Getting back into design if I jump out for a year

Hi everyone,

I’ve been working for a tech start-up for the past 6 months, and I’ve found out in the past few days that they’ve lost their financing and are essentially collapsing. The location I’m in is currently dry in terms of design roles, and I’m not immediately able to pick up my life and move. I’ve been scrambling together what I can, and my current options are a pure project management role not related to design, at slightly more than my current salary, or a mostly design based role with a significant pay cut.

If I was to take the project management role, and jump out of design for a year or so, does anyone see any issues in getting back in again provided that I keep my skills sharp with personal projects? I think the pm skills would carry over to product design in the future, but my current concern is the risk of not having any professional design work to show for at least 12 months.

PM, as ID, is a part of the NPD process. As long as you are contributing to the launch or kill of a product, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

PS. I feel like such an asshole using those acronyms.

Agree here, if anything the PM role might make you more valuable as an industrial designer. As long as you kept your skills up I would see it as a positive… unless the ID role was something really high profile, I think the PM role might be better than more experience in the same vein at a lower pay. You could always do a little ID freelance on the side to keep the skills sharp and maybe there will even be opportunities to design in the PM role?

Good to hear on both accounts.

I am leaning towards the project role right now. It’s also a per project contract, so I can change after a year if I wanted without the normal issues with leaving so quickly. There would at least be a lot of problem solving thoughout the job and I think this would be more beneficial long term, both financially and from extra skills.

Freelance is definitely being considered. It would be good to have at least one or two client projects.

I would take the PM role, it’s great to get some management experience under your belt, designer or not. However, you will be surprised how fast your efficiency with Design skills fade will if you don’t use them. You will remember the principles of design but it can take some time to become fast again.