Close

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby MThompson » February 1st, 2017, 11:22 pm


MThompson
 
Posts: 13
Joined: December 13th, 2016, 12:18 am
Cyberdemon wrote:Finding skills that are in demand is one thing, finding work that you find challenging and rewarding is also valuable, even if you aren't necessarily in love with the specific work. I enjoy the challenges of helping to manage a business, and on my life long path I'd rather end up a C-level employee than stay in the trenches and just execute on design work all day.

If you have the time you can certainly try to take on personal projects to try and see what kinds of things you might like to do. I have friends who have quit their jobs to go off and just build one off furniture pieces, start a pig farm, start a bar, build custom motorcycles, etc. All of those things started off as potential hobbies that evolved into full time gigs. Sometimes even just looking at your local area and saying "Man, this town would be great if we had XYZ" is a good place to start if you're willing to take the risk. Designing your own collateral for a business is a great way of designing something that means a lot to you and learn along the way, even if the designing part is just part of the journey.


Good point - I'd much rather have work that I find rewarding these days, regardless of much I get paid as long as I have roof over my head and maybe I can afford to a little hobby or two.

There are definitely some things I'd like to explore on the creative side besides design. I'm learning to code now, so we'll see how that goes. So I know you mentioned your one friend maxed out credit cards in order to start a bike shop. Every time I hear of someone doing something like I wonder if they had anything to fall back on, in case things went wrong? A spouse that worked, savings, parents etc or did they just completely put everything on the line and risk total and complete failure. If you have a safety net, its easier to make the jump.

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby Mr-914 » February 2nd, 2017, 7:54 am

User avatar

Mr-914
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 5743
Joined: January 12th, 2004, 7:44 am
Location: Montréal, QC
I find entrepreneurs are like gamblers. Consider Bob Voulgaris:

He bet his entire life savings ($70,000) on a 6.5-1 bet that would take over six months to decide. Then he waited. Six months later, after many nights of eating ramen noodles, many days of slinging luggage, and a 15 point deficit in the 4th quarter of game 7 against Portland, the Lakers were crowned NBA champions, and Haralabos Voulgaris had a half a million dollars.


I would never be comfortable betting my life savings on anything. Even my own skills and ideas. Some people can do it repeatedly on things that are further and further from their control or ability to analyze. I don't think it's a virtue or disability, it's just different.
Ray Jepson

"The key to success in this business is to find a boss who doesn't care." - Mike Rowe

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby Cyberdemon » February 2nd, 2017, 9:04 am

User avatar

Cyberdemon
full self-realization
full self-realization
 
Posts: 3260
Joined: February 7th, 2006, 11:51 pm
Location: New York
Yeah in this case he bet it all. Now the initial investment was probably closer to $50-100k, and I'm not sure what his backup contingencies were (most of that was investment in physical product, which always has a certain level of resale value).

Some people will say "you can always go BACK to insurance" I'm sure with many years of experience you could always find another job doing what you do now if your new plan fell through - you're the only one who has to sleep at night with that decision.

I took the risk gamble by leaving a comfortable corporate job and moving to a startup. I figured this is the time to do it, not in a few years when I'm trying to start a family. We'll see in a few months/years how that pays off.

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby yo » February 2nd, 2017, 12:17 pm

User avatar

yo
Administration
Administration
 
Posts: 16108
Joined: January 5th, 2004, 6:57 pm
Location: SoCal
A Petrolicious piece about someone who went back to school for design later in life after buying a DeLorean... I think the primary driver here is going to be deep inside do you feel you have to do this! if yes, then you have to decide how you want to do it. My friend who owns Icon, Jonathan Ward, is not trained as a designer, but is he one? I'd argue he is. But he also founded his own company that works around the way he works.


Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby Ross McCoy » February 2nd, 2017, 1:22 pm

User avatar

Ross McCoy
step four
step four
 
Posts: 402
Joined: July 15th, 2009, 2:07 am
Location: CT
I can relate to this topic more than I care to admit. I'll be turning 36 in a week and I have never been so unhappy in my current career path. I'm currently working as a project coordinator for an architecture firm where I manage the production of our project drawing sets, coordinate everything with our consultants and work directly with the clients to do their projects. I have the most responsibilities and more pay then at any other point in my career. I'm also engaged in educating students about the industry in my spare time, but no matter what I do I'm just finding my current career path incredibly unfulfilling.

