don't really think that way because I don't believe we can predict the future. Things happen, and if you try to make the future conform to your preconception, you miss out. Every time I go abroad or to a conference, I come back with a new idea or mindset I would have never predicted, one that gives me a better direction for the next year. What I do in five years problaby depends on something that hasn't happened yet.
Nevertheless, it's good to know what you want and to have a contingency plan. I did sysadmin and workstation support for several years and wanted to get out of that, and I was planning to get out of programming too and into technical writing. But then a Python job came up, and then another. Python is my favorite language, so Python jobs are too fun to turn down. I'll just continue as long as the Python jobs keep coming, then I'll prob'ly find something outside the computer field. I don't like keeping all my eggs in one basket in a boom-and-bust industry, and I'm not happy with some of the trends in the computer industry. I've thought about going to massage school, but haven't felt strongly enough to do it yet.
Sluggo is Mike Orr, a helluva friendly guy in Seattle. Email me if you have feedback.