Last week I was promoted to Senior Product Designer and so I should feel safe in the knowledge that, yes, I am doing good work. I am on track. Success. Next.
But I can’t celebrate just yet because all I see are my flaws; the half-baked ideas and sketches, the designs that went nowhere, the rambling and incoherent thoughts in docs and Figjams and notepads. The bad writing. The problems I’ve caused in our interface. Oh, the problems!
There is just so much work left to do, so many skills that require more time and discipline.
Perhaps I’m being too critical of myself though. And I guess that has something to do with meeting countless Senior Product Designers in the past who are not worthy of the title. Our field is full of quasi-famous twitter folk with nothing to show for it and there’s so many kids fresh out of college who are Principal Designer or the Head of Design, blessed with attention and eyeballs and hauling unimaginably tall mountains of cash behind them. But when you get down to it, when you sit with them and ask them how something works or try to get their attention for even a moment, they baulk. They can’t focus, they’re not in the room to make decisions or push things forward. They want calendar invites and meeting after meeting after meeting...
Because of this experience, I’m deeply cynical about titles of any kind. So I guess I feel somehow beyond, and also don’t feel worthy of, the title “senior product designer.” I mean, c’mon, I’m 31 years old! How the hell can I be a senior anything at this point in my life? If I was chef in the restaurant of Jiro Dreams of Sushi then I would have just progressed to the stage where I’m only now allowed to hold the eggs.
But I am scared of the eggs! I am terrified of the eggs!