It came up on Designer News earlier this week and I thought it’d be good to think about, and get writing. Even if you aren’t actually looking for a new gig, it’s always important to know what it is you want, or at least have a general idea of what you might want. There’s an easy answer to this question, and one that requires more than just a one word answer.
What’s most important? Well, you are probably not doing this for free, and you’ve got to pay the bills, so it’s safe to say that salary is one of the most important things. Although this is the easy answer, there’s a lot more to answering this question, and for the most part it comes down to a few things.
- Is this an interesting place to work? Whether it’s an agency, a small shop, an in-house, or a huge internet company, it’s really important to gauge your interest with the idea that the work will continue to be interesting throughout the time that you spend working for them. Without that it’s not fun, and then the salary doesn’t mean much.
Will this be a step up the ladder of success, or will it connect me with new opportunities? Whether or not you’ll have any upward mobility is of matter to me. Understanding the career path, and giving yourself something to work towards gives me a more clear idea of what I need to do, and something to actually strive for. This may or may not be important to others, but it is to me.
Do I get to help make people’s lives better in a significant way? This is particularly interesting to me because as a designer, I am a problem solver. I want to lock horns with difficult problems, I want to conquer them, and I want to help people in any way that I can. I think that’s tantamount with user centered design, and I think it’s important.
Will I get to grow? I think it’s important to recognize whether or not your current gig, or a future one is allowing you to grow. This could be access to mentorship or being surrounded by other designers that you can learn from or being challenged, and pushing through walls.
Other things I’d consider, the culture, is it a collaborative, supportive, learning organization, what is the commute like, is the job flexible, how long is the company going to be around, how well are they funded, what is the level of transparency? All these factor into choosing the right place for you. I think if you can answer in the positive column around all of these pillars you are in great shape for your next challenge.