So where I stand now I figure I have a few different options to consider. I either need to go back to school and get another Master's or PhD to change careers. I could transition to a different market sector that may or may not provide better project types or opportunities. I could go out on my own and start going after the projects I really want. Or I could work towards starting a home goods company that I've had interest in for years. Becoming a full time educator/writer/researcher also has some appeal. I'm weighing the pros and cons of all of this and I'm still not sure what I should do. Ultimately my strongest desire is to make cool sh*t and continually grow as a designer/educator/business person. So how do I get there while providing a sustainable career and manage to be happy doing what I do?

If I had a great answer for you I'd gladly give some better advice. For now, just know there are others out there considering some of the same options.

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby yo » February 2nd, 2017, 2:31 pm

User avatar

yo
Administration
Administration
 
Posts: 16108
Joined: January 5th, 2004, 6:57 pm
Location: SoCal
Ross, sounds like you know what you want to do, the challenge is doing it. Please do not read any snark into that, I have total empathy for how hard it is. A friend of mine asked me last night why I don't start my own design consulting firm... I don't have a great answer. What I know id that everyone I've ever talked to who has gone out and did the thing they wanted to do seems to not regret it, regardless of the level of success.

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby Ross McCoy » February 2nd, 2017, 5:29 pm

User avatar

Ross McCoy
step four
step four
 
Posts: 402
Joined: July 15th, 2009, 2:07 am
Location: CT
yo wrote:Ross, sounds like you know what you want to do, the challenge is doing it. Please do not read any snark into that, I have total empathy for how hard it is. A friend of mine asked me last night why I don't start my own design consulting firm... I don't have a great answer. What I know id that everyone I've ever talked to who has gone out and did the thing they wanted to do seems to not regret it, regardless of the level of success.


No snark read into that at all. :D

I was a co-lecturer yesterday where we discussed entrepreneurship in the design world. The girl I teamed up with runs a small company that designs/builds chicken footstools. Pretty interesting story for her stuff.

http://thecitygirlfarm.com/

Definitely worth checking out. She has a pretty fun story with her stuff. Kind of makes me want to toss my hand in and get something going.

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby MThompson » February 3rd, 2017, 12:48 am


MThompson
 
Posts: 13
Joined: December 13th, 2016, 12:18 am
Mr-914 wrote:I find entrepreneurs are like gamblers. Consider Bob Voulgaris:

He bet his entire life savings ($70,000) on a 6.5-1 bet that would take over six months to decide. Then he waited. Six months later, after many nights of eating ramen noodles, many days of slinging luggage, and a 15 point deficit in the 4th quarter of game 7 against Portland, the Lakers were crowned NBA champions, and Haralabos Voulgaris had a half a million dollars.


I would never be comfortable betting my life savings on anything. Even my own skills and ideas. Some people can do it repeatedly on things that are further and further from their control or ability to analyze. I don't think it's a virtue or disability, it's just different.


I've considered myself a gambler/risk taker, although when I do its usually calculated. For me, now is the time to put up or shut up. Not getting any younger. Never heard of that guy Voulgaris but reading about him now, interesting story.

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby MThompson » February 3rd, 2017, 12:54 am


MThompson
 
Posts: 13
Joined: December 13th, 2016, 12:18 am
Cyberdemon wrote:Yeah in this case he bet it all. Now the initial investment was probably closer to $50-100k, and I'm not sure what his backup contingencies were (most of that was investment in physical product, which always has a certain level of resale value).

Some people will say "you can always go BACK to insurance" I'm sure with many years of experience you could always find another job doing what you do now if your new plan fell through - you're the only one who has to sleep at night with that decision.

I took the risk gamble by leaving a comfortable corporate job and moving to a startup. I figured this is the time to do it, not in a few years when I'm trying to start a family. We'll see in a few months/years how that pays off.


You're absolutely right on that one, I can always go back into insurance. No problem. So I guess that's my safety net at this point, begrudgingly hahahah.

Time will tell but I think you made the right move dude.

