fresh grad in senior role in SME...

Hi All,

I currently work for a SME (small to medium enterprise) in London they are a very flat company which started from an R&D team. They are so flat that you can do anything you want…sometimes a good thing sometimes bad. They are full of boffins and geeks but no real managers or designers. They are also expanding extremely quickly gone from 30 to 45+ employees since I started 10 months ago.

I graduated last year with 18months experience through my placement year among things…but still fairly fresh.

When I started I’ve was given a huge responsibility to bring a product to market over a very short lead time. The thing is no one there is a senior designer as such so I had no one to guide me in the right direction. Nor was there a clearly defined brief or project leader. I just assumed I was and it got me in to trouble a few times. There were internal resources such as electronics engineers and programmers to do stuff as well, but I had never had such resources so didn’t know how to play it.

In the end we just stumbled through the design process and got something out there. But I really feel I’ve become worse then when I was at uni and have not progressed in what I thought I would. I’m also getting really frustrated by the “Its always been this way and it always will” mentality. Everything I do I want to strive for better, wether it be the process of the new product development or a particular part I’m working on. But no one around me does.

Has anyone one else been in my position or do any of the more experienced design have some words of wisdom to share.

I was in the same boat at one point. The company I worked for was by no means a design based / oriented / motivated to be blunt. We had 3 designers, 1 graphic + 2 product. The higher ups had no idea what we did they just wanted it now and fast. This left little to no time to research and develope.

If I were you I would start searching for firms that interest you and begin the sending process.

Trouble is apart rom there aparent lack of management, I get to design uber high end kit which retails for £25,000+ and have a open budget to play with.

Sounds like you have a lot of freedom, which I think you should enjoy! Daunting perhaps, but will be great for you.

Doesn;t sound so bad, provided there is some structure to it all?!?

i’m in the same situation as you.
only diff is that im’ the only product designer here together with 2 technicians who know heaps about the products we develop but they don’t have the engineering capabilities.
i think the freedom is scary.
at the same time, there’s so much opportunity.
i, too, get the same “its always been this way so it’ll stay this way” mentality.
but thats not why we were hired.
remember what we are in the company for. to further the products. to push the innovation limits of what is existing now.

i think this is what is keeping me going.
nothing is totally set up yet in my department.
i don’t even have my own hardware/software yet.

but its good exposure if your boss gives you the chance to look into every part of the big picture from concept to design to manufacture to how the product is going to go onto the market.

hope this helps mate.