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Friday 06|15|01
Moving Forward

If you are interested in managing your career and especially if you are a woman - I highly recommend Be Your Own Mentor: Strategies from Top Women on the Secrets of Success. It is filled with tips, strategies and advice on managing your own career. The book includes hundreds of quotes and anecdotes from many top female leaders out there including Ellen Hancock, Exodus; Anne Mulcahy, president and COO of Xerox Corporation and others. I have been working on my longer term career goals and this book was recommended to me. (It is good for guys too, but many of them get a lot this advice through the "old boys" network and much advice about dealing with the guilt of working with children is not necessarily as applicable.)

The act of thinking about my career goals has really made me stop and think about the path I have already travelled and the path I want to continue on. In school you are working hard to pull together that portfolio that will get you that first job. But they don't tell you much about what to do after that. After Grad school I had a clearer vision about the path - out of advertising art direction and into UI design - making applications and software. But what does that mean? Consulting? Working in-house? Running my own firm? What are the right steps to move out of individual contribution and into design management and is that the right path?

These are really important questions designers (of all disciplines) should ask themselves. I know I just serendipitously moved from one job to another - always looking for something interesting to work on. That is fine for awhile and may be fine forever for some. But I found myself wanting more. Wanting to lead and be in charge and I eventually began managing a team. I found I really liked mentoring other designers and directing projects. I had not planned this but there I was.

I have been writing down goals - both personal and professional - and believe they will help clarify some of the ambiguity. I still want surprises and still want to be able to change my mind but it has made me realize how I need to shape my interests and career direction. I have collected a few books on managing that have come in handy as well. Leading with Soul is a small book of insights. First Break All the Rules has a lot of interviews with managers who buck the system to lead successfully. Orbiting the Giant Hairball is a nice light insight into surviving corporate culture and staying creative. Written by the creative director at Hallmark, I found this one really interesting and useful to keeping perspective. I gave this to all my team members last year.

I would love to know how others in the design field (UI, IA, Graphic Design) have made the transition into managing other designers or even moving into higher corporate positions or running a firm where other disciplines report to you. Was it difficult? What about the desire to keep creating/designing as an individual contributor? What kinds of business info or education was helpful? Who helped you?

Posted by erin at 12:06 AM | in Books

Comments

Here's a book my girlfriend picked up at a women in technology conference: The Shadow Negotiation : How Women Can Master the Hidden Agendas That Determine Bargaining Success. It takes a brutally honest non-PC approach to the issues, proposes realistic approaches to handling them, and narrates real life examples. I don't have an amazon referal set up, just passing along a must read.

Posted by Nils Devine at June 19, 2001 06:03 AM
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