I Want A Job That Doesn’t Exist Yet


Sometimes a song, a piece of art, or an event reminds you to stay on your toes. Just as you’re getting comfortable with the way things are, the world changes again and makes sure you’re paying attention. Most recently, a short speech delivered the wake up call for me. During the Design Communication course I teach at the University of Cincinnati, I asked the students to deliver a PechaKucha presentation (20 slides, 20 seconds each) about who they are and what led them to pursue a career in design. A few presentations in, one of my students made the announcement:

I want a job that doesn’t exist yet.

Suddenly, I remembered the probability of a future that I couldn’t envision myself. Excited and a little scared, I wrote the quote down and considered what it might mean to me. Certainly, there are always jobs being created, while others are going away. I challenged myself to think about what design jobs will exist ten years from now. What new type of designer might emerge as an important part of product development? For my student, it was a job using industrial design in permaculture. For me, that role is in subconscious design, a combination of cognitive psychology and industrial design skills. Industrial design, since its inception, has tested the conscious mind with its persuasive forms and ideas. Not until recently have we started to realize the power of the subconscious in communicating ideas to users. Sure, there are ethical considerations that would need to be made. However, I believe the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, and I’ll welcome this new type of designer to my team when the time is right. Who knows, it might even be me.

Stay sharp and keep your mind open. What new role might you have in 10 years?

Painting by Diane Hay.

Article Info
Posted by: Michael Roller
Thinking About: Culture / Design / Product
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Website: http://michaelroller.com/
Twitter: rollermt
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