Looking for career advice

Hi Guys

I’m looking for some career guidance on some decisions I need to make soon. I’m a recent grad who is coming up on working almost two years at an in house design agency at a large corporation. It’s been an amazing experience, I’ve learned quite a bit and have had the opportunity to grow and have gained respect and responsibility in a very short amount of time. Yet, for a variety of reasons, I’ve decided to explore other opportunities that are out there.

The problem I have is, due to working corporate design and the long product life cycles, I don’t have any products out in the market that I can add to my portfolio and show to potential employers. So essentially all I have with my portfolio, is work from my time in school. I have one product, that is in development and won’t be released till late next year and another one that will be released 2 yrs from now. A coworker of mine said it would be okay to show early development sketches/models, but only in person and not any final designs. I know this is a really sketchy topic since it involves confidentiality and I definitely don’t want to do anything to hurt my current employer or make me look bad.

Any advice you guys might have would be greatly appreciated.

You could probably do some personal projects on the side that showcase the skills you have learned/improved during your 2 years at your current employer. And probably include a note that you can’t show your complete current work for confidentiality reasons.

Thanks GHoge.

Definitely something I’ve been trying to do - the main problem is finding the time for it. I’m working on 3 different projects which take up days/nights and weekends. Usually any spare time I get, I just step away from anything design related just so I can recharge and hopefully not burn out. If anything, I know I have a good problem to have. I have a job that is at a good company, pays well and has a steady flow of projects work on - I’m just looking for a new challenge now.

But you’re right - doing personal projects is probably my best option at this point.

I’d wait until the first one releases. 2 years is not that long in your first job. I’d push for 3 years.

This will always be a problem. If its not a huge workload, it spending time with your family, or a sports team, or a training schedule, or a TV series, basically some other commitment.

When your willing to give up your free time to work on your portfolio. That’s when you’ll be motivated enough to go to get the new job you want. Right now your want to leave and go somewhere new, doesn’t outweigh your comfort level.

You’re gonna have to do those side projects, or wait until you can show all the hard work you’ve done the past few years at work.

I agree with Yo.

Stick it out until at least one product is released.


You are at a point in your early career where your formal education does not prepare you for typically. Burnout is of immense importance in the first 5 years of any young designer’s career.

Those side projects can be the trigger for early career burnout so be careful on the size and ambition of such side project. Be weary of using too much company resource to accomplish these projects as well. If you manager’s manager find out that this is going on, it can create tension in the board room of especially small and medium sized firms.

It really depends on your firm’s development/launch cycle time whether you choose to leave mid project or waiting until you see it through to it is shipping. Any good experienced hiring manager knows how this works and can discern from your school project portfolio and what documented efforts you show from your current position. Documentation during the first 5 years of your career is of immense importance. Don’t wait to document your work as you not only need to be ready to jump at the next opportunity, but you need to witness how your process is changing so that you can articulate it in your next interview.

Good luck…