Where the design community meets.
I'm 40 next year, I've been contracting for most of my career and I don't have a pension.
I'm not thinking about retirement at all, I don't really have much of a desire to retire, it's not one of my life goals.
I'm a design practitioner, mainly UX but do UI and visual as well. I don't aspire to manage or lead particularly, I like what I do and I just want to continue doing it and getting better and better at it.
I don't have a plan.
I'm amazed this is the top comment and I hope all of you live in countries with robust government safety nets or have large inheritances from your parents.
If you don't have a planned exit strategy from design (ie. either enough savings/investments/government support to retire...or eventual career pivot to McDonalds), you're going to have a bad time.
I also like what I do and want to continue doing it, but I know I'm kidding myself to think both A) I'll be able to keep up with the latest technology forever and B) companies are going to want to hire a 75 year-old geriatric to design whatever machine-learning 3D AR/VR interfaces we're using 30 years from now.
To clarify, I'm not proud of the fact that I don't have a plan, I was just being honest about my situation. I should really have a savings plan in place, maybe my sons will take care of me :-)
I am in a position of some privilege, I live in a country that has a public healthcare service, but I probably don't stand to inherit much from my parents and I doubt state pensions will exist when I am that age.
I think it's a bit much to state that people will have a bad time without an "exit strategy". Obviously we will need to be flexible to change as the industry changes, who knows what skill set will be the most valuable over the next few decades.
But it seems like you're saying: older people aren't suited to work in our industry. Which I don't agree with, there are fewer older people in the tech industry right now, because it has risen up quite quickly, but as our workforce ages, will will find ourselves with a higher proportion of older workers, which I'm hoping have a positive effect on what we create.
there are fewer older people in the tech industry right now, because it has risen up quite quickly
So you think the progression of technology is going to start slowing down? That goes contrary to everything we know.
People have this false idea that the world pre-internet and post-internet was some big dividing line...and it was just a bunch of "lazy" people who couldn't make the jump. But the tech industry has always been there, making progress and steadily changing every year (in design think of the changes from metal typesetting > phototypesetting > desktop publishing > websites > skeuomorphic interactive web apps > flat design mobile apps > ??). And the rate at which this is happening is increasing.
It's cognitive dissonance to think, "Sure, I don't work with any old people now, but everything will be different when I'm older! I'm special and will be able to keep up, unlike my lazy grandparents!"
Personally, I'm investing a large portion of my income as I don't want to place of the burden of supporting me on my children or other people. In the tech industry, we make more money than most people do. My feeling is, to not save and invest given that, is foolish.
Well done, you are an example for all of us.
Man, one should really be maximising benefits from contracting as much as possible. To not use tax breaks as part of a pension is lunacy.
Could you share any tips to keep your body from giving you problems? I'm only 33 but often have a hard time sitting and working at my desk all day, which obviously is not optimal.
I do have back issues, but I go to physical therapy, work out as often as possible, try and sleep well, and constantly stretch. I still have pains from sitting/standing for too long and I'd like that to, well, not. It really robs me of my ability to focus and be as meticulous as I'd like when designing.
Hi Mike, I'm afraid I've been lucky enough not to have any physical problems with sitting and working, so I can't give you any advice there. I'm sure you've considered anything I could think of.
Get up and move at least once an hour. It's cliche, but that's what it takes. Take a walk, even if it's a short one around the building or in the building. Find ways to work in places that are not your desk. Hopefully you have a laptop and can take it to a another corner of the office, or to a table you can stand at. This is immensely helpful, even if it's only for 30 minutes a day. Not only is it good for your overall health, those changes of scenery are great for your creative flow.
Beyond all of that, get a dog if you can. Having a dog means I walk a minimum of 2 miles a day, which is great for both your physical and mental health.
100% to all of this.
Also if you can convince your company to invest in a stand desk. If you can't do that then invest in one on your own. Get one of those things that you put on your desk that converts it to a stand desk. Stand up, walk around every now and then... essentially what @Jeff Courturier mentioned.
I'm 52. I have had trouble sitting for long hours at at time and move around, do yoga, work out, etc. to keep fit. However recently I started in on two things that have helped and I wanted to share specifically. One is called Foundation Training. Search it online and you can find it. The other is a book titled, "8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back". Both are helpful and I recommend them.
Where the design community meets.
Designer News is a large, global community of people working or interested in design and technology.