Core etiquette notwithstanding, no one has assasinated the Anonymous Guest asking for career change advice. I come from the school of hard knocks in more ways than one and always encourage especially younger designers to take a chance on a change of scenery and consider it “professional travel”. Who says passion and money don’t go hand in hand - they almost always do. In times when so many talented designers are out of work or severely under-employed, reading the initial posting sounds like someone asking whether to get the leather shift stick on his new Z3 or not. Everyone is happy for the guy (and, yes, do go for a new preofessional experience like cg says), but personal worries like these from a senior designer are very low priority in my book. It’s not like the poor guy is starving under a bridge or something.
Clearly, some individuals here have delicate skin and are quick to jump anyone outside their self-protective mindset. One major reason to frequent these boards, or read anything for this matter, is to hear and be confronted by opinions and life experiences other than yours, otherwise what’s to be gained? Each of us here speaks from his own livings, professional and otherwise. I happen to believe we can do a lot more to open up business and industry in ways more meaningful than the tired drivel in most media about design that hasn’t led to significant employment gains for product designers. At least not in America.
My comments may be harsh at times but so is the business world we’re evolving in and it is not getting friendlier either. A capacity to withstand and capitalize on risk will become even more crucial for designers, whether they remain employed or run their consulting or manufacturing firms. I cringe whenever - as in this case - I come across people looking to get the maximum financial safety out of a product design career, of all things. The competition in this field is far too intense to sit on your laurels, at least if you want to stay on the creative side of things. Design management adds a good measure of financial security to your life but you cannot claim to have the same creative license up in the boardrooms.
In the end it is all a matter of individual choice. I don’t believe anyone here is in search of some absolute universal truth about what we do. I certainly take things as they come and try to understand the long-term trends as they develop while still bringing home the bread on a daily basis. What human being does not look for security? Paradoxically, in design as all creative professions, a good measure of financial security is derived from the constant insecurity of repeatedly jumping into the unknown, something we all do every day. Our work is all about creative risk-taking or else employers and clients would see no value in what we do. With experience, what happens is that you start being right a lot more often than not, building value and profit for others as you go along.
Creative people thrive on critical thinking and by nature contest the status quo, making them a pain for the more linear types out there who value comfort above progress. You better hope to have around you more people who disagree with you than not. It is your only chance to challenge your preconceptions and grow.
As for taking potshots, looking people down, being a snob, naahh, not my nature really but I enjoy “pinching bottoms” once in a while for effect and social research purposes. And some reactions here actually proved my points. Maybe those offended by my “haughty” (yes, in the dictionary) remarks just need a good cold beer and a sense of humor.