• Danny Lewandowski, over 4 years ago

    This is a great question and I've been struggling with it the recent past. I'm 43, turning 44 in June.

    I've always worked in agencies at about the Sr. Art Director level, just under the separation of design and business. What I mean by that is what I've observed is that as you get higher up the ladder that farther away from the design process you get. I've seen it time and time again. People work themselves to the bone to impress the higher-ups and then are cheered for getting a promotion. Once they get into their new role they do nothing but go to countless meetings, deal with account people, schedules, budgeting, resources, allocations, yada yada yada yada. You slowly see the spark get drained from their eyes and they become a shell of their former selves.

    How's that promotion feeling now you worked so hard for?

    I've always been a "doer", not a "talker". At some point, you have to stop talking in circles and just get down to work and actually design something. That's been my struggle with the whole "design thinking" movement...just shut and make something! This has also worked against me in reviews.

    Personally, I have no interest in moving up to management. You're constantly shit on, never design anything and so far removed from the process. I want to keep my hands dirty.

    The drawback is that it limits my income but that's where side gigs come in.

    Now I have a 401k, am working on an internal team "client-side", have great health care, an awesome boss and team and work from home. Couldn't be happier at the moment. The work isn't glamorous but I could care less about that now.

    My goals are to improve where I can, learn new skills and be the best designer I can. I'm planning for retirement but don't think I could ever stop working.

    My 2 cents for what it's worth.

    2 points