When we think of career paths we might think of a linear, incremental line steadily progressing as we’re improving a little bit every day. But oftentimes progress is not linear. Sometimes you hit a plateau and stagnate, other times you break through and grow fast. Imagine how your design career and your life can unfold in the next five years. You can look at this from a couple of perspectives.
Here are a few futures to experiment with:
What would your future look like given the current trajectory and if you stayed in the role that you’re currently in over the next few years?
What if you specialized in a specific domain, for example healthcare or e-commerce design, over the next few years? What would your path look like?
Imagine everything you wanted to do in design came true. What would a day in the life look like in your wildest dreams? What would you need to make happen to get there?
In addition to these questions, add your own criteria as well. Map each scenario out over each year. How does your current trajectory look in year one, what happens in year two, and so on?
These thought exercises are useful, and as you’re going through the criteria and thinking about trade-offs, it also helps to do some research to start exploring companies and roles. This will help you understand what’s out there and how these opportunities could translate into your own career vision. Feel free to experiment and try out multiple scenarios to see how they fit and feel.