originally posted 11.24.09 on elisabethhubert.com
Over the last year, I have learned a lot about what it means to be
an independent worker. Mostly it means that you are never satisfied
with the project you are on, and that you are continuously looking for
new challenges to sink your teeth into. During this past year, I’ve
done a lot of reflecting on what types of challenges I want to take on,
and have talked to others about this topic at length. It feels like, as
a design community, we are always looking for the same big challenges.
Working for ABC because they did this campaign, working for XYZ because
they did this talk at this conference, working with DEF because only
the best designers work there. Talking with my peer review group a
couple of weeks ago I found myself asking, are we a profession that is
obsessed with reputation? We are always talking about innovation and
creativity, yet the majority of us want to work at ABC for the same
reasons. How, then, do we expect to foster the principles of change
that we all speak of?
What am I trying to get at? I’m asking you as UX professionals
to tell me the advantages that you see working for the big guys? What
products have they produced that are more fun & challenging that
Joe Smoe’s website start up? For me, I’m really beginning to think how
much of it is what these companies/agencies produce and how much is
just for the reputation that they have? We follow these guys like
they’re rockstars and we’re the groupies… “John from DEF is speaking at
yadda yadda (some UX designer faints from excitement)”, but how
different is the work that you are or could be doing for someone that
can’t afford to hire DEF? Isn’t it time for our community to expand
beyond the big names, isn’t it time for us to start to create different
big names and great ideas??
All this being said I know that we are all doing really great work
that is creative and helpful in our careers, but my question is would
you trade all that work to go to a giant agency? And if so, is it
because you will learn more & solve great problems, or is it
because of their reputation? I’m definitely starting to lean the other
way myself, but that’s not to say I’m not also guilty of being a
groupie. What it means is I’ve start asking myself these questions and
determining where I want my career to go, and what types of challenges
I want to entertain in my future.
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them!