I fell into my career in design by circumstance and fortune, and certainly had no great plans to be doing what I’m doing now when it all started. My education was all geared towards fieldwork, language study, and sustainable development. I figured that eventually my path would lead me back into the university life as a professor. Yet here I sit drawing and making things look pretty on a daily basis.
Let me be clear on this point: I love my job. I would not be doing what I do if I didn’t love it. That’s just how I’m built. I’m not someone who can do the mundane droning jobs and find happiness and satisfaction. I paid my dues working those kinds of jobs when I was younger, and put myself in a position to (hopefully) avoid going back – you never know, life’s a trip and filled with surprises and unexpected turns and twists.
But right now, I wonder regularly if my efforts are actually making anyone’s life better. Does my job improve the world, take away from it, or as a third option, does it have a significant effect either way? I think I’m sitting in the third seat right now, just whiling my time away making things function. Of course I’m learning skills, honing my tools (take it easy dirty birds), and hopefully fostering the different talent I work with on the daily.
However, I am filled with a sincere passion for affecting change, and when that variable enters the equation, I can’t help but wonder whether I’m where I should be. No regrets though, for sure.
Honestly, ten years ago, I figured I’d be living in East Africa (or at least spending all sabbaticals there) studying/teaching. I have sketches for rainwater catchment systems and village planning diagrams that (I think) could actually help people live better lives.
Today’s not the day to make the change, for certain – I have a wife and three kids (two of which are very young) – but knowing that the fire is still burning is what’s important. Maybe I need to be sharing ideas at this point, and maybe the right opportunity will present itself. Hmm, what do you think?