You see, here is the thing, you don't know that you don't know. That is OK, it is exactly how you should be, your only experience in design is what, 3-4 years in an academic setting and a few months on internship maybe?
sadahkeem wrote:The company is a few decades old, but so far has been very function, business, and engineering-oriented, and they wanted to "s3x" their products and start taking some risks and innovate
They want to take some risks, but they don't want to invest in an experienced design director and a design team, but instead only a fresh grad? This would be the first red flag to me. Sounds like they want to feel like they are taking risks without really taking much of a risk.
sadahkeem wrote:I just talked to some friends who had worked at the NYC company, one of them who had the exact position I was vying for, and the reviews weren't too good and they were pretty miserable (aka quit).
In the parlance of our times it is called paying your dues. Often the first job is not about glamour, it is about getting into a situation where you can continue to learn, contribute, and leverage that in a few years when you are ready to move on... then you can work for the guys with no design team, because you will know how to do it.
I know it is tempting. A few years ago a major European consumer electronics company asked me to consider being VP of design. VP at 33! Very, very tempting. I asked them a lot of questions, questions they had not thought of in terms of how I would be judged, the kind of team I could build, the reporting structure.... and after weeks of agonizing I decided not to do it. I understood that I did not know enough, that I wasn't done working at my level, and that a similar opportunity would present itself when the time was right.