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby MThompson » February 3rd, 2017, 1:01 am


MThompson
 
Posts: 13
Joined: December 13th, 2016, 12:18 am
yo wrote:A Petrolicious piece about someone who went back to school for design later in life after buying a DeLorean... I think the primary driver here is going to be deep inside do you feel you have to do this! if yes, then you have to decide how you want to do it. My friend who owns Icon, Jonathan Ward, is not trained as a designer, but is he one? I'd argue he is. But he also founded his own company that works around the way he works.


Thanks for sharing that. Goes to show you're never too old to pursue your passion. Mid 40's and enrolled as a student at Art Center. Definitely some inspiration.

Yea! I'd say for sure Mr. Ward is a designer. That's a friend of your's? Wow. Can I get a discount on the Bronco?? I love the vehicles he turns out, absolutely amazing.

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby MThompson » February 3rd, 2017, 1:11 am


MThompson
 
Posts: 13
Joined: December 13th, 2016, 12:18 am
Ross McCoy wrote:I can relate to this topic more than I care to admit. I'll be turning 36 in a week and I have never been so unhappy in my current career path. I'm currently working as a project coordinator for an architecture firm where I manage the production of our project drawing sets, coordinate everything with our consultants and work directly with the clients to do their projects. I have the most responsibilities and more pay then at any other point in my career. I'm also engaged in educating students about the industry in my spare time, but no matter what I do I'm just finding my current career path incredibly unfulfilling.

So where I stand now I figure I have a few different options to consider. I either need to go back to school and get another Master's or PhD to change careers. I could transition to a different market sector that may or may not provide better project types or opportunities. I could go out on my own and start going after the projects I really want. Or I could work towards starting a home goods company that I've had interest in for years. Becoming a full time educator/writer/researcher also has some appeal. I'm weighing the pros and cons of all of this and I'm still not sure what I should do. Ultimately my strongest desire is to make cool sh*t and continually grow as a designer/educator/business person. So how do I get there while providing a sustainable career and manage to be happy doing what I do?

If I had a great answer for you I'd gladly give some better advice. For now, just know there are others out there considering some of the same options.


Ross - thanks for sharing your story man. I probably should show more gratitude and not say this but recently I've been hoping to get fired! That's where I'm at currently with my job. I really do consider it a job in every sense. Definitely not a career that I want to be in. So we're in the same boat and I figure even if we don't have the answer we can at least bounce ideas off of each other and contribute that way. The answer will be different for all of us of course but I really like hearing what others have to say, soaking it up like a sponge and then make an informed decision.

I think with your skill set the door is wide open for whatever you consider! I mean everyone that has contributed in this thread has an amazing portfolio of work. I have a long way to go! I really don't have much to show at this point but that will change.

You could start that home goods company on the side and then build it up to a level where you can transition into it full time.

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby design61 » February 3rd, 2017, 2:06 pm


design61
step one
step one
 
Posts: 29
Joined: January 20th, 2004, 3:04 pm
I went to College (CCS, full time) for the first time when I was 32, I was 36 when I graduated. I was married, had a small farm and a two hour one way drive to school. I wanted it bad enough that I got up at 4:30 am to feed the animals, then made that drive twice a day for four years. It was rough, my wife thinks the school is really a cult, (because we disappear for 4 years, talk in an odd designer language and dress funny). It was a huge hit on us financially, my school worked suffered because of the 4 hours a day I spent driving, I dropped out of the transportation design program, into product design in the second semester of my junior year because of it. It has not been a perfect career, but if I had not done it I would be constantly telling myself I should of done it.

But, it paid off, I was hired before I graduated, I have started three internal design studios over my career, am the senior ID for global innovation at my current job (started their design studio too) and even get to design some concept car lighting on the side. I love what I do, I like going to work and don't want to do anything else. I realize this post is all about me, not really any good advice, I just wanted you to know there are others out there that were in your position. If you want your life to change, you have to do something you have never done before.

Only you can decide how bad you want it, and if you go for it, make the commitment in full!

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby yo » February 3rd, 2017, 11:05 pm

User avatar

yo
Administration
Administration
 
Posts: 16108
Joined: January 5th, 2004, 6:57 pm
Location: SoCal
Wow, great background story design61!

Re: Pursuing a career in design at 36...

Postby MThompson » February 6th, 2017, 1:21 am


MThompson
 
Posts: 13
Joined: December 13th, 2016, 12:18 am
Your story is absolutely inspiring Design61, thanks for sharing it.

Previous

Return to general design discussion