To begin with, I’ve been playing the design game for many years. Maybe so many that if I told you you would immediately assume that I was certainly so old I must be brain dead and incapable of giving good advice. Could be. Maybe so. I’ve done corporate, consulting, freelance (aka could not find a job for a lllooonnnggg time), and management.
When I was in design school I was CONVINCED that the world would fling its arms wide open when I approached it for work, exclaiming “Thank God, you’re finally here - we’ve been waiting for you, you’re just the man we need, what a perfect education”. Didn’t happen for me. Ain’t gonna happen. Probably won’t happen for 99% of the design gradutes, maybe all. It is usually more like “Industrial Design …what IS that?” or some similarly confused response.
Ask yourself a few questions. WHere do I want to live? What sort of things do I want to design? Do I like design because of some romantic notion about being famous or do I really want to have a hand at making something better? How important is money? (If you already have it the world is entirely different than if you do not, you likely already know this.)
If you want to live in a “design hotspot” that is a significant advantage (in europe even moderately talented designers are often elevated to celebrity status). If you like living in a large city that would probably be a plus.
Is there a real market for people to design the stuff you want to work with in the place you want to live? If not, can you adapt to environment or work you don’t really like and thrive?
Is it fame you seek? You might want to look elsewhere. It is not impossible for an Industrial Designer to be famous, but (barring Europe) it is unlikely. (Of course, you might have the pleasure of walking into a department store and seeing your work being sold to the public - not bad for the ego.)
If you want to make a “contribution to mankind” it is possible in Design. If you really want to make a difference in this way consider leaning toward biomedical work. Iraq will create a demand for lots of prostetic devices for years to come. Somebody has to do the design work.
If monetary security, buying a house, going on vacation, having nice things (like being able to AFFORD the things you are taught to design and appreciate) are all of interest to you be careful. THere are SOME who have become famously wealthy in Industrial Design. LOTS who have not. THose who made it would probably have done so in any field. It is a matter of drive and ambition. (BTW, the ones who generally REALLY make it are typically, but not necessarily, self-employed and WORK REALLY HARD.)
I believe that if you are really driven and are COMPLETELY willing to make the necessary sacrifices you can certainly make it in Industrial Design. If you have the LEAST BIT of apprehension about self-less dedication do yourself a BIG favor and RUN, don’t walk, AWAY from Industrial Design.