Why Designers Leave(medium.com)

almost 10 years ago from J A, Design Lead at Gametime

  • charles riccardicharles riccardi, almost 10 years ago (edited almost 10 years ago )

    Honestly, I think this post makes a lot of sense, if you’re talking about Facebook specifically (and maybe a few other companies). Think about why designers go there in the first place? I would venture to say that it's 1. For the incredible group of talent that they have there. You're bound to grow and become even better just being around those people everyday. I have been to their offices, and it’s simply inspiring. And 2. Your work (no matter how small) will be exposed to millions, and possibly billions, of viewers. That is usually part of the pitch.

    If I’m speculating, I would guess that designers end up realizing the type of things that they work on, is not something they're truly passionate about. It doesn’t provide a huge amount of value to them. Their interaction on FB might be to connect with some people, host an event or two, or just browse the feed, but ultimately, it doesn't feed the designer itch.

    I have always been inspired by my friend Ben Blumenfeld (previous design lead at FB) and his passion for areas/fields that currently lack any type of design (health, education, energy/environment, etc.), and greatly need it. He began Designer Fund, because he saw a huge need in these areas. I think after the initial hype, and excitement of working at FB, designers want and feel empowered to go off and continue building newer (and potentially very powerful) things. If this is one of your reasons for joining Facebook, then I think you made a good choice.

    Now don't get me wrong. Facebook is fantastic as both a product and a company. You can connect with people that you haven’t seen for years as a consumer, and as an employee have free meals provided for you. Either way, it’s a win. I just wonder if anyone who works there truly feels like they have created and/or are helping build a revolutionary product.

    Again, these are just thoughts. I would love hear yours.

    2 points
    • Tom WoodTom Wood, almost 10 years ago

      I like your post and your suggestion, but I would counter that it isn't just about FB - this is the case in many places.

      I worked as a developer & designer in the DVD and Blu-ray industry for 8 years and this was a problem there too.

      Scroll to the comment on this thread about education - same feeling.

      The "grass is greener" effect is essential to our development as humans, perhaps if we perceived all the grass to be the same shade of burnt-out brown then we'd never strive to change.

      1 point
    • Sabrina MajeedSabrina Majeed, almost 10 years ago

      I think it's more than just Facebook or other companies of that scale. I've experienced this at the last two startups I worked at, which pretty much put a nail in the coffin to the lure of the free-wheeling startup lifestyle for me. Younger startups probably face more pressure from investors (such as in the article's metaphor) because they have yet to prove they can take their own risks and get away with it.

      On the flip side, I get it. What we might think is high quality work might not 'sell' as fast or as much as the people running a business would like. While I do think designers play the long game when they focus on high quality work, sometimes that's not what a particular company or business needs right now.

      0 points
      • charles riccardicharles riccardi, almost 10 years ago

        Sure. I guess the point I'm making is that no matter what company you're at (even if you're doing high quality work there, and the benefits are insanely great) that you won't stick around if you're not passionate about (and can't align with) company vision or purpose of the product.

        Also, not all small start up companies are the same. Come check out Highfive some time. Seriously, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

        0 points
        • Sabrina MajeedSabrina Majeed, almost 10 years ago

          Sorry, didn't mean to imply that all small startups are bad. There are definitely a lot of well organized, functional companies of a small scale (Makeshift is one I admire). I think I just have had bad luck at picking them or the environment just isn't for me. Is Highfive in SF? I'm going to be out there in a few weeks :)

          Totally agree though with not aligning to the company vision. I think we (generally speaking) also take for granted how natural it is to change you feel about a company. Especially when you're young, the type of problems you want to solve at 22 are different than how you may feel at 25. Likewise, companies change a lot as they grow too.

          0 points