Hands down, up, or in the middle of a high-five, the worst icebreaker question of all is "Where do you see yourself in ______ (insert arbitrary number) years?" Think about it. No really ... first, who really cares where you see yourself in ______ (still arbitrary) years? Even I've got a healthy apathy in that department (and I've been neck deep in conversations about judging soil and rotten milk). Second, assuming the questioner is in earnest, how in the bloody name of Agatha Christie are you supposed to know? Remember five years ago if you can - back then, did you see yourself here? Or even close? I know I didn't see myself single, chubby, or in law school (a triple threat, my friends). Five years ago I was still on the path to being a happily married medical researcher out to cure cancer and the common cold - and my mother is still weeping the change.
As far as I can tell, the whole question must have started in the seventies with the advent of networking. (And I'll bet the first guy to ask the question was some brash, starched-shirt wearing schmuck named Bob. Or, maybe, Bobette). Bob must have been one of those incredibly annoying "networkers" - the kind of guy that goes to a party to "work" a room, "make contacts," and "carouse" with "loose" women.
He must have been pretty darn stuck to let this wonder fly ... probably in the middle of a drink with Ed, that one guy who's so buggered self-serving that he even makes people like Bob look good.
"And I told her that I didn't care how many times she made out with Bono, it still couldn't be as awesome as shaking hands with the President . . . or walking on the moon."
"Ed," Bob probably asked nonchalantly as he grabbed another drink, "so, um, where exactly do you see yourself in ____ (yeah, you know) years?"
"Well, that's a good question Bob. I guess that I . . . Bob? Bob? Hey, where'd he go?"
But by then, Bob was across the room getting to know Sara, a rather excitable and friendly rock groupie. On second thought, maybe . . . no, that question still sucks rocks.