Maintaining Sanity

When you choose to become a Designer, if you were taught the right thing, you have silently signed a document promising that you will solve problems. What they don’t tell you is that you will not be able to turn it off. It’s one of those careers which truly tranforms your entire mode of thinking. “Design thinking”–that’s what ‘dem business folk call it.

From your first day, ‘You can change the world,’ is drilled into your head. This website could be better. This tool could be easier to use. This house has really strange outlet placements. This shirt feels weird. The process of buying this ticket is cumbersome. Their customer service could be more efficient. This communication is unclear. In fact, this entire business model is unclear. This process is stuck here. What about politics? What about world hunger? What about environmental issues?

What can I do? I can typeset this better. I can create a new tool. I can renovate this place and change the outlet placements. I can create my own clothing line. I can help this business fix their ticket terminals. I can offer my suggestions on how to make this customer service line more efficient. I can help rewrite this sentence here or help you brainstorm business models. Why don’t I move into management and bring my design thinking there? What if I join IDEO? What if I join Doctors without Borders? The world just needs more Designers!

Yes, Design matters, however, the key to maintaining sanity in this profession is admitting that sometimes the problem isn’t meant for you.

latest in design

November 8, 2017

Follow Your Own Advice

Out of all the advice I give I tend to give this one the most often. It’s old-school advice drilled...

April 9, 2017

Two Habits that Changed my Career

It’s the small things that make big waves. I have two habits I’ve picked up over the years which I...

April 2, 2017

On Commitment

The biggest lessons I’ve ever learned were from periods of extended commitment. Our available choices now send us into paralysis...

March 26, 2017

Retrospectives: Bring Me Only Problems

Asking for solutions first is bad management advice. ‘Don’t bring me problems—bring me solutions!’ teaches your team not to speak...

by category

View all about one topic: Design, Leadership, Tech, Life, Creative, Website

Or visit the complete archives