Professors have ways of sharing wisdom “nuggets.” Sometimes it’s a clear directive, other times you “suffer” through a lengthy diatribe or it’s an overheard aside mumbled in the middle of some other point.
This particular aside struck me as odd, but fitting: “You have to have an ego to be a designer, a successful one anyway. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have an ego.”
I’m not even sure what the professor was saying or doing at the time, but I felt so sure this didn’t apply to me. I’m not exactly dripping with confidence. The working world up to this point has trained me to be deferential and political – that’s what you in a room of executives and directors. And I know that I’m no “rockstar” designer.
But, I did make this crazy decision to move away from home to a city several times larger in a different time zone. I did so with the plan to quit working and take out more loans than is responsible in my present, unemployed condition. I’m paying for the privilege to get my butt kicked by projects that need three times as much time as we’re actually given, doing stuff that I have no idea how to do with minimal guidance working under the guise that I’ll “figure it out eventually.”
Now that I think about it, I guess I had to have some kind of ego to think I could do all of this. I came to Chicago looking for answers to the big design “whys” and I thought I deserved to find out the answers. I guess that’s kinda ballsy. I’m also assuming that in two years time, some company will pay me to figure out this stuff for them, guiding their capital towards goals and insights I’ve laid out for them. Yeah, I guess that calls for an ego – at least a little one.
I’m entering an interesting life phase and I’m learning a lot of things that I need to deal with. While I figure this out, I’d like to challenge myself to summarize it in 500 words or less for public consumption. Heck, I should write less than that. I’m can probably do it with some focus.
Confidence in completion? Confidence in my future? Maybe I do have an ego, since I’m already here.